Getting The Gig

How These Entrepreneurs Reimagined The Use Of Essential Oils Through Their Ground-breaking Candles

By Urban List Writers
23rd Apr 2021

Bec and Carlie have a laugh.

Becca Project is the brain child of two busy, eco-conscious, ethically-minded mums from Auckland’s North Shore. Having bonded over auto-immune diseases, their kids’ close friendship and a love of style and design they discovered essential oils. Moving from scepticism to experiencing first-hand undeniable health and wellbeing benefits, Bec and Carlie decided to make it their mission to redefine the way essential oils can be used.

From combining pure, organic oils and creating divine signature scent combinations to making classy recyclable packaging, Becca Project has reimagined essential oil use through a range of covetable products. From candles to body oil, they’re embracing the slow beauty movement with a call to customers to pause, take a breath (of mood enhancing essential oils) and practise some self-care.

We caught up with Bec and Carlie to find out how it all started and what plans there are for the future.

Let’s take it from the top—how did Becca Project come about?

Carlie: I kept getting sick through my work at the hospital and eventually was diagnosed with auto-immune disease Chronic Fatigue. I had days on end where I couldn’t get out of bed. A friend was very sold on the benefits of essential oils and suggested I try them. I was quite sceptical at first but as I learnt more, I felt the benefits but was stuck on one hurdle—so many of them smelt horrible!

Bec: I also suffer from an auto-immune disease of the joints. Carlie and I were both fascinated by the potential effects of essential oils but we agreed we needed to do something to make the scents better and less overpowering. We talked about burning the oils in wax as we were both fans of scented candles, so we signed up for a candle-making course.

Carlie: The business almost happened by accident. My husband’s brother runs a print and design company called Cube and we asked him to produce some packaging mock-ups for the candles and before we knew it, we had a whole range and we thought, ‘well, we’d better sell them now’.

Becca Wildflower scent.

What’s been your biggest challenge?

Bec: Time. And we were determined to mix the oils directly into the wax, even though we were told it couldn’t be done. Turns out it can be done, but not without a fair amount of trial and error!

Carlie: We had to throw away whole batches in the early days, but combining the oils with the wax is a game changer. It means the amazing mood enhancing benefits of the essential oils are released and inhaled while the candle burns. Most candles just use fragrance, so this really sets us apart.

So, you’re not just another candle company?

Carlie: We really aren’t! It can be hard to get across what makes us different but basically all our products contain real, pure, organic essential oils. Not just the fragrance, which is widely used and sold in beauty products and candles: The actual oils and all their mind-boosting, health-promoting properties.

How do you choose your scent/oil combinations?

Carlie: We decide on a feeling—an experience if you like. So ‘how do we want this to make someone feel—uplifted, relaxed, sleepy’—then we research the oils and start to blend.

Bec: It’s our favourite part of the process, we’ve started to get a good feel for what goes well together now so we can mix up a scent we are proud of, knowing it will smell amazing and we’ll have fun with it too.

Tell us about what motivates you?

Bec: We built Becca Project with the idea of slowness in mind. Our ethos is all around hygge, taking time to enjoy the little things like lighting a candle. This is why we launched with our candle range. There is already so many products in the market for a consumer to buy. We wanted our range to be select and unique and to offer only quality products that will give our customers that feeling of contentment and taking a moment in time to care for themselves.

Carlie: We found it a bit depressing seeing how the beauty industry creates so much waste— excess packaging, 10-step beauty regimes. We wanted to offer an alternative to ‘fast beauty’ where it’s all about the next best thing and layering product after product.

How important is sustainability to your brand?

Bec: It’s everything. We are embracing ‘slow beauty’. All of our products are created with sustainability and the environment in mind. All our packaging, jars bottles etc are recyclable. We source pure, organic, natural ingredients and everything is locally sourced where possible. We are proud to be a local NZ company and the fact that this lessens our carbon footprint is really important to us.

Becca Balm gripped tightly.

Finally, what’s next for Becca Project?

Carlie: We’d love to move into a larger production facility to allow us to produce the range on a larger scale. At the moment our space is limited so expansion would open up some new opportunities for scaling up.

Bec: We’re working on a room spray to match our existing scent combinations. This will offer that ‘quick fix’ option when you want to fragrance the room but don’t have time to light a candle. We’ve also got a lip balm in the wings using all natural, skin-loving, moisture-boosting ingredients.

Read the inspirational journeys of our Getting The Gig alumni.

Image credit: Becca Project

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