They say that God works in mysterious ways—both in the face of our greatest losses and biggest wins. And while the road to uncovering the reason and ‘why’ behind such marvels may seem dim, what’s later relieved often lights the path to our purpose. And thus was the case for Brittney Winbush, founder of the breakout candle brand, Alexandra Winbush (AW).
Photo Cred: Mark C. (Mark Clemmons @mark.c)
After experiencing a house fire during college, much of what Brittney called home was unrecoverable. “I was like, why did this happen? Why did it happen in my room? Why was I the only person that lost something?” she tells xoNecole. As the aftermath of the fire brought on waves of anxiety and depression, Brittney began to reestablish a sense of stability back into her life through her sacred self-care trinity: music, tea, and candle making. “Now I have this routine. Now I'm tapped in, open, and happy to talk about my journey with anxiety and depression,” she says. “I found comfort in candles and tea and music, and I was able to build a business out of it.”
What came from the ashes was a brand that’s rooted in self-care and grounded by an ever-growing community that’s found a safe place to land during life’s toughest moments. “I always say that AW is for your bad days,” she shares. “Everybody's bad day isn't a house fire, but it could be a rough day at work, tension in your relationship, or what none of us saw coming: a global pandemic that puts you in the house for a year. I create products for those days.”
Photo Cred: Mark C. (Mark Clemmons @mark.c)
Supplying a product that allows her customers to take a load off, this wellness founder has found her sweet spot. Through her curated playlists, aromatic candle line, and teas, Brittney is proving that peace of mind and ease can be found in the small moments we make for ourselves. “The combination of escaping with scent, sitting down with a cup of tea, and enjoying whatever music I want in that moment, feels like the perfect three,” she says.
And as she embarks on a new chapter in life, having recently celebrated her 30th birthday, Brittney is confident that wherever it leads her, she can always return to the home within.
“I thought at 30, I needed to be somebody else. But now that I'm here, I'm happy with who I am,” she reflects. “I'm leaning into the newness of, ‘hey, I thought I needed to have it all figured out,’ but I don't — and that's actually exciting.”
“I'm excited to figure it out and be on this next part of my journey and see what the next decade brings for me.”
xoNecole: As someone who is in the business of self-care, how has your relationship with self-care evolved since starting your business and what does it look like for you today?
Brittney Winbush: Self-care is ever-changing for me. I always say the biggest form of self-care is listening to yourself. There's no one particular practice, although I do have the things that I always can go back to, on any given day, I might need something different. Some days I need to get on the phone with my mom and talk about whatever or nothing at all, other days I need to close my laptop and only do things that make me happy. I’ll go to yoga or the spa.
The best form was self-care is me being honest and listening to myself when I want to do nothing, ask for help, or be alone to pray. It's listening to those things and doing it.
Photo Cred: Skylar Marshai (@skylarmarshai)
xoN: In the age of social media, entrepreneurship can be so glamorized and highly curated. But what would you say is something that has been a challenge for you to adjust to on your journey, and what have you learned from it?
BW: As a small business in the digital age, really big things happen really fast. You could be having slow sales one day, and then the very next day, Issa Rae can post about your business and you can have the most amount of orders that you've ever had. Because you're a small business, and it's so insular, the moment eventually goes.
So take time to revel in those things that happen, because when other things come in, it'll just be a moment that passes. It's okay to sit in those moments and take them in because when you let them pass you might not be thinking about the lessons or the celebration part—but take in every moment, big and small.
“It's okay to sit in those moments and take them in because when you let them pass you might not be thinking about the lessons or the celebration part—but take in every moment, big and small.”
I’m literally in church talking to God asking Him to guide me in my business, take lead & just give me a push because I’ve been feeling off lately. I grab my phone to take notes from the sermon & see this notification from ISSA FREAKING RAE. pic.twitter.com/C9cC43rl5q— Brittney 🕯 (@voguebritt) August 18, 2019
xoN: Speaking of Issa Rae, back in 2019, you got a major shoutout from her highlighting your "September Sixth" candle. What did your now-viral moment teach you about the power of preparation?
