There’s a beautiful little word in French dialect, which surely deserves greater use globally – bisou.
Meaning ‘little kiss’, it’s a gloriously well chosen name for a brand of candles which were brought to life by a burned out mum who eventually discovered wellbeing, and who wanted to ‘spread the love’ to others.
Is it a surprise that the FOMO world we’ve seen evolve around us, has caused us to grow increasingly frustrated, fatigued – and frankly, fed up?
Teneika Caines reminisces today in the kind of language which oh so many women across the modern world can likely relate to.
A self-confessed ‘restless self starter’, she had spent most of her early 20s ploughing time, energy and emotion into various business ventures or vocational pursuits – always asking for that little more of herself, in order that she might feel ‘truly fulfilled’.
But one particular ‘venture’ proved to be something she’d not so perfectly prepared herself for – the one of stepping into motherhood.
By the time her young son arrived, in 2014, Teneika was, she now accepts, completely burned out and bewildered.
“In some respects it came as a shock to me that my son’s arrival was the final straw of what my body and mind could cope with,” she says.
“I’ve always been someone who just ‘gets on’ with whatever is thrown her way.
“I’d done various business roles and had created my own podcast and magazine, so it’s not like I wasn’t used to wearing many hats – but I never expected to feel quite so weary….and a little lost.”
It was in the pursuit of recovering herself and her sanity, that Teneika began to enjoy the restorative powers of candles.
For her, these were the one ‘wellbeing asset’ in her world which seemed to lift her spirits, detract from her angst, and really enable her to create the kind of relaxation that her mind and body were craving.
“All of a sudden, I had a calmer and more positive clarity about everything I was doing, and I could see more easily what I needed to do to change my life for the better.
“It was obvious that candles were going to be at the centre of that.”
In the background of raising her young son, Teneika began heavily researching candles.
She wanted to understand more about scents, ingredients, burning properties, and how she could bring something to the market which would help other women like her feel restored and rejuvenated.
Calling on the inspiration of the many women she had interviewed for her podcast, together with her university degree in business studies, she began to develop a comprehensive commercial strategy, and to build a network of potential suppliers.
By late September last year, she was finally ready for launch.
“There were a few essential aspects I wanted the product to have, like being really distinct in design, and to be vegan, as I now live a fully vegan life,” Teneika continues.
“I found that I’d got a really clear vision for an elegant candle, and although I think it surprised a few people initially, I went completely black for the wax.
“I sourced the soya wax from some great UK suppliers, and the minute I made up the first sample designs – in my kitchen – I knew it was going to work.
“I just love that the look is so distinct, and it manages to seem really indulgent and special.”
Having launched with six scents, the Bisou candle range has already been attracting a lot of positive attention.
Thanks to plenty of craft fayres, some impressive social media effort, and early-stage conversations with potential influencers and brand ambassadors, the signs are certainly looking good for this inspired 30-year-old mum.
Teneika is clearly not someone to sit back and rest with a venture.
She’s already talking about new product lines, about collaboration potentials, and even – the launch of a wellness podcast on the back of her new candle range.
“I’m so excited for the future,” she admits.
“When I think back to how frazzled I was, how stressed and how unhappy with what life was putting my way, I can hardly believe how quickly things have started to turn around, and how much better my emotional health is.
“For the most part, that’s been about discovering the idea of self-care and wellness, and using candles to calm my mind and restore balance in my world.
“I just want to make sure that it’s exactly that kind of power of positivity and ‘calm’ that I can share with other people, by encouraging them to experience my products.”
“My experience tells me that by ignoring your mind and body, and continuing to deny yourself wellness and relaxation, there’s only one destination – and that’s burnout.
“Candles may not be the solution for everyone, but I’m sure they’re a powerful aid for a lot of women, so it’s incredibly satisfying to be playing this part in the lives of others who need to be good to themselves.”
Hard to argue with a sentiment like that.
Now, isn’t it time you ran the bath and prepared yourself for some candlelit indulgence this evening?