Today we’d like to introduce you to Malik Moss and Daneille Thomas.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Malik and Daneille. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
It started as a happy accident. Daneille (fiance and co-owner) used to burn candles that would give me a bad headache. We both enjoyed the calming effects and aesthetic of lighting candles, but I believe the synthetic fragrances would trigger my allergies and make it hard for me to enjoy them. As a solution, we started to make our own candles using natural products such as soy wax and phthalate-free fragrance oil. We quickly learned that we enjoyed making candles. It was fun and therapeutic after a long day of work and responsibilities.
One day, I suggested we write a message on one of the votives since at the time we were making them for fun and didn’t label them at the time. Daneille asked what I’d like to write. Flippantly, I suggested “Crack was introduced to the black community by the American government” (google: CIA crack cocaine). Although it was almost facetious at first, we liked the contrast of an important topic paired with something very relaxing like a candle. We posted the candle on our Instagram story and instantly got feedback from friends asking where to buy it from.
From there, we realized that this maybe be a new market for people and we decided to create a candle business. We began making small batches and found local vendor shows around the city to sell candles and get feedback. Our first show was BLCK Market Houston. We continued to get great feedback and purchases. A year and a half later we are now in a boutique store, hosted our first candle class and collaborated on a product bundle with a skincare brand. It has truly been an exciting journey up to this point.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Building a business has definitely come with growing pains and uncertainty. For one, Daneille and I are currently the only employees and still work full-time jobs. This is common with most start-up businesses and my job is actually on a rotating 24-hour schedule so my sleep schedule is constantly changing. Often times, Daneille and I have to work on the business separately due to scheduling so communication has become so essential between the two of us and trying to find balance with it all. Sometimes it feels like the work for Lonez Scents is never ending since we play so many different roles within our business. We’ve gone weeks without making time for friends or taking a day off from Lonez and we’ve realized that we function better when we have boundaries with the business as well.
Another struggle has honestly been our egos at certain times. If something goes wrong with Lonez Scents, we are literally the only people responsible for it. Taking accountability and actually making adjustments so that we can improve has been really humbling and a huge learning experience. We’ve done this in our romantic relationship but we almost had to learn to do it again in regards to being business partners. Sometimes you don’t want to admit that you were wrong or you want to place blame when that’s not a place where true growth comes from.
This is also the first time either of us have built a business. We are still learning marketing, accounting, taxes and constantly looking for ways to improve our candle and thoughtfully expand our brand. How can we improve our scents? Do we need to redesign our label? What is our voice through social media? With every day that passes, we are finding our stride, stumbling and finding that stride again.
Lonez Scents – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are a candle company founded by myself and my fiance Daneille. We specialize in hand-poured, natural candles with a range of seven scents, travel size, and large candles. We are most known for our ‘Conversation Candles’ which are candles that have quotes specific to issues going on in black and brown communities. I am most proud of this because it was an idea that came to life. We believe it is something unique that we haven’t seen in any other candle company: a marriage between something calming and something stirring. Some of the quotes speak on serious issues that deserve more conversation and burning the candle creates a calming environment to talk about these things. The fact that we have been able to create a product we enjoy and believe in is something we are truly thankful for and motivates us to keep going.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
It is hard to choose just one. I would say one of our proudest is moments is being carried in our first store. Our candles are available at a boutique clothing shop named Wonderlikewander downtown. Our next big accomplishment would be hosting our first ever candle class last month. We collaborated with Sharespace and hosted in front of 10 people instructing them how to make candles. They were both huge milestones for us that Daneille and I would constantly talk about and finally saw them actually happen.
- Purchase 3 Conversation Candles for $35 with code ‘TRIO’ on our website
- Also available individually for $15
- Website: lonezscents.com
- Phone: 8325546133
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lonezscents/?hl=en
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/lonezscents
@iamservante (took photo of Daneille and I on couch)