How Teri Johnson Tells The Story Of The Harlem Renaissance Through Her Candle Company

December 6, 2016  |  

Harlemite Teri Johnson loves New York City so much she wants to give everyone a little piece of Harlem. That’s why in 2014 she created a luxury candle business known as the Harlem Candle Company.

I’ve been a fragrance-obsessed consumer of luxury candles for many years,” Johnson told The Grio. In 2013, I decided to experiment with making my own candles using custom fragrances given to me by a friend who is a perfumer. My initial batch of 50 candles was such a hit among my friends and family that I decided to make more of them to sell at local artisan markets and pop up shops. Once I realized how positively my customers responded to the fragrances and the stories related to the names of the candles, I knew that the Harlem Candle Company had the potential to become a global brand.”

The candles are inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, and celebrate the lives of such jazz legends as Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and Josephine Baker, all of who performed in Harlem in their heyday. Johnson’s line also pays homage to iconic Harlem places such as the Savoy Ballroom and the legendary neighborhood of Sugar Hill.

“I tell stories of the Harlem Renaissance through my fragrances that are developed by a team of globally recognized perfumers who have worked with the likes of brands like Givenchy, Jo Malone and Estée Lauder,” she shared.

Johnson hopes to spark her own renaissance through her business, encouraging consumers to #buyblack this holiday season. “Now more than ever, small businesses are being created and run by people like me who are self starters, passionate and who have the experience and connections to create products that are perfectly suited for us. As a people, we love luxury goods. Scented candles are affordable luxuries that give our homes a level of exquisiteness and comfort that we desire. The Harlem Candle Co home fragrance collection is inspired, created and designed for us and by us,” she pointed out.

For her part in giving back, Johnson offers internships to local Harlem students where she teaches candle making and how to build a brand.

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