Life is never the smoothest road–just when you think you’ve overcome a speed bump, another one hits you right in the face. It’s easy to dwell on the difficulties we face every day; work, family, and even personal troubles. But that’s the thing, you find the strength to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and make the best out of your situation. And that’s what Alethea Tang, founder of BURN BABY BURN, did.
This International Women’s Day, we are privileged to share the story of BURN BABY BURN and celebrate its founder, Alethea, who found the strength to #breakthebias by stepping out of an abusive relationship and becoming a #girlboss.
Q: Why the name ‘Burn Baby Burn’?
A: I walked into my first meeting with Yolanda, our creative genius, without a name or artistic direction but a vision of creating a brand that would give me refuge amidst the chaos.
After going through a list of names with me, I recall my father commenting on how tacky BURN BABY BURN was. Fast forward to the present day, upon scanning through my crumpled-up sheet of paper, BURN BABY BURN had caught her attention. She said it would work, and for a moment, my heart swelled.
At my darkest hour, someone believed in me. And for the next five months leading up till today, Yolanda held my hand and walked through to the end of the tunnel with me, where I found light.
You could interpret BURN BABY BURN in multiple ways. For me, however, there was more depth to it than its attention-grabbing nature. I interpret our name as needing to boss up amidst adversity and stare straight into the fire, challenging it to BURN BABY BURN.
Q: Let’s talk about starting a business on candles? Do they represent something to you?
A: We have chosen candles as a medium to get our message across. The medium (wax) is interesting given its nature, much like us humans. The initial impression you might get is that it is stubborn and fixed in its ways. Time and heat are required for the solid wax to melt and turn from opaque to translucent.
Similarly, patience and warmth are necessary to understand and peel off another’s façade and get to their core. A different purpose drives every one of us, and it is with that safe space and willingness to be vulnerable that we can bridge gaps and make genuine connections on a deeper level.
Q: What inspired you to do bell jars for the candles? How do they work?
A: At BURN BABY BURN, we have curated our messages to convey the subconscious words you might need to hear for yourself or want to articulate.
We have also designed every facet of our candle to tell its own story:
The vessel of wax holds the weight of the world that we carry from day to day.
The dome is a metaphor for the figurative wall we sometimes put up to distance ourselves from others.
We believe that every one of us carries a bell jar within our heads. Your bell jar might look different from mine, but the matter of fact is that we are all fighting our own battles. Being trapped inside an airless jar that distorts our perspective of the outside can be stifling.
In building a community of celebration and acceptance with a touch of humour and impertinence, we hope that we together can find the strength in numbers and, through that, find the strength within ourselves to lift our bell jars and BURN BABY BURN.
Q: What message would you like to convey to people/women through Burn Baby Burn?
A: You may have already gathered that we are self-acclaimed hotties, and you are only half right. While we at BURN BABY BURN do burn Hotter Than Your Last Flame, we have created this stage for you to shine on.
No matter your predicament, come and dance with us in our values of compassion, community, and acceptance. Out with the bad, in with the good. Let’s embark on the journey to becoming:
Better Than Our Past Selves,
Kinder Than Our Quandary,
Hotter Than Our Last Flames.
Q: What would you like to tell other women in a similar situation you were in?
A: Your life purpose is not supposed to be as SMALL and SILENT and ACCOMMODATING and CONVENIENT as possible.
Alethea found strength when someone believed in her, in her darkest times. She fought her way through and found the light at the end of the tunnel. Then marked a new beginning for Alethea and today, she is proud of the person she has become.
Q: What are your aspirations, best practices, and whom do you look up to?
A: My aspiration is to live a life as truthfully honest to myself as possible at any current moment. Be it in my career or my personal life, I am no longer willing to be as SMALL and SILENT, and CONVENIENT as possible.
The best advice I can give on practices/ work ethic is to be so passionate about the task at hand and work without asking for compensation at the start. This is how you make yourself an invaluable & indispensable member of the team/start-up/ corporation. And this is how you get others to recognise your worth/ value. Monetary compensations will come after, don’t worry.
I don’t look up to anyone. I realised that along the way, I was not able to pursue whatever I wanted to do because I did not trust myself enough that I could do it. I’m slowly starting to tap into my intuition, and know that I have my own back even if the world turns against me.
We are IRYNE and we celebrate and support fellow women survivors and entrepreneurs like Alethea.
BURN BABY BURN will be available on IRYNE end of March and in the meantime, you can head over to their website and Instagram for more information.