Friends and architects, Armaghan Zahid and Abeeha Bashir only wanted to heal from the post-lockdown blues, and find a way to memorialize their lost loved ones in a way that captured the warmth of love, and the light of loving they had brought.
“We wanted to connect more with our loved ones and the ones who have left us too soon,” says Zahid. “It started off small, as a gifting idea.”
“The six scents that we have introduced reference the nostalgia, childhood memories and family love that we hold so dear,” he says. “We wanted to make something that would capture the essence of living in a Pakistani home, so whether you live near or far, you can carry a little piece of home with you.”
If you scroll through the Friss Co. Instagram page, you will find memories, references, and processes scattered across the grid. Here you will find the story of how one grandmother grasped the other in her arms as they fled India during partition; scroll up and you will read about how the stories a father told his children have been expressed as scent.
Zahid elaborates on the design too. The candles, among other motifs and forms, feature floral elements, and often, cacti.
“Both of us connect to the design of the cactus garden as we have grown up seeing them. I remember my nani’s and dadi’s gardens well, and how the sight of cacti greeted us whenever we entered them.”
It is fascinating to see the construction of these candles, as architects are known for being meticulous about form and design.
Each candle, whether boasting a garden, a single flower, a bust or even an abstract moon, is sharply-defined. The fragrances of the candles are also described in very specific, but personal ways. Androon Shehar references the Spice Bazaar and Shahi Hammam, Nani Ka Bagh recalls a rose and jasmine garden, framed by cacti.
“We would love to be the company which talks about and evokes and inspires nostalgia,” Zahid says, “at the moment we stock at Bloomingdale in Lahore as well as Khaadi, but in the next year we aim to launch worldwide on Etsy or Amazon. We wants these fragrances to reach those who are far from home and need them most.”
Of course, expansion plans aren’t always the easiest to carry out. At this time, when the rupee has hit and only slightly returned from a shocking devaluation against foreign currency, inflation is at an all-time high. As the Friss Co. team explains, one of the challenges they face is investing in quality raw materials so they don’t have to compromise on the quality of the final product. This inevitably will lead to raised prices of the candles, which could ultimately affect sales.
“A two-person operation can be tough to run,” Zahid says. “You are the sales person, the customer support team, the photographer, content writer, designer; and you have to do all of this while taking care of shipping and packaging too.”
Then of course, there is always plagiarism, with someone ripping off the unique elements of a product but producing it more cheaply, and tipping the scale in their favor for a while.
“To keep it budget-friendly, while maintaining quality is what we want,” Zahid tells Instep. “In the last few years the candle industry has really grown in Pakistan. While we hope to make our candles more accessible to everyone, we also would enjoy seeing every brand bring something new to the table in terms of design, signature scents and eco-friendly materials.
“Candles add that necessary touch of coziness to decor,” Zahid says, “to see more of that is always welcome.”