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The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

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Leilani’s Luxuries make candles with care

Leilani’s Luxuries is a candle-making company started by Nyla Johnson (12). With the help of her church, her friends — and most importantly — her family, Nyla’s business has flourished.
Nyla Johnson (12) displays her candles and contact information to spread the word about her business’s products. Johnson strives to create quality products for her customers by putting in multiple hours of work to perfect the scent and burn of her candles. (LEILANI’S LUXURIES//USED WITH PERMISSION)
Nyla Johnson (12) presents her candles to potential customers at a pop-up. With intricate packaging and long-lasting products, Johnson’s candles display her creativity and keen business sense. (LEILANI’S LUXURIES//USED WITH PERMISSION)

The smell of passionfruit filling the air, the smoke from the wick drifting past her, wax dripping from her fingertips: Nyla Johson (12) makes her first candle of the day. 

Bored at home with nothing else to do — and some inspiration from a friend — Johnson began her business, Leilani’s Luxuries. Although she was uneasy at first, she took the leap, and as she gained more support and more customers, the nerves she originally felt went away. 

“When she first [started her business], she was very nervous, but now she’s taking more risks and putting herself out there,” Tyus Davis (12) said. 

Now, Johnson has created Instagram and TikTok accounts, set up pop-up shops and even sold her product in boutiques, all to spread the word of her natural and handmade candles. As a senior, Johnson has a lot on her plate, yet she still manages all aspects of her business through hard work and dedication.

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“Being a high school student and putting your own time and effort into the product — people really take that into consideration,” Johnson said. 

She spends her days measuring wax, mixing scents and packaging orders. Large amounts of custom orders for bridal showers and sororities give Johnson freedom to experiment with fragrance and packaging. 

“[The candles] are extremely soothing,” Davis said. “I’m a sucker for packaging, and they fit my aesthetic,” 

Getting started was no easy task, but with the help of Life Prep Ministry, Johnson acquired a  business license and formed her business plan. A major contributing factor to Leilani’s Luxuries’ success is Johnson’s parents. Their support and contribution has allowed Johnson to maintain her schoolwork while running her business.  

“I was still learning [how to run a business] myself, but I still had to teach my parents [to make products] … because I needed someone to help me,” Johnson said. 

For Johnson, the hardest parts of running a business are staying positive and overcoming lulls where she does not feel like working. While making a candle can be a relaxing process, strict deadlines and tough orders still put Johnson under large amounts of stress. 

“When you first start [a business], you never know how things are going to turn out,” Jade Williams (12) said. “Some people stop selling really quickly because they don’t know how to maintain [their business] … but [Johnson] knows the responsibility she has, and she takes advantage of her [opportunities].”

Johnson’s friends remain her strongest support system, always helping her through any rough patches of business. Whether by reposting her products on social media, telling friends and family about her business or simply by encouraging her, Johnson’s friends motivate her to strive for success. 

“[My friends] make sure I keep my head in the game, stay focused … and keep my confidence up,” Johnson said.

 The joy and opportunities to connect with the community that Leilani’s Luxuries gives Johnson is one of her favorite parts of owning her business. She enjoys the liberty to take her business where she wants and create products freely to express her creativity. 

“The final product is the best part,” Johnson said. “Once I smell [the candle], I’m like, ‘I made that,’ and it’s really good.”

Although she is unsure of future plans for Leilani’s Luxuries, Johnson hopes for her business to only prosper from where it is now. For anyone aiming to start their own business, Leilani’s Luxuries shows that all one needs is confidence and a goal, because just one stroke of luck can turn a dream into reality. 

“All it takes is that one customer, that one video to do well, and it can change the whole trajectory of your business,” Davis said.  “You just have to stay confident and consistent.” 

This story was originally published on The Scroll on January 30, 2023.