THE NATIONAL (FUTURE GREEN EVENT)

Bhawna Sehra, a former hotel professional, turned to candle-making after leaving work to be a full-time mum.

She is one of many local entrepreneurs catering for a growing demand in sustainable, eco-friendly goods.

Mrs Sehra, 37, uses wax obtained from sustainably sourced palm oil for her chemical-free candles.

“I just wanted to start something on my own and do something I really, really liked,” she said.

The decision to launch her own company, Palm Lights, was made in April and Mrs Sehra is applying for a licence to make her candles in Ras Al Khaimah, where she lives.

“One of my main markets will be to go to spas and hotels that are already interested in green products, but I have to have a formal company established for that,” she said.

Until then, Mrs Sehra will continue to spread her name through events such as Future Green 2013, taking place at Dubai Marina Mall this week.

Her candles will be among the green products and services available at the exhibition on Thursday and Friday.

“The very fact something like this is organised here creates awareness of what other options exist for people in the UAE,” Mrs Sehra said.

“If you think about it in a certain way, I am just a housewife making candles and trying to sell them to the public. Who will buy them unless I have the right exposure?

“This event really gives a platform for small businesses.”

Mrs Sehra said candles made of palm wax and essential oils were a healthier alternative to paraffin candles that released chemicals such as toluene and benzene.

Another entrepreneur looking forward to Thursday is Ayesha Naja, who wants to popularise sustainable garments through her company, Future Fashion.

A former interior designer, Mrs Naja has a master’s degree in corporate social responsibility.

She will display her abayas and scarves made from a fabric that uses bamboo.

Her participation at Future Green comes several months ahead of the launch of her line of abayas in December.

Mrs Naja is also planning to use other sustainable fabrics such as silk that is made without killing the silkworms, and material from wood-pulp cellulose.

Her aim is to educate people about the environmental impacts of fashion.

“Most of those clothes end up in landfill and they are made out of polyester. They are not biodegradable,” Mrs Naja said.

“You can look posh and luxurious while also doing something good for the environment.”

Author: vtodorova@thenational.ae