S'pore pastry chef, 28, leads double life, makes cakes by day & cake-looking candles by night

Guess you could say her cakes are lit.

Lee Wei Lin | Celeste Ng | July 10, 2024, 01:21 PM



It was at 21 when Angie, now 28, realised a career in the sciences wasn’t for her.

Thus began her culinary pursuits.

Safe to say, she hasn’t looked back since.

Seven years later, she took the leap of faith and launched her candle business, which she's endearingly named Buibui (meaning "chubby" in Hokkien) Candles.

@mothership.nova we would lose the riyal or fakey game v quick with these candles #tiktoksg #singapore #candles #pastry #pastrychef #foodfestontiktok #whattoplay #candlemaking #candletok ♬ BIRDS OF A FEATHER - Billie Eilish

We were curious: a full-time job is tiring enough, so how does she manage her side hustle on top of that?

From pastries to realistic confections

Angie told Mothership that Buibui Candles' launch has been in the pipeline for almost two years.

Currently a research and development (R&D) chef at a "large bubble tea chain" in Singapore, the 28-year-old's passion for the craft of candle-making was sparked by her desire to create something longer lasting than food.

As this was an art Angie had to pick up from scratch, she recalled having to go through much trial and error before she finally succumbed and decided to take a class.

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A post shared by BuiBui Candles (@buibuicandles)

The two trades may seem vastly different, but to Angie, she did take away some traits from her years as a pastry chef, that she felt helped her in managing Buibui Candles.

"As a pastry chef, you need to be patient," she remarked, adding that most of her candles take at least a day to be made, while larger products can take up to a week. "Everything is a waiting game."

"I'm still making pastries"

To Angie, her nighttime endeavour is merely a spin on her day job.

"I'm still making pastries," she smiled. "It's just [in] different mediums. One's edible, one's inedible."

Photo by Fasiha Nazren.

Her passion for the craft was apparent, so when we asked how she found the process of crafting candles, her answer didn't take us by surprise.

She gushed:

"It's very therapeutic. I'm always in my zone.

My partner always complain[s] about me being in my zone all the time and ignoring him after work - I [work] full-time, [so my "candle time" is after six]. I always spend most of my time [at home] making candles, even Saturdays [and] Sundays, [to] try to fulfil the orders.

But [I don't mind it], it's very therapeutic [and] satisfying."

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A post shared by BuiBui Candles (@buibuicandles)

As many similarities as Angie can draw between both jobs, though, she also acknowledges the differences between the two.

"In F&B, you're always behind the scenes," she explained, "but because of this business, I [get] to handle a lot of customers. I [have] to talk to a lot of people. I think that's [my] biggest takeaway, for now. It's [about] service, you know?"

Nevertheless, the entrepreneur derives the same degree of fulfilment from both trades.

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A post shared by BuiBui Candles (@buibuicandles)

Plans for the future

For now, Angie only hopes to have her own studio to work from — she currently makes all her candles at home — explaining that her parents might mind the mess and smell her craft inevitably creates.

"Just a small space for myself and my candles [would suffice]," she told us, though admitting that it might turn out to be a double-edged sword: she would probably end up spending more time in the studio than at home.

At present, she wishes to continue juggling her two pursuits, though she acknowledged that she'll have to decide on one eventually - after all, this "double life" is bound to take a toll on her at some point.

When we asked her which she's more inclined towards, Angie laughed, "It's like choosing between Dad and Mum."

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Top photos by Fasiha Nazren