Strike a match. Light the candle. Breathe in. There’s nothing more relaxing than lighting a scented candle after a stressful day. And in the worlds of our resident self-care doc, “Self-care is healthcare”.
The Doctor Chandler is a scented candle business nestled in Metro Manila, Philippines, founded by Dr. Meryl, a real-life doctor turned entrepreneur. We sat down with this resourceful mental health advocate to discover the story behind why she started her business after struggling with self-care as a full-time doctor, and how she turned her passion into a beloved brand, The Doctor Chandler.
The beginning of The Doctor Chandler
After suddenly having a lot of free time during the pandemic—time she'd never had before—Dr. Meryl made a conscious decision to revisit her hobbies. Some of these hobbies included painting and playing piano, but one of the hobbies that served as the tipping point to the founding of The Doctor Chandler was collecting candles from local candle makers.
She claims to have collected over 300 candles from other brands, and her own unique love for crafting eventually led her to purchase her first melt-and-pour candle-making kit. According to Dr. Meryl herself, it was love at first craft.
And while indulging in this pandemic-born hobby, Meryl soon discovered that creating candles was both an art and a science—and as a doctor, knowing this made her fall in love with the craft more than before.
“It was therapeutic for me—the making part, the thinking of the labels, the names of the candles…”
Meryl decided to marry her medical know-how with her newfound love for candle-making. With the goal of launching her first candle collection, she buried her nose in research to come out with a creative concept, ultimately landing on hormone-inspired scents aptly called Serotonin, Dopamine, and Melatonin.
To come out with each scent, Meryl did her due diligence to see which scents boosted each of these hormones, and used her candle-making skills to precisely combine different notes together to make something truly magical.
The collection was a hit among the Filipino candle community. Motivated to keep going, Meryl would eventually launch more candle collections inspired by her knowledge in the medical field.
One fun one revolves around the gastronomic experience. Ever heard of a word salad? In medical terms, it’s called schizophasia, and it's when you confuse a mixture of random words and phrases, hence the “salad.” The packaging, almost good enough to eat, was inspired by a pack of vitamins, and the Word Salad candle literally had scents you'd find in your favorite leafy dish, like lemon, tomatoes, and lettuce. (Are you getting hungry yet?)
Business and medicine: how Dr. Meryl juggles her two careers
“Being a doctor and a business owner-chandler, both require time, dedication, and passion”.
Becoming a doctor is no easy feat. Meryl emphasizes the hardships of medical school—zero marks, failing classes, pressure everywhere—and in this experience, she developed a mentality of perseverance. In her words, “failure is just success in progress."
In fact, you can clearly see this mentality reflect in Meryl the business owner. She doesn't get discouraged when she doesn’t hit her sales targets; her mindset around a poor sales month is simply believing that her potential customers just haven't heard of The Doctor Chandler yet.
She explains, “As far as products that I didn’t get to sell, I just think to myself that I will sell them next time. There are still people out there that would want to buy my products. So once you set your mind into something, I say go for it."
How Cococart helped The Doctor Chandler manage orders
Before The Doctor Chandler, Meryl had another small business selling hand-painted pots. For this business, order management was quite manual: writing down clients' names in a log book for each order. Eventually, she found this process to be tedious in the long run.
So when she saw Cococart from other businesses in the Philippines, it was a no-brainer to sign up because of how streamlined it could make her order management process. Meryl found that using Cococart made it much easier for her customers to navigate her shop, while making it easier for her to track orders. Where in a log book, she had to flip and skim through the pages and pages to find a customer, with Cococart, she only needed to do one simple search on her admin dashboard.
“Cococart made my life easier in tracking orders and inventory”
Meryl also gushes about Cococart’s invoicing feature. With her old system for taking orders, she manually had to tally up orders and hand customers their invoices—and had to wait even longer to get payment because of the extra back-and-forth.
With Cococart, her customers are able to see their order total and make payment right away. Plus, their invoices are sent straight to their email! (Paper, who?)
Rx: 500mg of self-care, #1 candle a day
While Meryl was still a full-time doctor, she admitted she couldn’t practice self-care.
“Even when showering for one duty, when eating food during your break, time is so limited, and it feels like you’re being rushed," Meryl tells us of her life as a full-time medical practitioner.
However, things have gotten much better since she's decided to keep doing what she does now—managing a business and moonlighting as a GP (General Practitioner). Meryl happily shares that since adopting this lifestyle, she's had more time to practice self-care.
By her definition, self-care is something that can make you feel happy inside and out.
Some of her favorite ways for practicing self-care, she shares, is going out for a massage; one of her favorites. She also likes to go to nail salons and treat herself to her favorite Japanese food.
Meryl also finds the process of creating her candles at The Doctor Chandler as a kind of self-care, hence her shop’s motto: self-care is healthcare.
Creating candles is relaxing for her, she and hopes her customers will find relaxation in lighting their The Doctor Chandler candles.
Meryl sees her candles as a way of some sort of prescription for self-care. “Everything in the candle is well thought out, so when they receive the package, I want it as if they’re opening a medication. Although they aren't sick, lighting this candle will make them happy and healthy."
Shop The Doctor Chandler.
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