About Us

From the Kootenays

Rural Candles was founded in 2020 in the Kootenays by Duane Hideg. He was born and raised in the area, and it was the place he came back to each summer, and again to live after spending most of his adult years away in the city.

When it came to style, Duane had a talent for bringing together modern elegance with eclectic pieces from the past, creating a look and art for the home that was both timeless and unique. He had a raucous laugh and his favourite colour was chartreuse. He was fun and mischievous, a great listener and eager storyteller, the kind of friend you’d spend hours talking with about all the big and little things of life and the messy, beautiful people in it.

To the West Coast

In February 2022, Duane was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. He fought with determination and will. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

On Saturday, June 4, 2022, while reclined outside in the beauty and warmth of the sun, surrounded by family and friends, Duane held his love’s hand and passed away. He died with dignity and on his own terms.

My name is Monique Helbig and I am now the owner and chief candlemaker at Rural. I met Duane when he moved to Victoria to study Fine Arts at the University of Victoria in the early ‘90s.

Between Friends

We worked together at the Eaton’s department store back then, in the Shoes and Luggage departments and became fast friends. In the decades since, we kept in each other’s lives. Checking in, as old friends do, to laugh and talk nonstop, as though it was only a minute since we had spoken before and not the many months, and sometimes years, that had gone by in between.

When Duane passed, he asked me to take over his candlemaking business. We planned several times to work on it together, but time made a fool of us and somehow, now, it’s just me. When I fumbled through making the first batch of soy candles for his Celebration of Life that first summer, I realized just how much of a gift he left me, and what an honour it is to keep this business going.

Creating Connection

He wanted to give me a stepping stone with the candles he designed – these beautifully simple candles, with just a touch of whimsy. He also asked me to just run with this and make it my own.

"Let it become anything it wants to be."

His only request was that perhaps once a year, I create a post in his memory to help raise awareness about mental health. So many of us struggle in solitude and silence, and it can feel impossible to reach out and ask for, accept, or even acknowledge that we need help, especially when we need it the most.

Mental illness doesn’t discriminate, and it can be particularly debilitating when we’re alone. My goal with Rural Candles is to provide another small way for us to connect and come together in community with one another.

Maybe these little candles can be a reminder between us, a reason and way to say, "Hey, you are loved. I care about you. I’m thinking about you, and your light matters."


Rural is a minority-owned and operated small business. We acknowledge and are grateful to be located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the scəw̓aθən (Tsawwassen), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), and other Coast Salish Peoples.