You might know Rebecca Cuzzillo as the lifestyle blogger behind Inexplicable Wanderlust. I first met Bec at the opening of Hoi Polloi in Canberra last year. I was instantly drawn to her positive vibe, fun and laid back personality. Since then I have been following her on Instagram and wanted to share her story with you.
Bec recently took the plunge to follow her dreams to be her own boss and launched her business Song of Oya, Angelic Reiki, in October last year. With the support of her partner, the creative duo released Song of Oya’s soy candle range in Canberra last night.
She recently switched to part-time work so she can spend more time following her dreams and building her business. I caught up with Bec to find out a little more about her, Song of Oya and how she finds balance working a 9am-5pm job while running a business an doing everything else in between.
Tell me a bit about yourself. What are your passions, your background, where are you from?
I’m a born and bred Canberran and I’ve grown to absolutely love my hometown. I’m an easily excited person and passionate about a lot of things – coffee, food and travel are some of the more frivolous things, but I am also incredibly passionate about social justice issues, human rights and the environment. I also love anything local and I try to buy and support local growers, movers and shakers as much as I can.
I’m a vegetarian, a blogger, a holistic healer and a candle artisan. I work for a local community organisation four days a week, study Interior Design at night and regularly moonlight as a freelance writer in between. You could say that life is pretty busy.
I also consider myself a spiritual person, in the sense that I believe in something more, whether that comes in the form of one God or many, I don’t know. As long as it comes from a place of love, I’m happy to take my blessings where I can get them.
How did Song of Oya come to life? What was your inspiration to start it?
I’ve never been one to sit still for very long, so at it’s core, I think that’s where Song of Oya started.
I trained as an Angelic Reiki healer early last year as a way to try something new that was just for me and my personal growth and happiness. Put simply, Angelic Reiki is a safe, natural and powerful healing method that works with angelic energy to address physical, mental, emotional or spiritual imbalances. For me, it’s a way that I bring balance back in to my often hectic life. Angelic Reiki helped me find harmony amongst the chaos – and I wanted to share that with others. I took the plunge and started healing from my home studio on the weekends.
The candle side of the business started not long after. I’d been talking to my partner, Matt, about wanting to learn how to make soy candles for a while. After keeping an eye for a class I could try, Matt suggested that we simply buy a starter kit and try it out at home. Now, here we are, a few months later, having just launched our candle range.
Tell me about Song of Oya – the purpose, dreams and hopes for your business?
Song of Oya is about balance, harmony, creativity and having a bit of fun. Matt has come on board with the candle side of the business and it’s great to have him there for support and to bounce ideas off. Our hope for the short term is to continue to see the business grow slowly but surely. This is one of many side projects for us, so we want our growth to be sustainable. Long term, we have so many ideas we don’t know really know where to start. We hope to work with and collaborate with other local creatives and have a bit of fun with our candles. We’ll be popping up at different markets around Canberra and we can promise that you’ll be seeing some more limited edition scents.
What does Song of Oya mean?
Oya is the Goddess of Power, Transformation and Change celebrated by the Yoruban people of West Africa. She is a mother goddess and warrior queen, known to clear and guide the way for transformation, change and growth. I came across Oya at the start of this journey and instantly felt a strong connected to her powerful feminine energy. It felt like the perfect fit for this new venture.
What challenges have you faced as a business owner?
My biggest challenge is time. I’ve got a lot going on and it can be hard to find the time to do everything I want to do with the business. I’m pretty good at time management, so I make sure I’m prioritising what needs to be done but I often find myself wishing I had more time to do those extra little things.
What’s been the most rewarding thing about having your own business so far?
The most rewarding thing by far is connecting with other people doing cool and interesting things in Canberra and around Australia. Whether that’s connecting with other holistic healers at an expo or getting the opportunity to work with interesting people like yourself, it’s definitely my favourite thing about owning a business.
You’ve recently changed from full-time work to part-time work to pursue your business. Can you tell me a little bit about that? What has the transition been like?
It’s a work in progress. I love my job – I work at a local non-government organisation called the Youth Coalition of the ACT. We represent young people aged 12 to 25 and the people that work with them – and it’s incredibly rewarding work. We have a social justice focus so we are often advocating on issues such as youth homelessness, youth unemployment and education equity. I love it, but it can be pretty heavy at times which is one of the reasons I pursue so many other creative outlets outside of work. At the moment, I’m still working out how to fit my job into four days a week and actually make sure I’m being productive on my #girlboss day. Coffee helps.
Why does owning your own business and being an entrepreneur appeal to you?
There are two things – the creativity and the flexibility. I love the opportunity to think and work creatively and the flexibility to do it in any way I want. It could be as simple as taking a good photo for social media or developing a new scent for our candles. Both Matt and I count ourselves lucky to have this opportunity to be creative, have a bit of fun and share that with others.
What’s your advice to others who want to do something similar?
My advice is to just start. Take the first step, whatever that may be, and then once you’ve done that take the next step. It sounds simple, but I know how hard that first step can be. Also, use your networks. Connect with people you already know and seek out like-minded people for support and inspiration.
How do you look after yourself while running a small business and doing everything else you do?
I often have to be reminded by those around me to slow down and take a break. But I like to think that I’m pretty good at listening to my body and at the first signs of being run down I try to make sure that I stop, breathe and take a break. I try to eat healthy most of the time, exercise a few times a week and always make time to catch up with friends and family. Angelic Reiki is also a big part of my self care routine – I try to practice self healing as often as I can and when I feel like it, I’ll have a session with one of my healer friends.
What’s your favourite Song of Oya product?
It’s hard to pick a favourite, but at the moment, I’m loving the “Joy” candle. It’s lime and coconut and smells like a tropical holiday.
What’s your favourite mantra?
Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today. – James Dean
What does balance mean to you?
For me, balance is about making time to do the things I love and not feeling guilty about the fact that my never-ending to-do list is still as long as my arm. Sometimes that means eating chocolate while watching House of Cards on Netflix, other times it’s about having breakfast with a friend before work.
If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
Right now? I’d go to Berlin. Ask me tomorrow, it’ll probably be somewhere else.
What’s the best thing about being a business owner?
Connecting with new and interesting people, sharing in the healing journey of others and creating candles that people seem to like and want to have in their life.
What are you currently reading?
Do magazines count? I was an avid book reader growing up and I still love books, but I have to guiltily admit that I’m not reading a book currently and haven’t read one in ages. When I do read, it’s usually an interior design magazine or one of the many blogs I follow.
More about Song of Oya’s candles…..
Song of Oya’s candles are hand poured in Canberra using natural soy wax and lead-free cotton wicks. They are set in glass jars with a wooden lid. Each candle also has its own affirmation card – you’re encouraged to say the words every time you light your candle and who knows what magic will happen.
We also care about the environment, so we offer 10% off next purchase to those who return their candle jars and lids to us once they’ve finished with their candle.
The Balancing Act has teamed up with Song of Oya and are giving away two of Song of Oya’s limited edition autumn candle, delicious apple cinnamon. The candle is contains essential oils of cinnamon bark, clove leaf and nutmeg combine with sweet apple to create the perfect autumn