Women are known for their appreciation of beauty, and beautiful things. A well crafted pair of shoes, a bouquet of flowers with a handwritten note, French cookbooks that may never be read cover-to-cover, but are appreciated for what they bring to a home. Candles have a beauty of their own. They have the power to fill an empty room with atmosphere, warmth, and set a mood for any occasion. But why does a candle make a moment all the more memorable? I had the pleasure of talking with Jo Hendy, the beauty, brains, heart and soul of Jaabay.
The story begins with a name, Jaabay, and her children, Bailey and Jaali. “I created it to be closer to them, they, in name and spirit, go everywhere my candles go”
QG: Can you tell us when and why you started Jaabay, and what was involved in your creative process of developing the brand and candles?
JH: Hi Guys firstly a big Thank you for having me and my story join you!
I love candles and anything that makes a room, a place, a home, a shop feel and smell gorgeous. It’s that little piece of luxury that we can all indulge in and afford.
It probably all started for me back in the early 90s when I sold high end Fragrances in Myer at Pacific Fair. I really love that something like the scent of someone or something can create a memory that will last over time. I know for me, when I smell my mothers fragrance that she loves, it instantly takes me back home and has me feel all warm and cozy.
In 2012 I was getting a little bored with my management role as I had been doing it for over 15 years and I felt like I was needing to find something that was more fulfilling for me, also, really, in my heart of hearts I wanted to be there for my children whilst they were growing up!
This feeling lead me to scented candles and over the years I had spent hundreds buying them, my husband had said to me one day, “Why don’t you try making them?” So with that in mind, I decided that I would buy a candle starter kit and try it myself…the seed had been planted, they were a huge hit with not only me but also anyone that came to visit. Every time someone walked into my home they would say “What is that smell? It smells delicious… Where can I get it!!
After working in management for over 20 years I trusted that the universe had delivered to me exactly what I had asked for.
I started research solely on what felt right to me regarding product ingredients and a few trial and errors. After a few trials, everything fell into place and I had created a gorgeous candle, 100% Soy, with absolutely no additives. I haven’t changed anything from when I first started 2 years ago.
I have had many people tell me what I should and shouldn’t do from a business point of view which I am always grateful for, but I have decided to walk a different path and trust that what I need will come at the exact time it is needed, and till this day, everything has worked divinely for me.
I am extremely grateful for what has been delivered and can’t wait to see what is around the next exciting corner.
Now I have around 10 wholesale outlets and the rest I still do from home, which to be honest, is my favourite part. The connections you make and conversation that I have is the best part of my candle business.
I suppose the creative process in my business is the easy part because when you find the one thing that you truly love to do the creativity happens so naturally, it just flows from you. The colors, scents, and jars are all just very simple which is very much who I am. I have trusted that what I put in, is integrity, lots of love, and passion and that the customer will feel that when they burn my candles and want more of it. That brings me to the other ingredient, the love of my children and family.
My branding was super easy, it stems from my two treasures, Bailey my 16 year old, and Jaali my 11 year old. You see, it is their names put together…JAABAY ! I love it and as I created it to be closer to them, they, in name and spirit, go everywhere my candles go.
QG: You are clearly passionate about the memories and joy candles and unique aromas bring, have you always had a love of fragrances?
JH: I have always loved the beautiful things in life.. Flowers….perfume…food…..cooking, anything that makes you feel good, feel confident and most of all empowered. Fragrance can do all of this and much more. My husband still to this day remembers the fragrance I wore when we first met 18 years ago! That’s a powerful thing. It can take him back to that night; I think that’s a beautiful sentiment. If I ever want to get his attention, I only have to pop that fragrance on and watch his eyes light up, haha!
QG: I saw that you are offering personalised scents for weddings and other special events – this is such a beautiful idea, how did you come up with this?
JH: Whether it’s a wedding or any other special occasion we want to remember it and I know personally that our senses, especially our sense of smell is very powerful, more powerful than looking at a photograph. We can be instantly taken back to a day in our past, just by smelling a similar scent, that’s how strong and quick it is. It also happens with a song, our senses think that we are back in that moment.. It is a wonderful way of anchoring good memories and vibrations into your life.
QG: Do you have future plans for Jaabay, I saw that you also had a range of diffusers, should we expect to see more from the Jaabay brand?
Everything for me is around divine timing, I never had a vision to have a huge money making business, it was more about me enjoying what I do, creating something beautiful and honest for people to enjoy. I love seeing the smile on someone’s face when they tell me about how much they love my candles and the way it makes them feel. I have had some really beautiful stories about my candles helping people with insomnia, sleep better. A lovely lady’s husband was going through cancer and lost his sense of smell but for some delightful reason could smell my candles when she burnt them, he loved them and kept asking for her to burn them. That made me cry and reminded me of the magic of life. They are the stories I love to hear. When something as simple as a candle and a pure intention can have an impact on someone’s life.
QG: Your studio – your kitchen – it’s said that the kitchen is the heart of the home, yours must get a lot of family time, how do you juggle Jaabay and being mum?
JH: Yes I agree. Its definitely the heart of the home. I suppose that’s why I chose my kitchen to make my candles. Whenever I have visitors or my children around whilst I’m making them I get them to help. It’s beautiful, they get heaps out of it and they also get to take it with them. My Mum and Dad come up once a year from down south and my Dad can’t wait to get in and help me, it gives him a sense of purpose too. I think when it’s something that is made with your own hands it just makes it that more special and sacred. You have a feeling of fulfillment, that’s the difference from doing something that you love, and something that you just have to do.
I get to spend more time now with my children than I ever did, when I first started out with Jaabay we all participated in selling them at the markets. My son Bailey had an amazing impact on our stand, I had ladies coming back each weekend asking for Bailey, he knew everything about my candles, he had been listening to me through our days making them and was relaying this info onto the customers, they loved it and felt included in the process, he sold more candles than anyone and I learnt so much from my beautiful boy in those special moments. Once again when you find your flow everyone close to you will support you unconditionally and want to be part of everything you do. I think life is all about love and finding all of the incredible ways it can shine through. A candle is like that, it burns the flame of hope and light, of all things meaningful, if it smells divine as well, then that is the icing on the cake.
Lots of love,
More about Jaabay Candles