A candle business wasn’t on the radar for Ngaire Briggs when she and her tamariki began playing around with a small DIY kit that they’d been given. It was something fun and creative that they could do together and it gave them a beautiful end product for their home, or something that could be passed on as a gift for friends and whānau.
“I was just making them and giving them to the world, to anyone who wanted them, because we just really enjoyed that time together and learning something new,” Ngaire says.
Then friends of those friends and whānau starting seeing those candles and began asking where they could get these candles from.
One of Ngaire’s kids crunched some numbers and worked out that it would be more cost-effective to increase their quantities. This led to Huikai Creations officially ramping up and taking over the whānau garage. Eventually with Te Pūtahitanga WAVE funding, they were able to buy a large wax melter that enabled them to make more candles at once without the need for pots and elements.
The business gives everyone in the whānau the chance to be creative while receiving hands-on skills – something that is central to the kaupapa.
“It was my goal that they would learn something about business,” Ngaire says.” Right from the start, as I was learning I thought it’d be a prime opportunity to bring my children along on this journey, so they can learn too.”
The candles come in a range of scents but the most meaningful ones are the candles that are inspired by and created by her children. For Ngaire it is an important way to honour her tamariki.
“It’s kind of like an extension of them and their personalities. Karōria is the most popular candle, and everyone always asks me why and I'm like, because it's loud and punchy like her.” Ngaire laughs.
The personal touch is an important element of the Huikai Creation candles, with Ngaire a firm believer in the way scents can trigger memories and remind us of people.
Maureen Taane, who owns Ōtautahi store Hapa, agrees. She happened upon Huikai Creations after her daughter had left Aotearoa to live overseas. One of Ngaire’s candles helped give a little bit of healing from the heartache Maureen felt.
“My daughter and I both love candles, like that’s our thing that we give each other. I was looking for something special to remember her, something that was more than a beautiful scent or a beautiful jar. When I found Ngaire’s candle, it was like a little bit of an electric shock.”
When Maureen reached out to Ngaire to see if she would supply to her store, Ngaire immediately accepted.
It’s clear that the candles from Huikai Creations embody something other than just a pleasing scent. There is emotion and intent for each one, almost a specific wairua that is imparted from Ngaire and her whānau to the eventual owner.