Hi Monique, it’s so great to meet you, talk us through…
The ethos behind Affirmation Culture
My deepest intention with Affirmation Culture was to create a company that positively impacted peoples’ mental wellbeing and therefore their overall health. Our minds are exceptionally powerful. There has been a huge increase in stress related illness which effects people both physically and mentally. Creating a candle company with positive affirmations was inspired by the idea of holistic self-care. The more we encourage thoughts around calmness, gratitude and self-worth through tools like affirmations, the more our minds relax and our bodies follow. When you light an Affirmation Culture candle, that is your time to practice self-care.
The inspo behind the name?
I came up with the name Affirmation Culture because I wanted to create a movement that would encourage people to use positive affirmations every day. On a daily basis we often battle negative thoughts or self-beliefs about ourselves that simply aren’t true. Those negative beliefs can often trigger stress, anxiety and depression. Affirmation Culture is about the daily practice of empowering ourselves to overcome negative beliefs so we can really live a full, happy and abundant life.
A day in the life of Monique.
I wake up every morning and the first thing I do is acknowledge the day by saying Thank You. Gratitude for another day to live, love, create and experience life. I really believe in gratitude practice. It shifts us away from focusing on what we don’t have to what we do. Even just after 5 minutes of thinking of 3 things you are grateful for, you come away with a deep sense of appreciation.
Then I have to have my absolute favourite tea, turmeric chai with coconut milk followed by a meditation. I love meditating in the morning, but I also love meditating in the evening too. It’s a great way to release stress after a busy day. After a meditation, from that point onwards the day will be about Affirmation Culture. I hand pour all the candle orders and they really are a labour of love. I spend a lot of time going through the blending and creating process. Making candles is a fantastic mindfulness activity. You have to be very present as so many elements can go wrong. I often think candle making is like cooking with all the blending of ingredients. It’s really relaxing and my home smells of beautiful essential oils most of the day.
At the end of the day I often connect with friends and family, especially my partner, Jacob, who lives in New York due to time difference. Connecting to others has become so important since the pandemic and a lot of people, including myself, have had to spend time alone. I love ending my day being present with others.
Your background is in the film industry, how does this new venture compare?
I actually find that both are more similar than I first thought! Working in the film industry is a lot of hours and a lot of hard work but so is having a business. As an independent brand, you end up doing pretty much everything to begin with but it’s a great learning process. I think the biggest difference is that I am now able to find a much better work life balance for me. Being able to set my own hours so that I can incorporate looking after my wellbeing, from sleep to exercise to meditation has been incredibly beneficial.
I love the High Vibes, but what is your favourite candle?
This is a hard question! I really love them all. The one I use most often is Soul Mate. I always use this one to create calm and to meditate to as the scent creates a really relaxing environment.
As a successful small business yourself. What advice would you give to other female led small businesses starting out?
If you have an idea and believe in it, just keep going no matter what. There will be setbacks and hard days but believe in yourself! Also connect with other women on the same journey as you. One of the most helpful things I did in the beginning was start a group with 3 friends. We would brainstorm every Sunday and help each other with our ideas which was fantastic to get other people’s opinions and perspective so early on.
Who or what are your inspirations?
I’m always inspired by anyone who is trying to make a positive impact in the world. I really believe in the idea of community and giving back in any way possible. I have really admired the people who have protested for human rights with the Black Lives Matter movement and also our NHS and frontline workers have been incredible. Acts of kindness, compassion and humanity are always inspiring to me.
All your candles are hand poured with natural essential oils, was this a conscious choice to be more planet friendly?
It was a conscious choice to be human friendly and planet friendly. I really believe natural is so much more beneficial to our health. Many candles contain synthetic fragrance that can actually create a level of air pollution in our homes. Having natural wax rather than paraffin and natural oils creates a much cleaner burn. Natural waxes and oils are biodegradable and safer for the planet.
I also decided to use naturally derived oils so customers could experience the aromatherapy benefits. The blend of oils in each scent encourages specific feelings of relaxations, creating calm or feeling energised.
I feel like 2020 has been an endurance test & these candles are a perfect antidote, do you feel like we all need some more positivity in our lives right now?
You are right, 2020 has been a really difficult year for many, including myself. I had a family member spend a week in intensive care with Covid-19 and as a black woman, I was also deeply affected by George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement. My own mental health really suffered in this time and mindfulness tools such as affirmations and meditation helped me immensely.
I think it’s really about finding balance. When life is challenging it is natural, human and healthy of us to acknowledge the reality. The key for me was understanding that it’s not necessarily a case of more positivity but just a question of am I allowing the time and space to acknowledge the positives that are already present today. Just spending some time every day to intentionally think about all we have to be grateful for, is an amazing way to encourage more positivity in remaining days of 2020. We all deserve as much happiness and joy as possible.
Thanks so much Monique