Many of us are constantly on the hunt for our next favourite scent. But as time went on and Kejina Robinson was searching for the perfect candle, she was constantly met with a barrier – none of them were BIPOC owned. So as many creative thinkers and action-takers do, she solved the problem by making a candle brand herself. Kejina founded BLK ROSE Candle, a candle brand that is not only BIPOC owned but also donates 15% of proceeds to BIPOC-led community initiatives.
For those who don’t know, can you describe what BLK ROSE Candle is?
BLK ROSE Candle is a candle brand that celebrates Black excellence through scents and stories. We make hand-poured, 100% soy wax candles with beautiful scents that fill a room and I hope to spark conversations about important issues.
That’s amazing work, what made you want to create 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 a year where I did a lot of reflection and wanted to make sure that brands and businesses I supported had values that aligned with mine. I wanted to find candles with a beautiful aesthetic and unique scents and it was really important that it was BIPOC owned.
I couldn’t quite find one that was all those things or that resonated with me and my partner kept on encouraging me to just create my own brand. And so after him telling me MANY times that I should just do it, I did.
Now tell us about your candles, what are the stories behind them and how are they made?
My purpose is about inspiring and amplifying and so I decided to name my candles after 3 inspirational Black women. I named the collection Blk is Beautiful because that is a phrase that so many people hear, but so many Black women don’t maybe believe or see in themselves so I wanted this collection to be a reminder to people everywhere that Black really is beautiful.
When I tell people the names of the candles, they are like “Oh, I’ve never heard of Toni Morrison” or whatever and that makes me so happy because it’s one more person who knows one more thing about Black History.
All 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 super supportive and plays a big support role in helping me make candles.
Can you touch on the importance of building brands that support BIPOC communities?
It’s so important! I think we all have a role to play in building a better future. So many BIPOC communities are marginalized and systemically oppressed so I think that if you are a brand that has been able to benefit from that system in some way – it’s our role to try to change those systems or support those who continue to be negatively impacted. Honestly, we can all do the smallest things that can create change and build a better world.
What are some tips you can give to other brands who want to be more purpose-driven?
I think just staying true to your purpose and not “selling out”. When I decided to name the collection BLK is BEAUTIFUL, I would often second guess myself thinking I may offend someone or make someone uncomfortable (white fragility is real!) but then I had to remind myself that if I truly believe in this, someone else will.
So I think just fully embracing your purpose and being authentic about it.
What were some roadblocks or challenges that you experienced while building BLK ROSE Candle? How did you overcome them?
Like many others just starting out – cash flow! There are so many things to pay for and consider when starting out, and they all cost money which of course is limited.
The biggest challenge has been around prioritizing and trying to do everything with limited resources. I’m not a serial entrepreneur, this is my first business so I’m learning every day and just try to see every setback as a learning opportunity.
What has been your proudest moment while creating BLK ROSE Candle?
Honestly, seeing strangers buy my candles and getting DM’s from people I don’t know telling me how much they love how our candles smell. BLK ROSE Candles are in a handful of local stores and that has been something I’m really proud of as well.
Do you have any exciting projects coming up?
We’re currently working on expanding the BLK IS BEAUTIFUL Collection to include another namesake and candle accessories like wick trimmers — we are also starting to play around with other fragrance-driven home goods like fragrance sprays and soaps.