Take 5 Magazine


A candle saved my marriage - and it could save yours, too

Shakira Hanson, 30, Gold Coast.

The candle lightly flickered on the coffee table as I leant forward to pick up the tv remote. "Ready?" I said turning to my partner Rick. "Yep", he replied. It was our nightly ritual after coming home from our busy jobs to light a few candles and get settled on the couch to watch TV together.

After our show ended, I blew out the candles and turned the lights back on. "Look at the mess they've made on the walls," I sighed. We lived in a rental and cheap the cheap paraffin candles had left dirty sooty marks everywhere. The next morning, I went to throw the empty candle jars away. "It's such a waste," I said to Rick. "I wish you could buy refillable candles." "Maybe you can make your own," Rick suggested. It was a good idea.

I worked in payroll for a recruitment firm but that night, after work, I sat at my desk and googled candle making. Inspired, I ordered a kit online and watched YouTube videos. Experimenting with different ingredients, I learnt there was a real science to it all. With the wrong size wick, a candle could blow up! I learnt about using natural soy and how to make refillable candles.

Later that year, in October 2018, Rick 40, and I eloped to Mexico and got married. When we got back, Rick a boilermaker, tinkered away at a boat we bought, and I tinkered away at my candles. At first, it was a hobby, but over time, I created a product I was proud of so I decided to start selling Hanson Candles online.

I also created a massage candle out of shea and coco butters, sweet almond oil, vitamin e and soy wax.

The idea was, you burn the candle for up to 20 minutes, which releases a warm oil, then pour the liquid onto skin to use for a sensual massage. Rick and I even patented and manufactured a product called TruWiks, that helps to keep the wick in pace as you pour your candle wax into the jar.

The business was ticking away on the side, but when I was eight weeks' pregnant I was made redundant. "What am I going to do?" I said to Rick. "Focus on the candles," he said.

I loved being pregnant. When our little girl Raya was born though, something happened. Because of breastfeeding, my body didn't feel like my own anymore. I battled sleepless nights, hormones and a new identity. I soon realised that I was struggling with postpartum anxiety and depression, too. I'd always loved my body but for the first time in my life I looked in the mirror and didn't like what I saw.

I didn't even want to be seen naked in front of my husband anymore. "It's like someone else is living inside my body" I explained to Rick. "Baby, give yourself some time," he replied. "You've just had a baby. And you're still beautiful." But I didn't feel it.

I became snappy and jealous. If Rick met up with a friend for a drink after work, I'd pick and argument with him as soon as he got home. It was so unlike me and I hated it. Meanwhile, our sex life dwindled to nothing.

The longer we went without having physical intimacy, the more self-conscious that I became. When Raya was 6 months old, Rick came home from work one day. "Why don't I give you a massage with one of your massage candles?" he offered. I could see that he was trying to make an effort, so I agreed.

After putting Raya to bed, we sat on the sofa and lit the candle. Once there was enough buttery wax to use, Rick blew out the flame, then he poured the warm liquid into his hands. As Rick's fingers worked into the muscles around my neck and shoulders I felt my tension disappear. "That was amazing," I said afterwards.

It felt good to spend some quality time together, being touched by Rick without it leading to anything further. A few weeks later, Rick asked if I would massage him, so I did. Then, a couple of days later, we gave each other a massage and it led to sex. Afterwards, we sat up and talked. "I feel as though I've been losing my mind," I admitted. "I haven't wanted to have sex at all." "I haven't wanted to have sex either," Rick said. "I'm doing 10-hour shifts and driving two and a half hours to Brisbane every day. I'm a new parent, too". It was a revelation to me. I'd been so wound up in my own head, it hadn't occurred to me that Rick was struggling, too.

After that, we started using the massage candles every couple of weeks, having sex and chatting afterwards.

That candle saved me from from myself. It stopped me having negative thoughts and helped me focus on how good it felt to be touched and the closeness between us. Every couple needs this in their lives, I thought. So I started to market them through my social media channels ad told people about our personal journey.

The Hanson Candle Co. Massage Candle is now our biggest seller and has won numerous awards. It went from making $500 a month to $7000 a month! Raya has just turned two. I'm back to my pre-baby body and the happiest I've ever been. I'd love to create a relationship hub for couples to access support and find their spark again. I hope that my candles will save other marriages, just like they've saved mine.

-Take 5 Magazine, Edition 14, 2024