Simply scan to begin your mindfulness journey. Unwrapping a candle from Pause Play Wellness is exciting –each beautifully handmade candle comes with a QR code that links to a playlist that guides one’s sensory and meditation experience. The most impressive part? Founder Rachel Autumn runs the company completely on her own, hand making each candle and curating every playlist and healing practice that goes along with it.
Tell us about your journey. Where does Pause Play Wellness fit into your own story?
I have been marching to the beat of my own drum as far back as I can remember. My curiosity and ambition were born early in my journey in my hometown of Baltimore, MD. I think the seed was planted by my father and maternal grandfather, who both had upbringings where they had to fight to survive. Knowing of their personal sacrifices, their faith in God, and in a vision beyond their circumstances has always been a source of inspiration and has prompted me to ask bigger questions and move unapologetically in the direction of my dreams.
In the beginning of 2020 I sustained a serious back injury that stopped me in my tracks. I quickly realized that I had a desire to anchor myself in inner wellbeing and that my healing journey was only going to begin when I created space to truly pause. My injury was the catalyst for this pause, followed by the shutdown caused by Covid-19, which anchored me even deeper into the energetic cleansing I didn’t know I needed.
In this space of pause, I spent a lot of time with my thoughts and desires in meditation, self-study, energy healing, prayer, and journaling. It was not all pretty by any means, but it was necessary, and I am much better because of that time. In pausing, I found energy and desire to play; to get in touch with the child version of myself and to steep myself in the joys that lit her up. Candlemaking became one of those playful, fun activities, and I truly had no intention of taking it to the next level as an offering in my business.
For our readers who may be unfamiliar, can you explain what Pause Play Wellness offers?
Pause Play Wellness is a multi-sensory, immersive candle healing experience for the mind, body, & soul. We create chakra balancing candles equipped with affirmations, crystals, QR code-linked meditations and playlists for the ultimate self-care experience rich in aspects of “pause” and “play”. Our meditations are twenty minute guided meditations led by me, and our playlists are 3-4 hour selections of high-vibe soulful music from the 70s, 80s, and 90s - perfect for dancing around your home!
How is the holistic approach of Pause Play Wellness unique?
Holistic health is at the threshold of our brand identity and strategy, and we are constantly mindful in how we evolve to become more sustainable for the environment. Our multi-sensory and multi-modality experiences meet people where they are and give them agency over how they would like to shape their self-care practice from day to day. Our candles are gluten-free, toxin-free, paraben-free, and phthalate-free so our customers can burn them stress-free. We hope that these intentions resonate with others’ and empower them to find their own heart-centered choices that bring deeper opportunity for holistic living.
You are currently a one-woman show, hand-making all of your candles and curating unique playlists for each experience you offer. How do you manage all of this?
I honestly am still finding a routine that works for me in this one-woman show journey. Entrepreneurship and starting something that no one in your community has direct experience with can really expose you to your shadows and blindspots. Everything from how I cope under pressure, my own self-care practices, how I navigate a work-life balance, and then some, have been addressed time and time again.
With time however, some of my processes have become more manageable and second-nature. Making candles for example, while extremely time-consuming based on the amount I make in each batch and all of the aspects included in each and every candle, has gotten easier and I am better able to anticipate the time it will take and plan accordingly. On the other hand, as I approach year one of being in business, I am still experiencing many firsts such as bookkeeping, taxes, business formation upkeep, retail strategy and more. For these areas, I outsource help when possible and continue to do my own research, giving myself a break when I do not “get it right” the first time and giving myself space to figure things out in my own timing.
I love the idea of healing by tapping into your inner child. Tell us about your inner child.
My inner child is funny, playful, and creative! She likes joking with others and dancing to music from the 70s and 80s. She marches to the beat of her own drum and likes to invite people to do the same. She is fully embodied in Pause Play Wellness, from the design, to our colors, the energy, the music, and more. She is the boss here for sure!
Why is it that people become so disconnected from their own inner child?
I love conversations about inner child healing and opportunities to find connection to that essence that is within all of us. Childhood is the time when our subconscious minds and our imaginations had more space to simply be and guide us. As we grow up, we take in rules of engagement, do’s and don’t, fear, guilt, shame, and the like, and some of grow further and further away from that child-like essence where you really could dwell in the place of alignment, child-like joy, and bliss.
Adults tend to look at children and find joy in witnessing their innate playfulness and happiness. I think that we enjoy this because we are actually remembering who we are in those small moments. Once we learn to accept that we are still allowed to have those feelings and that connection with our inner child, we can begin to find freedom in more moments rather than in moments far and few between.
Are there any other aspects of your journey you’d like to share?
Navigating this space as a Black woman has also been a very empowering journey. I am grateful for the way that has been paved for me and the systems that are slowly but surely being shaken up to create more space for BIPOC entrepreneurs to blossom and thrive.
What is an issue that you are passionate about that you hope will gain more traction?
It’s not really related so much to what we focus on at VoiceUp, but I'm very interested in women in tech, finance, and entrepreneurship. I'm an entrepreneur; I’m a COO of a startup and I’m also in the VC finance world, which is definitely a very very male-dominated sphere. The amount of funding for female founders is dropping and the finance world is still full of sexism and racism. Because I know that this is an area I want to continue pursuing a career in, I'm very interested in diversifying the finance, tech, and startup worlds, through female empowerment.
Finally, you interact with a lot of Japanese government officials and larger national organizations. As a youth-led group, I imagine sometimes you may not feel heard by these adults. Could you give a message to these people in high positions?
My only message to all of those people, especially those with decision-making power, is to please stop telling us they’re going to listen, and to stop making promises they don’t keep. Instead, include young people in the discussion. They often tell us they want to deliver our voice, but we don’t need someone to deliver our voice for us. We need to be there, you know, to be able to deliver our own voice. So, to anyone reading this, please stop saying you want to help the youth, but instead help build a path so that we can be there, at the ceremonies and conversations where actual decisions are made.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT. WE LOOK FORWARD TO BRINGING YOU THE VOICE OF MORE INSPIRING ARTISTS AND CHANGEMAKERS IN 2021.
Interview conducted and written by Naomi Segal