We meet candle creator JANE RAMSAY of Jane Eve Candles in her home with a view in Discovery Bay. She chats about what brought her back to Hong Kong and the story behind her candle-making business and workshops in Hong Kong.
Tell us a bit about your background; you had a stint in Hong Kong when you were younger, right?
Yes, I’m originally from Edinburgh in Scotland, but my family moved to HK when I was four. I stayed here until I was 12 before returning to Scotland for school.
What brought you back?
I had such fond memories of growing up in Hong Kong, so when the opportunity came for my husband and me to move back here from London, we took it! I was six months pregnant at the time so I was keen to get here and get settled.
Give us a bit of background to your brand, Jane Eve Candles.
I studied interior design in London and went on to work as a designer for the duration of my time there. I was always specifically interested in styling and accessories for the home, so this is why I came up with candles as my main business focus. I had quite bad nausea throughout my pregnancy, and it was then that my friend who was very knowledgeable in aromatherapy taught me a bit about essential oils and their benefits for nausea, relaxation and stress. I learnt how to combine aromatherapy with candle making and started producing eco-friendly, non-toxic candles in pretty oriental bowls and jars. I think I’ve always had a passion for creating – it was just finding the right product to create and being good enough to build on that.
Our candles are made with organic plant-based soy wax and pure essential oils for the scent. While this creates a more subtle “scent throw” (the term used to describe the strength of fragrance of a candle), we get the benefits of the oils as they enter our bloodstream from inhalation. We have chosen not to use fragrance oil as it is manmade and synthetic and has high levels of toxicity and histamine-inducing properties.
How long have you lived in your home in Discovery Bay, and what attracted you to it?
We moved from Happy Valley to DB almost three years ago. We wanted more space for our son Hamish and our dog (Chloe the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel who we brought over from Scotland). We get much more space for rental here.
Tell us a bit about the location; what’s notable about it, and what’s nearby?
We actually live right in the middle of DB so we are equidistant to the south and north beaches and shops. It’s ideal for us as we also have a great playground right by us. The view from our balcony is stunning and we can see all the way over to Hong Kong Island on a clear day. We can also see the fireworks at Disney, which our son loves!
Do you do much of your work from home or elsewhere?
Jane Eve runs fully from my home studio. I also run candle-making parties in other people’s homes or clubhouses. We run candle-making workshops around Hong Kong where you can learn about essential oils, their benefits and how to blend them to create your own three-wick candle bowl. These can take place at your own venue or home, or you can come to me in my own home. It’s such a fun group activity for friends whether it be a celebration, a group of teenagers spending time together creating their own unique candle or another occasion.
Is there a spot in the home that you enjoy the most?
I love making my candles in my home studio and looking out the window over to HK Island. I feel so lucky to have such beautiful views while working.
What’s your favourite thing about living in this neighbourhood?
Most of my mum-friends live next door or nearby, which I love; it’s just so convenient for our kids – a really nice community.
Tell us about a couple of items of furniture or art in the home that have an interesting background or story behind them.
My favourite piece in our home is this artwork we have hanging by our dining table. It’s a mixed media piece by artist Jane Ward that we bought at the Affordable Art Fair in London. Ward appropriates the building blocks of landscape; suburban housing tracts, shimmering glass towers and industry-choked hinterland – then inverts, misaligns and ruptures, re-employing familiar form in other places and other times.
What’s something you like to do in Hong Kong when you’re not working?
We love to visit new places around HK with our son, especially trams – kids love any form of transport!
We love Indian food – CHAAT and New Punjab Club are favourites. Zagin Soba in Happy Valley is another firm fave when we fancy some ramen. And Roganic by Simon Rogan and the restaurant’s chef’s kitchen Aulis are such a fantastic experience, too – I highly recommend them for a special occasion.
I shop mainly online but I tend to make sure I shop from sustainably conscious brands. There are some hidden gems at PMQ and along Hollywood Road too.
For hair and makeup, I go to Joanna Worthington. My hair stylist is Koren Thomas. And for fashion I like She Creates Stories (shecreatesstories.com).
Take a look at Jane Eve Candles and find out more about candle-making workshops in Hong Kong at janeeveinteriors.com.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2023 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.