Name: Beck Scougall
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in
Cambodia: I’m Australian and moved to Siem Reap in 2009 after falling in love during a visit the previous year. I felt a connection and warmth straight away . The kindness, resilience and beautiful smiles of the Cambodian people touched my soul, its a special place. It’s a vibe you have to experience. It’s hard to put it into words.
Tell us about your favourite place in Siem Reap: I love walking around the grounds of Wat Svay Romeat, it is so peaceful and never busy with tourists.
When did you launch Saarti: I started making my own botanical candles and beauty products in 2011 when I was assigned the beautiful task of opening and creating the Sojourn Boutique Hotel spa. The owners and I wanted to use pure, chemical free and locally inspired products and there was nothing available at the quality we needed so I started making my own. Soon friends started asking for candles and Saarti grew organically from there. We opened our flagship Kandal Village store in 2015 and the rest is history.
Where does the name Saarti come from: Saart is the Khmer word for “beautiful” and Aarti is a stunning Hindu ritual of fire. My first Aarti on the Ganges in India was quite a transformational and spiritual experience that has stayed with me all these years. The ritual of lighting a candle has always been special to me so I wanted to incorporate all these aspects into our name so ‘Saarti” was created.
Out of all your products, which one is your favourite and why: Oh this is a hard question!! I wear our Menaka perfume every single day and its my signature scent but I would have to say the product I love the most product would be our Ceramic Candles. They are so lovingly handcrafted and a beautiful piece of art, I just adore them.
What’s the plan for the next year for Saarti: The plan is to move into the online world. There are so many limitations to operating an online business in Cambodia but we are slowly working it out. We have been using our down time productively and have created an entire new range of scents. We are very excited to share them with everyone.
Name one thing you cannot find in Cambodia and that you miss: Cambodia is an incredibly easy place to live and I can find most things I need to get by. As soon as I saw Vegemite on the supermarket shelves I knew I’d be ok here. The one thing I can’t find is underwear that fits so I make sure to stock up whenever I can.
If you could have any product from the SATU collection (other than
your own), what would it be: I’d love a pair of KOW espadrilles. They are our staff shoes because they are so comfortable and stylish.
What was the last gift you gave someone: A Green Tea Ceramic candle. I give away A LOT of candles, my friends must be sick of them by now.
After answering these questions, you walk outside and find $1,000 on your doorstep. What would you spend it on: I’d donate half to my 2 favourite Cambodian organisations, This Life Cambodia and M’lop Tapang doing incredible work supporting vulnerable communities. The rest I’d spend on the Cambodian Oud oil I’ve been eyeing off for my new perfume. Its more expensive than gold!!
The saarti journey started in 2012 when founder, Beck Scougall, made her first candle creation in Siem Reap, Cambodia. A passionate advocate of fair trade and conscious consumerism Beck wanted to create an eco-lifestyle brand using natural and ethical products. Simply translated saarti means beautiful ceremony of light. 'Sa art' is the Cambodian word for beautiful and Aarti is the name of the spectacular Hindu ceremony involving candles and incense. The saarti collection now includes the signature range of hand poured blessing bowl candles, body, skin & hair care products as well 100% natural pure essentials oils. Saarti is committed to using the finest natural ingredients, ethically sourced from Cambodia and the surrounding region and empowering local communities through employment.
Shop the Saarti Collection here.