BW: I think sometimes with a business, especially a small, Black business, and with the lack of capital that Black businesses have in the playing field, that we start at such a different place than a lot of other businesses. There's only so much you can prep for sometimes. There are certain things you don't know until it happens.
The best thing you can do is be prepared for flexibility. I feel like I held on to the moment as best as I could and got the orders out. But oh my gosh, that was like a hell of a time. I felt bad for my roommates, they couldn't walk through our apartment because orders were everywhere. I was shipping further than I ever had before. Candles are breaking in transit. Those are things I couldn't prepare for because you don’t know until you know. The most I could do was be prepared to be flexible, be prepared to learn, and then be prepared to be transparent along the journey.
Photo Cred: Mark C. (Mark Clemmons @mark.c)
xoN: You have such a solid, supportive group of friends in your circle. As a creative, how has your community played a role in the growth and trajectory of your business?
BW: Oh my gosh, it's everything. AW is nothing without our community. A part of that is my really close friend circle and the way that they've supported and helped me with this business every step of the way. From the very beginning, AW has been community-driven, and I think that stemmed from my own personal brand and community that I had before I launched AW. There was a community of people that already trusted me because before I had products I still talked about the house fire, my anxiety and depression, and things I was doing for myself—so they already trusted me.
Once we built AW, the community grew with people that were open to sharing bad days and good products.
xoN: One of the things I admire about your brand is that the aesthetic and design all feel like an extension of who you already are as a person. What tips do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to create a product or service that fits their passions and lifestyle?
BW: If what you're trying to do is a medium of self-expression and a part of the passion you have, then you have the biggest tool already there. Start with what you have. It's okay to put in the groundwork silently. It's okay if you even do it loudly, but no one's paying attention. But just start with the little things in whatever you have. And if you're building something out of love and passion and a reflection of you, it's going to attract the right people. You just have to put yourself out there and lean into your resources and your people.
"If you're building something out of love and passion and a reflection of you, it's going to attract the right people. You just have to put yourself out there and lean into your resources and your people."
There’s this Issa Rae quote where she talks about how sometimes people are trying to network up but you need to network laterally. There are people right next to you who are doing amazing things and are killing in their industry. Link up and create.
xoN: Overall, I think we’re all pretty excited about what’s to come from your brand. What can your supporters expect from Alexandra Winbush this year?
BW: You can expect to see us a lot more in public. We'll be celebrating our five-year anniversary in April, which I'm really excited about. We also have a brand new candle coming out in February. It's called “Plum Wine.” It's incredible. I'm obsessed with it. So expect new products throughout the year that we'll be putting out and we’ll have some in-person events so we can get back around each other and love on each other as a community.
Featured image by Mark C. (Mark Clemmons @mark.c)
Aley Arion is a writer and digital storyteller from the South, currently living in sunny Los Angeles. Her site, yagirlaley.com, serves as a digital diary to document personal essays, cultural commentary, and her insights into the Black Millennial experience. Follow her at @yagirlaley on all platforms!
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The Libra woman and Aries man are the divine feminine and divine masculine, coming together as one. The love compatibility between these two is one for the books. These two are opposite signs, however, their differences tend to complement each other well. This is a dynamic relationship where they know how to have a lot of fun together, but also aren’t afraid to deal with the more serious stuff that comes with a relationship.
The Libra woman is looking for her equal in love, someone who is willing to put in the same effort she is, and the Aries man sees Libra as someone he is willing to do that with.
The Love Compatibility Of A Libra Woman And An Aries Man
What attracts a Libra woman and an Aries man to each other?
There is a magnet of attraction pulling these two together, and things tend to move pretty fast in this relationship. The Libra woman is always open to love and her charming nature rarely has any challenges here. The Aries man fights for his independence and doesn’t sacrifice that unless he is completely enamored with someone.
