I like to buy candles like I like to buy lattes—every day, at any cost, to feel better. I want pastel pillars glowing by my side as I hunch over Zoom, and tiny tea lights lining my bathtub. I want candles that I light exclusively to read novels, and scents that match my skin-care routine. If I could, I would have little brown packages arriving ’round the clock to help light my way through this sad, anxious time. The urge to set things on fire has never been stronger—but neither has the desire to make home a warm, beautiful place.
It’s a tricky age for those of us who like to shop online. Pandemic-induced purchases can be a sort of dopamine blackout, so my solution is to try to limit myself to outstanding books and candles. They’re little luxuries, minor expenses with a major lifestyle impact. I buy them from companies that reflect my values—if I’m going to spend money it might as well support creators who I believe in. And it’s incredibly easy to buy candles from independent, Black-women-owned businesses.
We’re living through something of a candle renaissance—factory-made wax lumps with soapy smells are out, hand-poured, vegan, eco-conscious, ethical candles are in. They’re not pretentious; they’re just well-made. Compare candles from some major corporations, to, say, Bright Black, a five-year-old family candle business that aims to “pay tribute to Black greatness” with each candle. Or the “Wash Day” candle from millennial women founders at Cavo who use biodegradable packing peanuts and create Spotify playlists to go with each creation.
It’s the age of giving yourself little treats, and those treats can easily support a great business. Your plans may have gone up in smoke, and your life may be melting down—but get yourself a really good candle and see if things don’t improve.
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