Today we’d like to introduce you to Darian Cook.
Darian, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I began my business 12th & ViV after my love of candles turned into an obsession. My cabinets started to become filled with candles, from Dollar Tree to TJ Maxx. After a while, it became an expensive habit, but since I loved the way candles made my home feel, I tried my hand at making them myself. It took a lot of trial and error. My first batches either had no smell or burned terribly.
Once I mastered candle making, I stumbled across a body butter recipe on Pinterest, and from there I borrowed my mom’s Kitchen mixer and set up shop in my kitchen. After I had my launch party, I became pregnant with my daughter, and my mom jumped in and asked if I could teach her how to make everything, from there she was able to help me with my orders and pop-ups. And I’ve been so grateful for her ever since.
After many successful pop-ups, and selling products to our customers, co-workers and friends, we were approached by someone curating a department store like pop up in the heart of Downtown Detroit, and it was our first time experiencing a brick and mortar. It really helped us to expand our audience and meet new people who are now so loyal and love our product. We are now in the Detroit Foundation Hotel as well as The Ten Nail Bar Detroit. We have broadened our catalog to room and body sprays, exfoliating body polish, natural soaps, beard balm, carpet freshener and are also regularly booking our PYOC (pour your own candle) classes that are so fun and very lucrative as well.
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?
It has not been an easy road. Number one, I’m a mom of an almost-three-year-old, and kids do not care how many orders you have to fulfill or what event you have, they want your full attention at all times, and it’s just a process trying to find a balance. Also, perfecting your product and making sure that it’s consistent each time is not always easy and you have to be very careful, especially with skincare.
Building a following on social media was also rough at first because it’s so important nowadays with your marketing. You can have a great product but if it’s not marketed properly, you can remain at a standstill. And also being a mother-daughter duo sounds great, but there are times where I’m sure I drive my mom insane and vice versa. But I’m so grateful for her help, her skills, and especially when it comes to the business side of things, I’m always happy to have her as the brains of my company. I just have to do better at not overworking her since I still work full time and have a toddler.
12th & ViV – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are a luxury skincare and candle company. We specialize in clean products with a luxe feel. We make:
Whipped Body Butter
Exfoliating Body Polish
Foaming Hand Soap
Oatmeal and Goat milk bar soap
Room and Body spray
Dream Balm (calming sleep enhancer)
Stress relief and hangover relief roller balls just to name a few.
We are especially known for our candles because they have an extremely long burn time with an amazing hot and cold throw, and our whipped body butter which feel and smell amazing, and uses seven organic oils that keep your skin feeling hydrated. We set ourselves apart from others by the look and feel of our packaging but still getting an amazing natural product. I am most proud that my small business made it in British Vogue magazine THREE times this year. That was the highlight of my year and made all the struggle worth it!
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Being in British Vogue made me cry real tears. To even be noticed by such a publication took my breathe away. Of course, being noticed by any publication makes me happy. We were blessed to be featured in BLAC Detroit Magazine, The Michigan Chronicle and most recently ESSENCE Magazine online. This year I was honored to be one of the Top 30 Millennial to watch at the Millennial Empowerment Expo, one of Femology Detroit’s Top 50 Female Founders, and lastly, working with the Rhonda Walker Foundation to visit elementary and middle schools to teach young girls about business and also taught them how to pour candles. That experience was something ill never forget and was very personal for me because i lacked direction in my early 20’s, and to now be able to help young girls and tell my story is something I want to continue doing for the rest of my career.
- Luxury Soy Candle- $25
- Whipped Body Butter- $18-25
- Air/Body Essence- $15-20
- Exfoliating Body Polish-$25
- Beard Balm- $15
- Hand Soap- $7.50
- Carpet Essence- $10
- Website: 12thandviv.com
- Phone: 248-506-2898
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @12thandviv
- Facebook: 12th & ViV
LC Andrews, Tambari W., Isabella Jai