Kadeen Hansen of Massapequa is an accountant by day and creates...

Kadeen Hansen of Massapequa is an accountant by day and creates candles as a passion project inspired by her Jamaican roots.  Credit: Kadeen Hansen

Kadeen Hansen can still remember the scent of the candles her mother burned in her home on the island of Jamaica. Pineapple, coconut and other aromas of the island sparked, for her, a passion project turned business — making her own line of candles.

That was more than 25 years ago.

Her mother passed in 1998, prompting Hansen to move on her own from the Caribbean to Queens in 1999. She then moved to Massapequa in 2005, where the 43-year-old now lives with her husband and three children. 

Though she works full-time as an accountant, she's also launched her own business, Aquaries,  a website where she sells candles and other handmade products. Aquaries is a mashup of her and her  late mother’s birth signs: Aquarius and Aries, respectively.

“Candles have always been a love of mine from Jamaica,” Hansen says. “My mom loved candles; she always had one going. I did take a liking to them.”

Hansen first began making candles for herself in 2020, then officially opened her home-based business two years later. She now sells online, at markets and at Hydrate Health and Wellness in Massapequa. Most of the shop's sales come from in-person markets held in the spring and fall. Total sales in 2023 were over $20,000, Hansen says. 

One candle in particular, Island Vibes, was inspired by relaxing days in Jamaica on the beach. The candle features scents of coconut, pineapple and tonka bean, perfectly capturing the essence of a tropical getaway. 

When Hansen researched candlemaking, she realized that many  include paraffin wax. She instead uses all-natural, coconut wax for her candles and other products, including body butter, room sprays, coconut wax melts and car diffusers.

Another motivator for Hansen was that she did not see people who look like her represented well enough in the handmade market she wished to enter, she says.

“I felt like I wasn’t seen in my area or on social media or Etsy or any of those popular places you go to get those handmade products,” Hansen says. “I’m here to show all children that there is room for growth, to be yourself, find your personality, and do whatever your heart desires. Just because you don't see someone like you in a situation, don’t think you can’t do it as well.”

shopaquaries.com; Hydrate Health and Wellness: 5610 Merrick Rd., Massapequa

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months