Once the Aries man catches the eye of the Libra woman, he is typically the one to make the first move and this instantly wins the approval of Libra.
These two feel like they have known each other forever when they meet, and this spark between them doesn’t die down easily.
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What is the relationship like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The relationship between the Libra woman and the Aries man is one of balance and excitement. The Aries man tends to take on the more dominant role in this relationship and the Libra woman tends to be the more receptive one. Aries is ruled by masculine Mars, and Libra is ruled by feminine Venus. They understand they are coming from two completely different worlds, yet they also instinctively feel this underlying connection to each other and like they could be something each other needs in their lives.
The Libra woman can rely on the Aries man, and the Aries man never has to ask for the love that Libra already knows he needs.
This is a couple that is often reading each other’s minds and wanting to do a lot of the same things. However, not everything is rainbow in this relationship as well, and there are some major differences they have to overcome to make things work. One argument can lead to an explosion between these two, and addressing things when they come up rather than sweeping them under the rug, will be needed to make this relationship long-term.
What is the sex like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The sex between a Libra woman and an Aries man is adventurous. These are two cardinal signs with plenty of energy and stamina to keep things exciting in the bedroom. There tends to be a good give and take in this relationship, and their yin and yang energy benefits them when it comes to their sex life.
There is electricity felt between the two of them in this area of their life, and their power of attraction to each other is strong. These are two people who will want to do a lot of things together, including exploring sexually together.
The Aries man will have to be careful with being overly aggressive, however, as the soft Libra woman may not like this energy- it will completely depend on the two individuals at hand. The Libra woman wants to ease into things, the Aries man wants to get going right away. Learning about each other's bodies, and energy, and reading each other’s cues will help with this.
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What makes a relationship between a Libra woman and an Aries man work?
These two genuinely like each other, and that basis is a key factor for success in any relationship. The Aries man is straight to the point, direct, and inspired. The Libra woman admires these characteristics in others, as she is often herself finding her balance in this type of energy as well. Neither sign is overly emotional in a way that turns them off, and they both require a lot of the same things in a committed relationship. They want honesty, fun, good communication, passion, and to be moving towards a common goal together.
The Libra woman and Aries man don’t have a problem being real with each other and this is something they really value within the relationship. They are both very charming, and there is plenty of flirtation and attraction to keep this relationship going. Aries being the protector they are, Libra finds a sense of safety and ease in this energy, and like they have found their match. Overall, this is a well-balanced relationship and one where they don’t have a problem when it comes to compatibility or chemistry in the relationship.
What may cause a Libra woman and an Aries man to break up?
Libra is the lover, Aries is the fighter, and this energy may be tiring for the both of them after time. The Libra woman can be passive to a fault, and the Aries man who is not evolved, may take advantage of that. She will need to be careful with putting Aries’ needs above her own, creating resentment later down the road. The Aries man loves a challenge, and the Libra woman would be up for that game for a little bit, but if she is not being met in the middle, she will begin to look for other places. These two can have a difficult time keeping the peace in the relationship, and there could be a lot of arguments and disagreements here if they both aren’t willing to put their egos or self-pleasing attitudes to the side.
The Libra woman and Aries man are both more sensitive than they appear or come off as. They are also not necessarily the type to dive deep into their emotions and express them to others, even in their relationships. However, this energy can keep the relationship to a surface level than what is needed to progress and grow the relationship, and a sense of openness is required for this couple to work. Libra needs romance, she wants to be wowed. Aries needs to remember this and to always consider her love language.
Overall, this is a successful pairing. They will have their fair share of challenges in the relationship, but nothing they can’t overcome if they are willing to. The trouble will come in when it comes to the longevity of the relationship, keeping Aries excited and Libra in love. However, all in all, there is more power, attraction, and love to keep this relationship together rather than apart. No relationship is perfect, but this one is a little more blessed than most.
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