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Interview: Shani from Happy Society

by Amy Collins

When it comes to self-care and relaxing, there’s nothing better than a beautiful smelling candle, a calming facemask, or even a stick of Palo Santo to clear the air. And that’s exactly what Geelong based company Happy Society is creating. The small and local business is run by owner Shani who began crafting candles by hand in her early twenties. From there her love of oils, skincare, and high quality healing ingredients has grown into Happy Society. We chatted to her about sustainability, self-care, yoga, and the 70s.

Have candles and essential oils been a love of yours for a long time? What started that?
An old housemate and I started making candles together in our tiny Melbourne kitchen in our early 20s. Our house looked like one giant shrine with all the candles we’d make in old glass jars, with a million different scents filling up our apartment.

Ever since then candles have been a necessity in my sacred space, I love the atmosphere they create. My love for essential oils is a bit more recent, the past few years have introduced anxiety to my life and I began learning about essential oils and their uses. I soon realised they are way more than just a pretty smell, they can uplift your mood, help you release tension, and be a really useful tool when dealing with anxiety and depression.

What then pushed you to start Happy Society in 2014?
I began making myself some roll on blends and would use these daily. I started making these for friends and family and in turn, Happy Society was born. It began as more of a side project or hobby, but as I started studying aromatherapy part time I learnt about what these amazing plant compounds can do and how beneficial they can be for us psychologically and physiologically. I have felt more and more motivated to create Happy Society.

Quality and sustainability both seem to be important to you and the business. Can you tell us more about that?
There is a huge difference between cheap manufactured ingredients compared to high quality, therapeutic grade ingredients – they are worlds apart. Making sure my ingredients are sourced from ethical suppliers as well as ensuring that they are either wild crafted or organic wherever possible is extremely important to me. Sustainability is so important and as a business it is my responsibility to ensure waste is very minimal and I’m making a positive environmental impact. A few practices I have put in place for happy society is saying no to plastic packaging, I’ve started asking suppliers to package my products plastic and Styrofoam free, and by using glass bottles and jars that can be up cycled or recycled, every little bit counts.

And can you tell us how that improves the end product?
I guess the proof is in the product. Choosing quality over quantity makes a huge difference to the final result, my blends and products have so many benefits thanks to the high quality ingredients and effort that goes into them. It also means no nasty filler ingredients to wreak havoc on your health or environment. My products are filled with blends and scents people can burn, spritz or diffuse in their own space. Each ingredient is carefully thought out and has been put there for a purpose, whether it be lavender to help calm a restless mind and encourage sleep, sandalwood to promote a peaceful environment or clary sage to release tension.

Scent is such a powerful thing. What do you want Happy Society to be for people?
My focus since day one has been to create products for people to enjoy, to encourage self-care, and encourage positive daily rituals to make you feel good, stress less, and smile more.

There’s a real 70s style and vibe that comes from your Instagram and packaging. Was that on purpose? Is that something that inspires you?
I love design, especially the mid century and 60s / 70s eras, so it is most definitely on purpose but it is also just something I’m just automatically drawn to without realising sometimes.

How do you think your products can support yogis like us?
By combining yoga and essential oils you can get even more out of your practice. They go hand in hand with yoga, they help release tension, encourage deeper breathing, and uplift your mood – eg. make you happy. I highly recommend diffusing your favourite blend or spritzing your yoga mat before your practice.

What is self-care to you?
Self-care to me is all about taking some time out for yourself, even if you can only give yourself 10 minutes sometimes, just stop and breathe.  Run a bath, light a candle, enjoy a glass of whiskey, have a laugh with a friend or go to your favourite yoga class. Its all about balance and sometimes we get weighed down by everything else in our lives, but if we stop and take some time out for ourselves we end up being able to deal with all those stresses a lot better.

Thanks to Shani, our Geelong 21 Day Challenge yogis will get to experience some of these incredible products. If you want to know more, head to the Happy Society website or check out the instagram.

To sign up for the 21 day may challenge click here!