By Brenda De Los Santos
Summertime Fine. Living Single. Get Ta Steppin’. Gramm’s Kitchen. These are just a few of the varieties of candles and wax melts made by So Black Candle Co., “the place where culture meets lit scents,” based in New London, CT. Kylah Chadwick, owner and creative force behind the online business, combined her love for candles with elements of Black culture to create the business in September of 2020.
Chadwick hand makes all of her products, and has done extensive research and testing to ensure that her candles and melts are the best. Her products use a parasoy wax blend, which she says has a nice scent throw, and she customizes the amount of fragrance in each variety based on the type of jar used. She has even researched to ensure her candles have the right wick so her candles have strong scent throws, slow, clean burns, as well as longer burn times. Chadwick notes, “Before you ever get the candle there is so much testing that goes in behind it. I double check the packaging and the candle itself. I go above and beyond to make sure when the candles arrive they have a good experience.” She has even gone so far as to contact shipping services on behalf of her customers.
A one-woman show, the business keeps her very busy — she does everything herself, from website creation and maintenance, designing her product labels, and regular trips to the post office to ship orders. She thinks that being relatable to people is a big part of providing great customer service. “At first, some people don’t realize there is an actual person behind the business,” she says, “but then people see that I am a regular person listening to their concerns.”
With many other handcrafted candle businesses out there, Chadwick knows the concept behind her candles and melts stands out. “People will see a label and connect to it whether it's a show that they remember or that the Gramm candle reminds them of their grandma.” Some of her most popular varieties are 90’s R&B, a sangria scent that comes with a playlist, Double Melanin, a cocoa butter and cashmere scent, and her sample packs, which include nine varieties in tea light form. Her Black culture-centered products are available as wax melts, 4 ounce candles in a tin, or 8 ounce candles in a glass jar, as well as two different options for sample packs.
“People will see a label and connect to it whether it's a show that they remember or that the Gramm candle reminds them of their grandma.”
Having gone to school for social work (she has a masters degree in it) and currently working as a full-time crisis specialist, candle making has given her a creative outlet; She sees each candle as a work of art. “I feel like I found my passion,” she says, “I knew I wanted to make it into a business, I just didn’t expect it to go this fast.” So Black Candle Co. celebrates it’s one-year anniversary in September 2021, and Chadwick’s next goal is to be working for herself.
Find So Black Candle Co. on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or visit their website to shop or learn more.
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By Lajeune Hollis
Launched in August 2020, ReFramed by Nikki is an eyewear business located in North Haven, Connecticut. Owner Nicole Forbes-Shaw—who goes by “Nikki”—is a nurse by trade who believes that patient care should be a nurse’s first priority.
With an extensive professional background in nursing, Nikki is an Assistant Nurse Manager of the Interventional Immunology Center where she assists in managing two out of six sites that focus on chronic and auto-immune diseases including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, lupus and other inflammatory disorders. Nikki also attends Western Governors University and is actively working to complete her Masters in Nursing in 2022.
To Nikki, “ReFramed means reframing your visual perspective. Your glasses make your whole visual perspective – clear.” The ReFramed by Nikki eyewear includes a range of styles, from chic and precise, to astute and edgy, with eyewear styles categorized in unique collections, each of which has a significant meaning.
The first collection, “The Collective,” was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic and was a way of acknowledging the heroic work of close family, friends and colleagues who worked as essential workers – including Nikki herself. Ten percent of the proceeds from eyewear purchased from “The Collective” collection was given to Yale Haven Hospital’s COVID Relief Fund.
“ReFramed means reframing your visual perspective. Your glasses make your whole visual perspective – clear.”
The second collection, launched in October 2020, is the “While Black” collection. It was introduced to increase cultural awareness and knowledge of common stereotypes and issues faced within the Black community.
ReFramed by Nikki is an online-based eyewear business that also offers services such as virtual and in-person consultations. In-person consultations are offered for a ten-dollar fee per person. These consultations offer an opportunity to meet with Nikki or a brand ambassador to try on and purchase frames upfront (depending on availability). To ensure the utmost safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nikki and her team adhere to CDC guidelines when meeting in-person. Group consultations require a minimum of five people, with the host receiving their consultation free of charge.
Beginning in Spring 2021, ReFramed by Nikki will offer a new service for clients outside of Connecticut who want to try on or purchase frames. This service will allow clients to select four eyewear styles of their choice and schedule a private Zoom consultation with Nikki or a brand ambassador. The brand will also be expanding to include eyewear for kids, readers and smaller frames for petite faces.
Click here to visit the ReFramed by Nikki website or find ReFramed by Nikki on Instagram or Facebook.
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