We had the good fortune of connecting with Janai Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Janai, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
To be honest, my parents were my biggest encouragement for starting my own business. Both my parents are small business owners and my mother maintains a full time career as an educator on top of her business. They stressed the importance of education and finding a job that I am passionate about, but also encouraged me to “go for it” if I decided to make something of my own. And because off their mental and emotional support, I decided that I don’t want to “have to” work for someone else for the rest of my life. I want it to be my choice. And the only way I see for me to have that option is to create something of my own. The other driving factor behind starting my business is I wanted to create something to leave behind to my legacy (my children) if they want it. Our legacy is the only thing that survives us as humans, and I want mine to be great!

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business is a candle company. But it is also so much more than just the candles themselves. Olfactare Candles uses our products to promote self-care and build awareness about the importance of self-care as a sustainable means to support good mental health habits. The term “Self-Care” just means that you are taking time to check in with yourself and be honest with yourself about how your are truly feeling in those moments of your life where you may feel forced to push through and ignore your own needs for the “greater good/big picture”. It can be so easy to put yourself and your needs on the back burner for the needs of others, or even in pursuing your own goals. But making Self-Care a priority means that you take time to give yourself that same compassion and consideration, first, that you give to others by doing things that remind you of your own humanity and that you are deserving of it. And I wanted to offer something that could provide a simple mental escape, even if you the only place you have to go is the room you in. My profession and background are rooted in mental healthcare and that is what drives me to want to help others explore healthy mental health habits, primarily self-care. And because of that, my business not only creates candles, but a lifestyle centered around prioritizing your own mental health first. I have learned first hand through my own struggles with depression and raising a family that self-care is not only a tool but a necessity. It wasn’t easy turning my passion of helping others into the business I am building today, and has taken a lot of leaps of faith and and sacrifice. But I know that it will be worth it. And as I continue to grow my brand, my desire is that the awareness of how important self-care is to also grow. Because everyone deserves self-care, no matter where they are in life.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There are so many great places in the greater Houston area, it’s hard to narrow it down to a few favorites. The first place I would take anyone for sure is the Houston Museum of African American Culture to check out the latest art installation. Then probably to Discovery Green to check out what events are going on or maybe just for a walk and talk. The BLCK Market at the Buffalo Soldiers Museum is definitely a must to enjoy some shopping with local Black-owned small businesses. And can’t forget weekend brunch at Lucille’s or Phil and Derek’s.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people that have played a roll in me growing into the person, and entrepreneur, that I am. All that I am and all that I shall be, first and foremost, is because God gave me the parents, family and friends that I have. They continuously encourage me to pursue my passions and are the totality of my support system. Also, my son, who all of this is for. The legacy I hope to leave behind for him, and in him, is one of hard work, perseverance, ambition, and courage to go for it.

Website: www.wickflamescent.com
Instagram: wickflamescent
Twitter: wickflamescent
Facebook: facebook.com/wickflamescent

Image Credits
Very first (feature) horizontal image – Credit to Dominque Monday

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.