In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Women in Retail Leadership Circle Digital Content Director Kristina Stidham interviews Teri Johnson, founder and owner of The Harlem Candle Co., a luxury home fragrance brand specializing in scented candles inspired by the richness of Harlem. Listen in as Johnson discusses The Harlem Candle Co.’s products (0:50), how there is a story behind each scent, and her inspiration for launching the brand in 2014 after years of working as a travel and lifestyle expert (3:17). She shares how she overcame the many obstacles she faced while bootstrapping the business (7:09), the changes she’s seen in her customer base in the past year (11:52), and why being an American-made, direct-to-consumer online business was essential (15:58).

Johnson explains the research and creative process behind each new fragrance (17:57), and how her Harlem Cocktail Glass Collection is an attractive luxury item for sustainably minded consumers. She discusses The Harlem Candle Co.’s recent participation in Facebook and Instagram’s #BuyBlack Shop Collections during Black History Month (22:53), and why it’s important for these social platforms to spotlight Black-owned small businesses. Lastly, Johnson shares her goals for 2021 and beyond at The Harlem Candle Co. (25:04).

Teri Johnson is an entrepreneur and adventurer who brings her experience to life through storytelling and luxury products. A life-long traveler, Teri has visited nearly 70 countries, learning about the rich cultures of the world while working as a travel and lifestyle expert for various television and digital platforms. During her travels, Teri experienced an array of different scents and developed a passion and obsession for beautiful and evocative fragrances that have the power to transport you to a different time and place.

This sparked an idea to create a luxury home fragrance company inspired by her neighborhood of Harlem, specifically during the Harlem Renaissance period. She founded The Harlem Candle Co. in 2014, and now has 13 exquisite fragrances in the collection. Teri’s work with some of the world’s most innovative perfumers has helped her grow the brand’s popularity on an international level and has led to the brand’s launch in over 30 stores across the country. Find The Harlem Candle Co. on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Date: March 9, 2021

Credits: Teri Johnson

Duration: 27:39