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Thursday, Aug 18, 2022
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Black Entrepreneurs Month: Tay Watts Posh Candle Co.

Tay Watts went from an amateur chandler to a bona fide pro in 2017 when she started making and selling hand-poured, soy wax candles out of her home in Van Nuys.The business, Posh Candle Co., quickly garnered attention online and in the press for its edgy, pop-inspired branding. A “Boss Lady” candle, for example, contains traces of sugared musk and jasmine while an “Allergic to B.S.” candle smells of lemon and lavender.

Watts, a mother to two young sons, recently moved the business to a nearby warehouse space to accommodate increased demand. Along with candles – which sell for $15 a pop – she also sells incense, room spray, eye masks and other self-care products branded with bold and humorous phrasing.Question: Tell us how you got your business started.Answer: My business started as the result of a bit of pressure. Soon after resigning from a job to focus on my final year of graduate school, I unexpectedly learned I was pregnant with my second son. I needed a source of income that would allow me the flexibility to stay in school and help provide for my growing family. The idea for a candle business came while I was shopping for candles and couldn’t find any that really spoke to me and what I enjoy. That’s when the light bulb went off and I rushed home to start creating the first four candle scents.

Do you like being your own boss? Do you ever think about trading it all in for a steady paycheck?Absolutely. I’ve been afforded a level of freedom that many people don’t think they can have, but the stress of running a business and looking for funding was enough to send me looking for a steady paycheck at the end of 2019. The employer was extremely rude to me during the hiring process, which was a huge red flag. It was a tough decision, but I figured I would rather stress over my own business than anywhere else.What’s the best aspect of running your own business?The freedom to go as fast or slow as I wish. In today’s world we’re used to seeing people brag about being busy to the point where they don’t have a lot of free time for anything else. From the very beginning I made the decision that I would do things my way and, often, when things begin to pour into my personal time, I pause, reel it back in, adjust and get back in there.  What’s the biggest challenge your  business has faced? And how did you deal with it?When the pandemic started, it felt like I couldn’t catch a break. Demand was increasing but supplies would be delayed. Then supplies would arrive, but a piece of equipment would break. On top of this, we had insufficient space, so pallets were showing up to my home with no real place to go. I hit my breaking point and dealt with it by finding a warehouse space, upgraded equipment and hired help. We’re dealing with the supply delivery delays by ordering three times the amount we would normally order.

Has being Black affected your business?My business has thrived from the support of the Black community. My first major order of 5,000 candles came within several months of launching and that order was from a Black woman. Whenever there is a conversation about Black women-owned candle businesses, my business is mentioned. I never want to take that for granted and I think about that often when it comes time for me to look around and see who in my community needs some shine.

 

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