When the idea for gnômadic was being formed, the central goal was always to build human connections — within our coliving community and beyond. So it may sound a little cliché, but we really do think of our Residents as an extension of our family; and we sure are proud when we see our own follow their passion. We love all our Residents equally (no favourites!) but today, we wanted to share Donna’s story.
An energetic and magnetic personality, Donna joined gnômadic in June 2020, right in the middle of Singapore’s Circuit Breaker. You could say it was love at first sight — she immediately decided to move in after a video viewing of one of our Sanctuaries. As Donna would put it, she felt an “instant connection” when she moved into ‘Earth’, a property that complements its nature-filled surroundings, a stone’s throw away from the Botanic Gardens. Interestingly, she had been living by herself in an apartment in Orchard for almost a year before moving in with us but it somehow “never felt like home.” Although shifting homes during the lockdown was not the easiest, with some help from team gnômadic, Donna found her new safe haven.
Now properly settled into her space, Donna has nothing but positive things to say about her experience so far. She has met lots of wonderful people and highly recommends living in a coliving space, especially if you’re moving into a new country or city – she feels it takes away so much of the stress of moving and is a great way to meet new people. Donna really resonated with the idea that “gnômadic was not just another sharing house but a community of like-minded people sharing resources in a collaborative way.” She chose gnômadic because she felt we shared similar values and “it wasn’t just a house but a home.”
Chasing New Perspectives
While 2020 was a testing year for everyone, Donna felt the effects in particular as she works in travel retail. But never one to give up easily, she turned lemons into lemonade and pursued her passion for candlemaking. She’s now a Purchasing Manager at a global travel retailer by day and proprietor of ‘Mindfully Yours’ – a brand of natural and eco-conscious candles by night.
On juggling between her passion for making candles and her day job, Donna says she’s extremely grateful to have a job during these challenging times. For her, the process of candlemaking is one that is slow, intentional, and therapeutic — allowing her to decompress while hand-pouring candles on the weekend, although she does make the odd one on a weeknight too, if orders are rife!
Why candles? “I believe that the right candle can be used to enhance any ambience, and lead to a soothing and relaxing time,” she tells us. “I attended an essential oil blending and candle making workshop and was intrigued by the process. From there, I was inspired to create a brand and product that could reflect my values, particularly when it came to transparency.” With mindfulness and intention as the starting point, Mindfully Yours was born.
Let’s get Mindful — and Sustainable!
As Donna tells us, candlemaking is “part art and part science.” There are so many factors that can change the result of candles so testing is a critical part of the process. She spent (and continues to spend) lots of time experimenting between fragrances, wicks, wax or jars — to ensure that the final product was something she’d be proud of.
What made the entire process feel even more like it was meant to be, was finding a very talented designer who was able to bring her philosophy and ideas for Mindfully Yours to life through thoughtful branding and identity. “Looking back, I can’t put a finger on the exact moment I decided to launch Mindfully Yours but the entire branding process came together very quickly once I found the right name,” she mused. “Making candles can be meditative. I find that because I’m so focussed on what I’m doing and creating that I feel truly present and mindful, which is what inspired the name.”
Mindfully Yours candles are created using the highest quality and best performing materials from the US as well as Donna’s home country, Australia. They’re made from a natural blend of coconut and soy wax which results in cleaner and longer burning candles. A believer in full transparency, Donna only works with suppliers that share the same values as her when it comes to sustainability and ethical sourcing, giving her and in turn, her customers, peace of mind.
The vessels used for Mindfully Yours candles are easily upcycled — so customers are encouraged to think creatively when repurposing these gorgeous jars. Donna also offers a candle refill option to replace it with a fragrance of your choice! The candles also feature FSC-certified wooden wicks that create a pleasant crackling sound when lit, reminiscent of a cosy fireplace. And of course, the fragrances. Donna narrowed down four of her favourites for the core collection — lavender & rosemary; lime, basil &mandarin; camellia & lotus and cassis & fig. All fragrances are phthalate free to make sure the candles burn clean and aren’t toxic.
We asked Donna for a few tips to make the most of our candles and she told us that regularly trimming the wick and burning the candles for 2-3 hours at a time can help prolong the life of a candle. The wooden wicks also make it easier to trim — simply use a tissue or break the brunt parts of the wick off using your fingers.
Can’t wait to get your hands on a Mindfully Yours candle? Some extra special news this Valentine’s Day as they have collaborated with The Botanist Soap to launch beautiful gift sets. Candle making workshops may also be on the horizon, so watch this space.
Beyond February, Donna has left things flexible. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to roll with the punches. If Mindfully Yours was a product of creativity flexibility, we can’t wait to see what’s next!
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Jonathan recently sat down with Chew Wui Lynn from CNA938 to discuss the business of coliving and potential areas of growth for the industry. Coliving for families, anyone? Click the link to hear the full interview.
Our Founder, Jonathan Schiff had the opportunity to interview with Natasha Shamash from Rebel and Soul. The digital socially distanced 5&5 series 2 discusses unforgettable memories. Watch the full interview as Jonathan shares some memorable advice he was given, a message he gives to his 20-year-old self and a memory he is looking forward to creating. Click the link to hear the full interview.
Hope you managed to tune in and catch our live chat with @moneyfm893. Our Founder, Jonathan Schiff was invited on ‘Prime Time’ with Howie Lim, to share his views about the rising trend of renting coliving spaces in Singapore. Click the link to hear the full interview.