An Unplanned Pregnancy Inspired This SHEeo To Birth A Poppin' Candle Company

Sparked by a desire to create a life she loved, Posh Candle Co.'s Tay Watts has done that and then some.

Meet The SHEeo

With the rise of more and more black women breaking away from traditional 9-5s to become their own bosses, the CEO is getting a revamp as the SHEeo. CEOs are forging their own paths, blazing their own trails, and turning their passion into a profit. Curious to know how she does it? In the Meet The SHEeo series, we talk to melanated mavens leveling up and glowing up, all while redefining what it means to be a boss.

Since childhood, Tay Watts had a love for candles, and even took up candle making as a hobby in later years. So when a trip to Target failed to result in finding inspiring candles to purchase, Watts decided to start a candle brand of her own— except this one would cater to women who were the boss of their lives. Her motivational Boss Lady candles were the first to hit the market and the scented soy candles were a hit, thanks in part to the featured messages inspiring women to be their authentic selves through catchy phrases and statements that encourage a positive mindset and promote self-love. With notable features in BuzzFeed, Revolt, Voyage LA, and xoNecole, and brand collaborations with Facebook, Shopify, and the American Cancer Society, Posh Candle Co. is fulfilling its mission of helping women to stay lit.

In this week's feature, meet Tay Watts of Posh Candle Co.

Courtesy of Tay Watts/Posh Candle Co.

The Stats

Title: Founder & CEO of Posh Candle Co.

Location: Los Angeles

Year Founded: 2016

# of Employee(s): 1

30-Second Pitch: Posh Candle Co. is a one-woman-owned small business built from the ground up on my passion for craft, design, entrepreneurship and desire to create a life I love. My mission is to inspire women to be their authentic selves by using catchy phrases and statements that encourage a positive mindset, promote self-love, spark laughter and offer an on-trend approach to the relaxing flicker of a candle flame. The result is a collection, handcrafted with 100% soy wax, hand-poured in small batches using the best fragrance and popping colors, that is carefree, fun and edgy.

The Details

What inspired you to start your brand? 

Since childhood, I've loved candles and took up candle making as a hobby in later years. With a little pressure from an unplanned pregnancy and inspiration from not finding candles I liked while shopping, I decided I would start a candle brand that was unlike anything you would find in retail stores.

What was your a-ha moment that brought your idea into reality? 

The a-ha moment was standing in the middle of the candle aisle in Target for the second day in a row and failing to find a candle I felt compelled to purchase. I began thinking about the moments that I decide to light up a candle and how much I love having words of encouragement around me. That day I went home and drew up plans for my first four scents which included our Boss Lady candle; a fragrant tribute to women being the boss of their lives.

Who is your ideal customer?

My ideal customer is a woman who loves candles but can rarely find candles that are exciting. She's looking for candles that are not only treats for herself but candles that people would love to receive as thoughtful gifts.

What makes your business different? 

We're not just a candle company but we sell other items like incense, smudges and palo santo. Our branding and marketing is also unlike what you typically see with candle companies. I'm not scared to play around with ideas and I infuse a lot of my own personality into the process.

What obstacles did you have to overcome while launching and growing your brand?  How were you able to overcome them? 

As a solopreneur, there's challenges when you're navigating new experiences or even handling large orders so I'm diligent about planning and time management to make sure I can complete whatever comes my way. This year, my biggest obstacle has been scaling and bringing people onboard. xoNecole ElevateHer Crawl has provided the perfect opportunity for me to step outside of my fear of hiring by bringing on event assistants.

"As a solopreneur, there's challenges when you're navigating new experiences or even handling large orders so I'm diligent about planning and time management to make sure I can complete whatever comes my way."

What was the defining moment in your entrepreneurial journey? 

The defining moment in my entrepreneurial journey was feedback I received from a customer. She said, "If you ever feel like quitting, I want you to remember how your candles taught me how to love myself again and I want you to think about me gifting your candles to my friend who was just diagnosed with cancer. They give her hope." That moment not only helped me realize the potential of Posh Candle Co., but it is something I continue to keep in mind when it gets tough to help keep me going.

Where do you see your company in 5-10 years? 

I see Posh Candle Co. with a headquarters, several employees and shipping all over the world. I want Posh Candle Co. fully systematized so it runs without me and I see us competing with larger brands in the industry.

Where have you seen the biggest return on investment? (i.e. marketing, ads, vending, social media)

Vending has helped tremendously when it comes to building relationships with customers, develop sales skills and network. I've also learned that face-to-face communication builds the most memorable brand awareness and community.

"Vending has helped tremendously when it comes to building relationships with customers, develop sales skills and network."

Do you have a mentor? If so, who? 

I don't have a designated mentor, but I do have a community of badass boss women at various stages of business who have my back and whose support and motivation are overflowing. It doesn't matter if I'm celebrating a win or discussing a difficult time, I'm supported by so many women.

Biggest lesson you’ve learned in business? 

All money is not good money. Take time away from your excitement about working with people to make sure your business is protected. There are times where I've pulled back from working with people who could have brought my business growth but because they didn't want to sign a contract for the arrangement, that was a huge red flag for me. I'm okay with passing up opportunities just for peace of mind and I always operate in faith that something bigger and better is coming my way.

"I'm okay with passing up opportunities just for peace of mind and I always operate in faith that something bigger and better is coming my way."

Anything else you would like for people to know, or take away from your entrepreneurial story? 

If there's anything I would like for you to take away from my story is that you're capable of so much more than you think. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and apply every lesson you've learned from your perceived failures. How we start is not how we end.

For more of Tay and her candles, follow her on Instagram. And shop her candles on her website: Posh Candle Co.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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