sole burners

Owner of trendy Toronto candle brand apologizes after customers demand refunds

A Toronto business owner is apologizing to customers for ghosting them after their orders never arrived. 

Camille De Leon, 20, is the owner of Sole Burners, a company that takes silhouettes of classic sneakers and turns them into soy-based scented candles. 

This summer, De Leon says she faced an unforseen circumstance within her family. It took a serious toll on her mental health, causing her to put her business to the side while she was dealing with things. 

Before this happened, De Leon announced a candle drop in June where she would be releasing a new scent called Orange Creamsicle in the shape of the Air Force Jordan 1 sneaker.  

Customers Liam Crossley, Sonia Ho and Debbie Dala all made orders for the drop in June, they paid using e-transfer, each spending between $70 to $250 on the candles. 

Crossley realized after ordering that he was going out of town and reached out to Sole Burners to change the shipping address on his order. 

"I messaged the company over Instagram a few times in the first week that I ordered but never heard back, when I got back from my trip in August, there was still no response," Crossley said. 

He started to get suspicious and decided to comment on a post by Sole Burners on their Instagram page about his missing items. 

From there, he noticed other customers, including Ho and Dala who were commenting about paying for candles in June and never receiving their items. 

"At this point, I'm very frustrated and I'm concerned, I'm not sure if I'm being scammed and I have no idea what's going on," Ho said. 

Both Dala and Ho received an order confirmation but no shipping confirmation or details on an expected delivery date.

"We're furious at this point," said Dala."We're continously following up and it's just been silent on the other end," she added. 

In August, all three customers say their comments were deleted and comments were restricted on every post of the Sole Burners Instagram page. 

"My issue is not so much about the delay, but she did not keep the lines of communication open, so it seemed that she took everybody's money and didn't give the product," said Dala. 

By mid-August, De Leon responded to messages from both Dala and Ho, explaining her circumstances and that refunds will be issued in the next two to three days. 

No refund was issued and so Ho and Dala went through other means to get their money back. 

Dala came to realize she shared a mutual friend with the owner and got her money back through the friend. 

Ho messaged the owner again saying she was going to get the police involved if she didn't get her money back and then got her refund. 

Crossley still hasn't gotten any money back, but he did get an email from Sole Burners this week confirming that a refund is on the way. 

The same night blogTO contacted De Leon for comment on the story, she made a new post on Instagram apologizing to customers for being silent and promising refunds to people who never got their products. 

De Leon says she had already made plans to contact everyone again about their orders, long before blogTO reached out to her.

The 20-year-old, who's also in school, says she started the business as a side-hustle. 

"It's a one-woman-show, it's literally just me in my basement studio working on it myself," she said. 

De Leon says when she had to deal with unexpected events in her family, she didn't have the mental capacity to continue operating the business. 

"It was never my intention to scam anyone...I take full accountability, I could've been more professional and have more communication, but I just had to prioritize my mental health," she said. 

When asked why she was deleting and limiting comments on her company's Instagram, De Leon says they were making her mental health worse and she needed to get off social media to get better. 

Both Dala and Ho agreed they would've been more understanding if De Leon had made a post explaining the reason for the delay in orders. 

As of now, De Leon has begun working to make up for the loss in products, she says every customer will be getting refunded for the candles they never received. 

Lead photo by

Jason Pham

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