Shining Light on Black History: One Candle at a Time

Many of us are constantly looking for our next favorite scent. But over time and Kejina Robinson Searching for the perfect candle, she was constantly faced with a barrier – none of which was owned by BIPOC. So, as many creative and action-taking thinkers do, she solved the problem by making a brand of candles herself. Kejina was founded BLK ROSE candlea candle brand that is not only owned by BIPOC, but also donates 15% of proceeds to community initiatives led by BIPOC.

For those who don’t know, can you describe what a BLK ROSE Candle is?

BLK ROSE Candle is a candle brand that celebrates black excellence through scents and stories. We make handcrafted 100% soy wax candles with a beautiful scent that fills a room and hope to spark discussions on important issues.

That’s great work, what made you want to make a BLK ROSE Candle?

I actually created the brand when I was looking for a new candle company to start buying from. Like many, 2020 was the year I did a lot of thinking and wanted to make sure that the brands and companies I supported had values ​​in line with my own. I wanted to find candles with a beautiful and unique aesthetic scent and it was really important that they were owned by BIPOC.

I couldn’t find one that was all of those things or that resonated with me and my partner just kept encouraging me to create my own brand. And so after being told so many times that I should do it, I did.

Now tell us about your candles, what are the stories behind them and how are they made?

My goal is to inspire and amplify, so I decided to name my candles after 3 inspiring black women. The group is called Beautiful Blk Because that’s a phrase that a lot of people hear, but a lot of black women probably don’t believe or see in themselves, so I wanted this collection to be a reminder to people everywhere that black is really beautiful.

When I tell people the names of the candles, they’re like, “Oh, I’ve never heard of Toni Morrison” or anything and it makes me so happy because someone else knows something else about black history.

All of my candles are made in small batches in my home studio. We use 100% soy wax, non-toxic fragrances and lead-free wicks. My partner is very supportive and plays a huge support role in helping me make the candles.

Can you touch on the importance of building brands that support BIPOC communities?

It is very important! I believe we all have a role to play in building a better future. A lot of the BIPOC communities are marginalized and systematically oppressed, so I think if you’re a brand that has been able to benefit from this system in some way – our role is to try to change those systems or support those who continue to impact negatively. Honestly, we can all do the smallest things that can make a difference and build a better world.

What are some tips you can give other brands that want to be more goal-oriented?

I think only stay true to your purpose and not “sell”. When I decided to call the group BLK Beautiful, I often second-guess myself thinking I might offend someone or make someone uncomfortable (the fragility of white is real!) but then I had to remind myself that if I really believed in this, someone else would.

So I think just fully embrace your goal and be honest about it.

What are some of the barriers or challenges you faced while building a BLK ROSE Candle? How did you overcome it?

Like many others just getting started – cash flow! There are a lot of things to pay for and take into consideration when starting out, and they all cost money which is of course limited.

The biggest challenge was setting priorities and trying to do everything with limited resources. I am not a serial entrepreneur, this is my first job so I learn every day and just try to see every setback as a learning opportunity.

What are your proudest moments while making a BLK ROSE candle?

Honestly, seeing strangers buy my candles and get a DM from people I don’t know tell me how much they love the smell of our candles. There are BLK ROSE Candles in a few local stores and that’s something I’m very proud of too.

Do you have any exciting projects coming up?

We are currently working on expanding Beautiful BLK The collection includes other namesake accessories and candles like wick clippers – we’re also starting to play with other fragrance-driven household goods like perfume atomizers and soaps.

Connect with Kejina and BLK ROSE Candle on Instagram @blkrosecandle and you can buy candles on their website at blkrosecandle.com.

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