We had the good fortune of connecting with Cheree O’Dell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cheree, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’m a serial entrepreneur. I’ve been an independent hair dresser for 22 years. I started Cheree Spirit in 2017, which includes, alchemy sound bath meditations and sustainable tips to help reduce one’s personal carbon footprint. I wanted to created a company to one day have employees and sell sustainable products. I love candles, and honey, so it seemed logical to start researching beeswax candles. I have always had a passion for a cleaner and healthier earth and my companies reflect that. My new venture is formulating 100% pure beeswax candles that omit negative ions that work as a natural air purifier helping eliminate dust, pollen, mold, oder and toxins in the air. Our vision is to educate individuals on what is really sustainable and how to maintain equilibrium thus creating a harmonious earth and body. I have created Harmonious Collections to embody this.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I knew nothing about proper 100% pure beeswax, wick sizing, chemical free wicks specific to beeswax nor which sustainable vessels would be best to use. Starting off, I went online and bought beeswax, wicks, glass containers, watched a Youtube video and made 1 candle. Needless to say, this was ONLY the beginning. Here comes the deep dive of educating myself and hundreds of hours in trial and errors on my products. I was at a local farmers market and spoke with a young lady that just launched her candle company. She suggested I find a facebook group to give me more guidance. Through this avenue, I found a few Facebook groups that dealt specifically with beeswax. BINGO! I have now created 2 different free standing candles, a Fern Pillar and a Fern Ball. Majority of the feedback I received was, “What do I do with the container once the candle has been used up?” New Idea! To create a replaceable candle with a multipurpose, sustainable, and reusable container for the candle. I formulated a concrete mixture to create vessels as containers for the candles. This solved multiple issues, one being that you can purchase 1 container that matches your aesthetic and purchase multiple candles that can be used within the container. I loved this idea! Now starts the research on sustainable concrete, pigments, and sealants that are non-toxic when in contact with fire. I thoroughly enjoy the creative aspect: playing with different color schemes, layering techniques and patterns. Thus creating the Harmonious* Collections, encompassing different sub-collections based on color(s) and patterns, including: The Collection, Star Collection, Desert Collection, Dusk Collection, Holiday Collection, Sky Collection, Sun Collection and Forest Collection. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to respect the craft of working with beeswax. Starting with the bees, who have worked so hard to created the wax, to the beekeepers on how they tend and take care for the bees/hives, how to purchase ethically sourced and properly filtered wax, and the countless hours in educating myself to develop the most sustainable candles and containers. I would like the world to know what we inhale matters, it circulates through our lunges to create a healthy or unhealthy reaction throughout our body and mind. That’s why here at Harmonious Collections we only use non toxic ingredients, from 100% pure beeswax ethically sourced from beekeepers, and wicks with no chemicals. I’ve done the same with the containers from the concrete, pigments, sealant, varnish, crystals, copper/gold accent flakes, cork and glue all non toxic as well.
*”Harmonious: forming a pleasing or consistent whole.” defined by Oxford Language.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to thank my parents for raising me in the country with nature and teaching me the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling. I believe this were it all started for me. To my daughter, Callaway, for encouraging me to share with others all that I do around sustainability in my personal life. To Alexandra, for believing in me and recommending me for The Shoutout Series. And to everyone who has sampled and given me feedback, in developing these products. I could not have done any of this without you.