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Meet Sukie Jefferson of Sukie’s Candle Co.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sukie Jefferson.

Sukie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am Seattle born & bred. The proud daughter two Waldorf School educators. My mother being from Switzerland and father from KC Missouri, I was always encouraged from a young age to explore the world. We grew up as arts kids, climbing trees, dancing, while drums and old school Heavy D records played throughout the house. My desire to see the world began with the five years I spent in Atlanta, making the legendary Spelman College my home. I double majored in Sociology and Anthropology while completing a minor in Public Health from Morehouse College. Spelman was also the place I was birthed fully in to the depths of my womanhood.

My interest in cultural anthropology and global health led me to study Western and traditional Brazilian health practices in Brazil while researching environmental justice issues in the local favelas. One year later, I moved to Mwanza, Tanzania where I spent a summer evaluating a rural micro-finance program that brought reproductive and sexual health services to marginalized women and adolescent girls.

In addition to a few more stops through Europe and time spent in one of my most treasured places, Jamaica, I eventually settled in Los Angeles. Within a few years found myself living a 9-5 life that in many ways felt foreign to the nature of my free spirit. Late nights coming home from work I found myself feeling a need to recall and re-live my travels- escape to a foreign land. Through meditation, I became inspired to channel the essence of all of my global travels in to a product that would evoke those memories for me. Scent and aroma, as we know, are one of the most powerful conduits of memory. So in my kitchen, in my studio apartment in LA, feeling nostalgic for exotic places and feeling a need for aliveness is really where my journey with candles began.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
In the beginning, many of the challenges came with juggling a full-time job then coming home to practice my craft as a candlemaker. Often pouring, curing and fixing candles deep into the night. After a year of attempting one method of production and seeing inconsistent results, I felt like giving up. Without investors or startup capital, I had to practice a great deal of patience in growing my business as it was something I had to fund independently. I’m self-taught so also had, in the beginning, lots of mistakes and self-correction to learn via trial and error. Perhaps though the largest challenge, in the beginning, was sifting out the wide variety of opinions others had about how best I could and should get started.

So many people got excited about what I was creating and thus had strong ideas about scent types, candle shapes, colors, etc. It was vital for me to block that out and channel my inner vision, brand identity and to hold my own ideas close to heart. To trust the process and despite the early failures, just stick with it. Even if that meant giving up for 4-6 months then coming back to it. Over time it became my baby, one that I would on many days spend my last dime to support. And after seeing consecutive growth for the past two years, it’s clear the “tunnel vision”, discipline and focus is paying off. The worst thing I could have ever done for my business is give up. I’m not in this for profit, I do it because I love it and would be a candlemaker even if no one was looking. But with my recent feature in Vogue UK, apparently a few people have caught on

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I never intended for this to be a business. In many ways it stumbled upon me and grew on its own. It began as a passion project, late nights in my kitchen, as a way for me to create peaceful warm vibes in my home, a way to be carried away to another place via scent and aroma.

Over the course of 2 years in my kitchen after work, I slowly began teaching myself the craft of candlemaking. Without attending workshops, seminars or training as an apprentice, I opted to dive in and see what I could learn on my own. I enjoyed making things with my hands. I enjoyed recovering from my mistakes. I felt pride in creating something handmade. I took pride in having a unique skill that I obsessed over in my time off. I studied a variety of techniques, played around with different waxes, colors, essential oils and varieties of wicks. I filled books with notes of equations and test outcomes. I was in constant production and experimentation mode at home. A little candle scientist. I felt so much joy in what I was creating, even when no one was watching.

Often passing out samples to friends and co-workers, I eventually began working towards creating a “perfect burn” candle- one that emits strong fragrance while burning evenly every time with no wax residue. The clear glass container I poured my candles in, and still do to this day, hold me accountable to creating consistently good products because all of your errors (i.e. wet spots, tunneling etc) are immediately visible.

The product themselves are premium and exotically scented, hand-poured soy candles. I take pride in sourcing rare and memorable scents. My collections are uniquely distinguished and exotically crafted, yielding an eco-friendly 40+ hour burn time.

My candles have been mindfully sourced using 100% pure soy raw wax, derived domestically from American farmers. I always use lead & zinc free cotton wicks with phthalate-free fragrances. Infused with natural essential oils, each candle is petroleum-free and individually hand-poured in re-usable glass containers.

My relationship with and perception about candles has always been unique. Candles for me are a vehicle by which we can come to know deeper levels of relaxation, and sensuality. I love the romance in candles. How they soften a room. How they hopefully soften people too.

Due to my small batch production style, I am able to craft and pour each candle with a meditative mindfulness. I am conscious of each person and I hold them in my thoughts as I create and fill their orders.

In addition to crafting rare, strong scented non-toxic candles, the distinction of what I make in many ways comes down to my company’s philosophy. I believe in the power of candles to subtly shift our environments, thereby shifting inner consciousness. My candles are an invitation to create soft atmospheric environments that promote peace, sensuality, & deep relaxation. As a company, I acknowledge how hard people are working these days, how fast the world is moving and how hectic it can become to slow down and relax into stillness.

With these candles, I hope to beckon our customers back into the softer, feminine, sensual and gentle side of life. I invite you to get lost in the sultry, intoxicating and exotically rich aromas. Cast spells of love, protection, and bliss. Find the divine in the simple. From my hearts to yours, I sacredly pour these high intentions into each of my candles. And this key ingredient can indeed never be replicated.

What were you like growing up?
I am the child of artists. The daughter of a poet, funk band musician, and educators. The daughter of a Swiss nurse and traveling hippies. A rich tapestry of global exploration, individuality and the endless pursuit of self-realization has been woven into the fabric of my identity. I was born from love. Born to play outside, and get lost in nature. Tap into that which is unseen. Taught to believe in magic and mystical beings. I was encouraged to daydream and manifest my life’s journey just as an artist unfolds color on to a blank canvas. My candles are an important expression of my history, my time traveling the world, my beliefs and my innermost creativities.

Pricing:

  • $19.00 per candle (not including shipping)

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Sam Chow

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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