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.
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.
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.