Inspired by her travels and her great love of scents from her early childhood memories of her Aunt’s boudoir filled with perfumes from around the world, to the ones she’d soon acquire herself as a lifestyle and travel expert, Teri Johnson created Harlem Candle Company. A brand created from passion and creativity, Johnson has managed to capture a time in history that will never be forgotten, not just by the great sounds of the iconic jazz legends, but in the essence of a candle. Read all about how this entrepreneur turned her passion into a sweet smell of success.

Why Harlem?

I fell in love with Harlem when I moved here over a decade ago. I noticed a new renaissance happening and I wanted to actively participate in it. I knew I had the ability, passion, and creativity to create a Harlem brand that not only celebrated, but also honored Harlem’s legacy and it’s rich cultural history. I didn’t want this to be just another company using the Harlem name without paying homage to the significance of the art, music and literary contributions that were born here.
As a filmmaker and travel and lifestyle expert, I also knew I had the ability to tell compelling stories of this era through fragrance and design.

When you started your company, were there any challenges that the brand faced?

One of my biggest challenges was entering into a consumer products business with no experience. I’ve never worked in retail or product development so my learning curve was high, but exciting. I started this business alone and wore all of the hats including production, packaging, fulfillment, inventory management, web design, management, sales, marketing and social media. Needless to say, it was overwhelming doing it alone. I now have a very small team and we are working hard to grow the business. Another challenge has been capital. I am now at the point where I am ready to make the Harlem Candle Company into a global brand. A huge percentage of our online customers are repeat customers and their order volume continues to increase. Until now, we have never optimized our online presence with SEO, Google Ad Words, etc. The brand has grown organically and we are doing a great job keeping up with the demand. Once we raise capital, it will be so exciting to reach and engage more people online, begin our candle subscription program and expand into the global marketplace.

How many scents do your candles come in?

We have seven scents and we’re working on developing two more that will launch during the holidays.

What inspired your choice of scents?

All of the scents and the names of the candles are inspired by jazz legends and iconic places during the Harlem Renaissance period (1920’s – 1930’s).


What are your top three sellers?

Ellington, Josephine, and Savoy are our top selling candles.


In addition to the 12 OZ candle, you also offer a travel size candle, what was the inspiration behind creating a travel size candle?

The travel size is perfect for people on the go and for those who love to have a beautiful scent easily accessible. As a travel and lifestyle expert, it has always been important for me to make a hotel room feel like home and the easiest way to do this is through scent.

We also love to give our online customers a way to experience the entire collection for a lesser price.

What’s next for Harlem Candle Company?

We are launching two new fragrances for the holiday season and will offer a few of our scents in the form of reed diffusers. We are also working with a real estate company on developing a signature scent for their NYC and Harlem based properties.

Each of our monthly subscribers will be receiving a promotional insert for $10 off a $40 or more purchase from your website in their box, what is the one take-away that you’d like to leave them with?

I would love for them to follow us on social media so they can take advantage of our home fragrance tips, upcoming events and online promotions.

You can keep up with Harlem Candle Company by following them on
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.