Today we’d like to introduce you to Myeshia Brown.
Myeshia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I always knew that I would own my own business. I thought that it would be in the healthcare arena seeing as though I had earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Healthcare Administration and later, a Master of Business Administration to further my healthcare management career. However, God had a different plan and honestly, looking back, I see why He directed me to the path that He did and I’m so glad that I was obedient.
My company, Avant-garde Home, came to me in early 2014 one Friday night after a long work week. I came home from work, cleaned my apartment, took a nice hot shower, lit my candles, put on some comfy pj’s and snuggled on my sofa. While lounging, I started thinking about my vision list that I had created for the New Year and some of the things that I had already accomplished. I then thought about one of the major goals that I wrote which was, “start my own business”, and realized that I hadn’t made much progress in that area.
At that moment, I said a prayer…”God, what is it that you want me to do? I know I have this drive to own my own business but nothing that I am thinking of is working or coming to fruition. Tell me what you want me to do?” After I prayed that prayer, I looked up and around my apartment and God said “candles”. It was clear, I wasn’t dreaming, and I knew it was Him but my response was “No, you’re going to have to give me something else Lord! I don’t know anything about candles!” I love candles, must have them in my home, and will spend tons of money on a fragrance that I love but making them wasn’t my thing. So, “No” was my final answer to God… or so I thought!
Fast forward to about a week or two later and I asked the question again and God gave me the same answer. This time, I felt in my spirit that it was final. Like a parent telling a child something for the last time before a consequence comes. I felt that if I didn’t listen and be obedient to what God was calling me to do, that I would regret it and also that everything that God had for me and my future was tied into this calling. At that point, I said “okay” and began researching the candle market. After I researched, I bought a candle making kit and began teaching myself how to make candles. I originally thought that my candle line would be simple and pretty average but again, God always has better plans.
After all of my testing and research, my candle line developed into a luxury line with high quality soy-blend natural wax, a blend of pure essential oils with the top of the line fragrance oils, and a wood crackling wick. After 20 months, I was able to launch my company on January 15, 2016. I thought that candles would be the only product that I would release but I was lead to also add fragrance oils for oil burners and later, my own pillow cover collection. My company has grown from being a just a candle company to a home decor company that will eventually have a full home décor accessory product line.
I mentioned earlier that looking back, I can see why God directed me to crafts and home decor design as a business. The truth is, I have always been creative. When I was younger I would draw, paint (still do in my spare time), designed clothing, make earrings, and I even competed in the NAACP ACT-SO competition my junior year in high school in the sculpture category. In addition to being creative, I absolutely love beautiful and unique home decor. This is primarily because my mother was always creating beautiful spaces in our home so I grew up loving and appreciating a beautifully decorated home. Because of this, I can see why God brought me right back to creating and using my gift to bring joy to others. I know that joy is exactly what I feel when I receive an email, message, or comment about how my customers love my products.
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?
I have seen many meme’s on social media describing the journey of entrepreneurship. Twists and turns… highs and lows. Days of excitement and days of frustration. I can honestly say that all of this is true! There were days that I wanted to give up but then I get right back to business because I know that whatever it is at the time that is causing the twist, low, and frustration is only a bump in the road.
When you’re a small business and sole proprietor, everything falls on you. You pretty much have to be everything for your business and I didn’t think about this in detail before launching. My primary focus was developing a great product and making sure the business (the numbers) added up. This doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t have launched had I known I’d wear 50 hats, but maybe I could’ve planned better in the beginning. One area that has been a bump for me has been marketing and PR.
I had no experience in marketing before launching Avant-garde Home and we all know that marketing, along with having a great product, is how a company succeeds and stays around for decades. I’m still not a marketing expert BUT I have learned a bit and come along way with utilizing social media, email blasts, and improving photography. IU have also started to step outside of my comfort zone to interact with other entrepreneurs to build a support network. I hope to soon hire a PR/marketing firm to help me expand the brand of the company and myself on a larger scale because I now know that people really love to see who is behind the product brand.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Avant-garde Home – what should we know?
Avant-garde Home is a luxury home fragrance and home decor company that provides a line of wood-wick candles, home perfume oils for oil warmers, and various pillow covers made from cotton, faux fur, and faux leather.
All Avant-garde Home candles are hand wicked and poured and so are the home perfume oils. The pillow covers are designed by me and every Avant-garde Home product is an expression of the things I love, my beliefs, and how I choose to live my life. I love the fact that my products are made by hand and are my exact vision. I feel with every sale, that my customers are receiving a piece of my gift and that makes me proud and sets my products apart from the others.
In addition to that, I love the fact that my candles are unique to the luxury market of candles seeing as though most high-end luxury brands use a cotton wick. I wanted to make sure that my company stayed true to the definition of “Avant-garde” by adding wood-crackling wicks in the luxury market.
Although I have only been in business for a little over 2 years, I have accomplished so much and I’m excited about the future of my business. I plan to design my own home decor pieces such as paintings, mirrors, and small decor items in the near future. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication but with God, all things are possible! I know Avant-garde Home is a brand that will outlive me and be a part of my family for generations to come. This is only the beginning.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I believe that having great customer service is important to the success of my company, Avant-garde Home. If a customer sends a message, for whatever reason, I like to respond the same day or no later than the next. I treat each customer as if they are the most important part of my business because they are. I wouldn’t be able to grow my business without them.
Another quality that I believe is important to my success is the fact that I have created a great line of products. It means nothing if I have great customer service but my product sucks! I’m very hands-on with my business and I take the time to do quality checks on each finished product before it’s shelved for stock. I also test new fragrances and I develop testing groups to ensure that my products are not just something that I love, but also something that will appeal to my niche market.
These two things in addition to continuing to being a student of my craft is what’s important to my success.
- Lux Candles (12 oz) – $27
- Lux Mini Tin Candles (4 oz) – $12.50
- Home Perfume Oils (2 oz) – $13.50
- Website: www.Avant-gardeHome.com
- Email: CustomerCare@Avant-gardeHome.com
- Instagram: www.Instagram.com/Avantgarde_Home
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/AvantgardeHoneLLC
- Other: www.Instagram.com/MyeshiaB_
Christin Shoots People