We had the good fortune of connecting with Jana Sarmiento and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jana, every day, we care about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
My personal advocacy started all of this. Kandilâ is a Filipina-American owned business that creates organic soy candles and wax melts. What started as a life-skill class activity has become a passion while maintaining the advocacy of supporting people with disabilities. Ultimately, our goal is to grow our business so that it will create job opportunities for people with disabilities. And equally important is promoting my cultural roots and heritage as a Filipina immigrant in this country.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
It all started in Sunnyvale, California, where I worked as a special education teacher for young adults with disabilities. With hopes of equipping them with essential life skills to increase their chances of being gainfully employed, I started a student-led business called Creative Hands, where we developed life skills through a variety of classroom activities one of which is candle-making. In 2019, our family relocated to San Diego following my husband’s military career at which point I rejoined the academia and did a brief stint as a special education teacher while making an effort to rebuild Creative Hands. Finally, after 13 fruitful years of teaching, I saw an opportunity for pursuing a career where I will be able to incorporate my personal advocacy and my love for candle-making- and the rest, as they say, is history.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I have been living in San Diego for a few years and Gaslamp Quarter is a must see! But as an ode to my Filipino heritage, I encourage you to visit the Philippines! You can go island hopping in El Nido or Coron, Palawan, eat at “dampa” (seafood restaurants that offer live seafood cooking) in Boracay, enjoy the breathtaking view of Taal Volcano in Batangas, and so much more! Visit the country’s official tourism site for more information!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
God, family, and a good amount of my business themes, ideas and marketing techniques are candidly shared by my sister.
Candle photos by Emil Siapno