We had the good fortune of connecting with Neosha Franklin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Neosha, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My thought process for starting Serene Nights Candle Co. originally started with my husband in mind. He loves candles. So I thought, instead of buying more of them, I would create candles of my own that not only look great but are also more eco-friendly. Something that once started as just a hobby, making candles for my husband turned into a business. I began to think long term in what I wanted for myself, family and those around me. I wanted freedom, reclaiming my time. I wanted to leave a legacy, creating generational wealth for my girls. Also, I didn’t want to just create any candle brand. I wanted my candles to trigger conversations by the look and smell. My mind went crazy and I just began creating candles and somewhat of a plan.
The reality is life happens. I thought of different parts of my life from being a teen mom, college student, daughter, friend, to now married with a family. Life changes can cause one to lose who they are. During every stage, I would burn candles. Candles can be so therapeutic, helping create an ambiance that can change your mood instantly, so I went to work with that. I wanted to create candles that enhance vibrate living, relaxation, inspiration, motivation and fun. Creating a candle experience that my tribe isn’t getting anywhere else. I wanted each of my supporters who purchased a candle to not only love their experience but for it to trigger an emotion whether it be to uplift, relax, comfort or bring them happiness.
For me, the thought process came a little different than most. I think as a mom who doesn’t like to miss out on milestones with my girls, I wanted my business to allow freedom to raise my girls the way in which my husband and I see fit. The best part of it all is that I get to now make candles with my husband and our three daughters.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
As a African American woman, once teen mom, I’ve experienced a lot of backlash and criticism for having a baby at sixteen. If we’re being honest, I’m supposed to be a statistic. During a time when everyone else would have counted me out, I had to bet on myself. I can truly say that I create a candle brand that I’m very proud of.
Instead of making excuses, I created opportunities for myself. Though the initial idea was to launch and run my candle brand through my website www.serenenightscandleco.com, I began to think bigger. Being born and raised in Louisville, Ky has its advantages. We’re the home of the great Muhammad Ali and the Kentucky Derby. Toward the beginning of 2020 I had the idea to start wholesale and partnerships within the city which became a pivotal part in my business. I wanted to show that I can push my creativity within those environments and reach the masses. On average, the derby museum can withstand roughly 150k people and I was determined to have my candles in front of them. After research and reaching out, I had secured one of the biggest locations in the city.
I pride myself on building solid connections and providing amazing candles to every location. I found it super easy to speak about my brand because of my passion for it. Every candle is hand crafted by myself, meaning no two candles are identical. I start by using natural soy wax—my personal blend, cotton wicks, essential safe oils allowing for a clean, slow burning candle. When purchasing a candle or wax melt, know that the hand written affirmations, labels and crafting of the candle is all created by myself.
When I look at how far I’ve come and all the challenges I’ve overcome, I’ll still gladly choose this journey: I used to think back at how much I disliked working on the clock, just to be working 12+ hours or more a day. Everyone use the term entrepreneur so loosely nowadays that sometimes they leave out the not so good looking parts. There’s days you’ll make a lot of money and days you may just break even, but as long as you don’t break in the process there’s still time to learn and grow.
I’ve learned that you can never know too much. Study your field of expertise. Learn the market and your competition. Learn your target audience and how to read your analytics. When you become the smartest person in the room, you need to get in a new room. The hardest part about the entrepreneur journey is that they will be lonely days and sometimes you feel all alone but that’s apart of the journey. In those moments push harder for your goals and come out on top.
I want the world to know that I worked hard to be where I am. I’m unapologetically me, building a legacy for my daughters so when they get older they can see someone who looks like them as a CEO & Owner of a worldwide candle brand!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
To start off your trip in the Ville, I would suggest getting cute and comfy for a nice walk downtown by the waterfront. After a walk you must be hungry right? It’s only right to try some local food. It’s so many restaurants to choose from so I’ll just name a few. If you love bbq, you’d love Back Deck BBQ. If you’re not quite feeling bbq, there’s taco city, they have great tacos and the frozen margaritas will have you feeling just right. Next door is an amazing Italian restaurant—one of my favs, that make everything fresh. It’s called ROC, you’d have to make reservations but it’s truly amazing.
For the nightlife, you can party on Bardstown road, bar hopping. If you’re wanting more of an urban feel, head on down to Virtue, a nice ambiance for adult game nights, drink, music and fun! For those who aren’t really into the club and party scene, there are poetry events held in the city that will surely be a hit. They’re called Lipstick Wars. Women from different ages and backgrounds grace the stage performing amazing poetry. You’ll learn, laugh, and network all in one location.
As a mom, I have to think about the kiddos as well. Round the family up and take the kids to Kentucky Kindgom a local theme park to enjoy roller coaster and water park. We also have the Kentucky Science Center, Speed Art Museum – locations where you can also find my candle brand and so much more. For the shopper in you, take a stroll through the Nulu area and stop buy Woman Owned Wallet- the pink store. Everything you purchase in the store was created by a woman. The owner Amanda is really amazing and her staff is wonderful. Lastly, we have really great murals throughout the city, so be sure to snap it up at a few of them.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to recognize my husband Desmond, who has been there every step of the way. He may not always understand my wild visions but he’s there for journey supporting and cheering me on. To our three daughter Zerahiah, Sarai and Mahogany, they give me purpose and drive. Each one cheering me on and helping whenever needed. They are the most loving, yet most forgiving during the times I’m super busy creating. To my mom Diana, she is literally a superhero to me. As a single mom, she gave us everything we needed without complaining. She never quit on me. From teaching me how to be a mom to my oldest at sixteen until now, still showing the way. I owe everything to each of them. Without each of them, there will be no me.
Regardless of where my path of candle making leads me, I know that they’ll support me no matter what. Telling any and everyone about my company and how proud they are of me.
So this here is for you all!