By Lajeune Hollis
Some of the best ideas are born out of frustration. In 2015, Annie’s daughter, born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, was experiencing skin care issues due to multiple surgeries. Traditional products were not working, so Annie turned to her Jamaican roots and begin to concoct natural healing products to combat the breakouts her daughter was battling.
She went to work in the kitchen of her Bridgeport, Connecticut home, which would eventually lead to the launch of her new business, NaturalAnnie Essentials. When she ran out of room in the kitchen, she turned to the washroom and then the basement. But it wasn’t long until she outgrew the basement—giving her husband his “man cave” back—and set up shop in their garage.
By 2020, the NaturalAnnie Essentials body and skin care products had taken off to the point where she was able to secure a studio space in a Connecticut Avenue building. This passion project of Annie’s had now become a family affair with her husband, father, mother, sisters and children all working together to move the business forward.
What started out as a bath, body and skin care product line had grown into a lucrative candle business when Annie added soy candles to her offerings based on sheer demand from her regular customers. The beauty of it all? The tropical-inspired home fragrances were all made in-house.
NaturalAnnie Essentials is first and foremost a lifestyle brand so in 2021, Annie started a Sip and Pour candle making party—which has grown to be a signature in-demand event with a live DJ, appetizers and fun. Just like all other aspects of Annie’s ideas, her event offerings have grown to include Candle and Craft parties on Saturday afternoons for children and teens—parents can also participate! And for adults, Annie offers Game Nights, where the dance floor comes alive on select weekend nights with a live DJ, candle making, hookah bar and interactive games.
NaturalAnnie Essentials is truly to the answer to anyone who ever said, “There is nothing to do in Bridgeport.”
What started out as a bath, body and skin care product line had grown into a lucrative candle business when Annie added soy candles to her offerings based on sheer demand from her regular customers.
At all of her events, participants love that they are able to shop at the NaturalAnnie Essentials store, which is not just a retail candle shop—it’s also filled beautiful and original home décor products, t-shirts and mugs.
And today, NaturalAnnie Essentials products are found in over 600 stores throughout the United States in additional to offering products in an online store, where shipping is available nationwide.
Interested in renting Annie’s inspirational space? NaturalAnnie Essentials is available for birthday parties, Quinceaneras, baby showers, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, networking affairs, happy hours, photo shoots, corporate mixers, team building and more.
Find NaturalAnnie Essentials on social media @naturalannieessentials on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest or visit naturalannieessentials.com. NaturalAnnie Essentials is conveniently located on Connecticut Avenue in Bridgeport and offers free parking.
BROWSE THE SHOPBLACKCT DIRECTORY:
Lajeune Hollis is a Connecticut resident, media sales professional, local news junkie, daughter, sister, proud aunt and colon cancer survivor. She has spent the past 30+ years in the media industry and has written, produced and hosted mini-biographies (bio-line) for a gospel video show called Lifeline Gospel Videos on a Bridgeport, CT public access television station; written African American book reviews for a monthly urban newspaper, The Inner City Newspaper, in New Haven, CT; co-hosted an on-air book review (the L & L Book Review) on an urban contemporary radio station (WNHC AM 1340); hosted an African American monthly book club at Barnes and Noble bookstore in North Haven, CT; worked as a community radio announcer (Lovers Corner with Lajeune) at a New Haven area radio station (WYBC 94.3 FM); worked as a local ad sales manager for Umoja Newspaper in Bridgeport, CT; worked in radio advertising sales and management for a total of four Connecticut radio stations (WNHC AM 1340, WEBE 108FM, WICC 600 AM, and WYBC 94.3FM) and is currently working in local ad sales (television, digital, online, content marketing and social media) for News 8, a New Haven, CT based ABC TV affiliate. Lajeune also has her own website, LajeuneHollis.com and blog, The View from Lajeune.
Photos provided by NaturalAnnie Essentials