January 2023 Health/Wellness
Mahogany Brown Candle Co.
Can you let us know what is the inspiration behind your company's name "Mahogany Brown Candle Co?"
Mahogany Brown Candle company is a name I selected for various reasons. First and foremost I was born in Belize, Central America. Our number one export are mahogany trees, which are beautiful in color, strong in stature, and can withstand varying degrees of weather. Sound familiar? Smile! This name is an ode to my country, the beauty of the mahogany trees, it’s natural luster, and classic beauty. Second, I started this company with my granny, whose skin was as beautiful and smooth for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I used to ask her “how“ and she would tell me that she drank water, moisturized with coconut oil, and the Sun did the rest! If you’ve ever been to Belize, you will understand why this is important, and how true this statement is! My Granny was the original Mahogany Girl! Lastly, I wanted my company to reflect something that was definitely relatable to Black people, something where the moment you saw it, you KNEW it had to be Black-owned, and it had your full attention. This is all represented in my logo of this beautiful Mahogany Woman with her natural hair, in her natural state of beauty.
"Lastly, I wanted my company to reflect something that was definitely relatable to Black people, something where the moment you saw it, you KNEW it had to be Black-owned, and it had your full attention."
What inspired you to start your business?
PTSD, anxiety, my love for GOOD candles, peace, an old lady, and a garden! All of the above! Ultimately, self-care. I’m a veteran, diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety, who was looking for natural holistic ways to find peace and balance. My granny was a Garifuna (our culture and tribe) woman and wasall about the natural ways of eating (ital-food), and holistic ways of healing. She raised me on all of them—and we are from the coastal town of Dangriga where so many “modern” medicines were not available. I continued that through gardening her herbal remedies and combine her recipes along with my love for “GOOD” candles and skin products and started MBCC.
Do you have a favorite scent?
WOW! That’s a huge question! I believe scents are personal. I have several because it so hard to choose just one. They all serve different purposes in balance and peace. For example, the scent Serenity is a mixture of peppermint and eucalyptus, and that is used in several ways—sickness such as colds, asthma, congestion, and as a major stress reliever! Toud is a powdery blend of Tonka Bean and Oud, which provides relaxation and calmness—Also, it was my Granny’s favorite scent! Mango Milk takes me home as it is reminiscent of hom —Belize or the Caribbean. Manifest is all about cleansing air and spaces so it contains Albanian Sage and hints of Palo Santos! These scents in combination with my special beeswax and coconut blend brings a vast array of emotions and centering.
Describe your process for handmaking your products?
Test, Test, TEST! Sage, Sage, SAGE! Smile! Honestly, candle making and skincare is a science that requires time and the utmost patience! I am somebody that will not put out a product that I cannot stand behind, or I do not like or I feel that the consistency is off. Before I started my company, I tested products for about two years because I wanted to make sure it was doing exactly what I needed to do from the formula of my wax, to the jars, to the wicks, to the Shea butter and the other organic ingredients that I use. I need all of these products to blend in a way that will allow my customers to get the ultimate Mahogany experience. That’s what’s important to me, and I start each session with a prayer, and with Sage to purify and cleanse my studio and space.
Many of your products have natural ingredients, such as the whipped butter, why are natural ingredients important?
Great question! My answer is, why not? We live in a society where nothing arrives to us in its natural form. If there is one thing that I will always take from being born in Central America, and being raised as a Garifuna child, from the coast is how differently natural and organic ingredients treat our bodies. Even though I grew up in the states, I was able to remain centered by the ability to go back home and enjoy a simpler lifestyle. That, of course, brought about comparisons, such as how I felt after drinking the natural water, how my skin felt when using natural ingredients from the yard, how the sun felt on my skin, and the lack of acne as a teenager when I was home. All major differences that I recognized from a very early age as a consumer in particular a BLACK consumer. I feel it is important that we never forget our ability to stay grounded in our roots.
"I feel it is important that we never forget our ability to stay grounded in our roots."
I noticed you attended some cool events for your business? What was your favorite event you attended?
I have been truly blessed to be a part of an amazing non-profit organization called "Buy From A Black Woman," and through that partnership. I have been granted opportunities to showcase my products at H&M’s throughout the US! Needless to say every single BFABW event has been LIT as it allows me to meet, greet, and develop relationships with black women entrepreneurs like myself. But if I had to pick just one…New Orleans, the Inspire Tour! I loved this tour because it took me to Essence Fest (believe it or not, I had never been), and I got to experience the ambiance of Black Female Empowerment like never before. Attending panels where the women looked like me and shared their journeys to success, while also describing the realities of business is imperative for growth. I left this event feeling truly inspired to keep going as it was another confirmation that I was on the right path.
What is the most challenging part of being a CEO?
Balance and staying true to yourself and your brand. Smile, I’m a mom, a wife, and I still work in corporate—-believe it or not, being a CEO for MBCC is the easiest of all the jobs I have. Being able to curate such amazing products that brings forth such enjoyable experiences for my customers is a blessing.
Can you give some words of advice for entrepreneurs who want to start a business?
Know your reason WHY, and stick to it. So many people will not support you, so many people will not understand your journey, they will criticize—-you’re going to have to know why you started, and why it’s important to you, and what is your end goal? Don’t allow peoples opinions to lead you astray from your own ideas. Lastly, focus on what is going right on the days where it feels like everything is going wrong.
What are some other hobbies you enjoy?
Travel, hiking, relaxing, meditating, gardening, cooking, watching movies!
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Photos by: Najah K. Photography