Cassandra Durham – Black Girl Candle Company

Marissa Dick | January 19th, 2021
Cassandra Durham (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

Cassandra Durham (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

Throughout our lifetime, most people have heard the saying, “there’s nothing new under the sun”. Well, that biblical quote actually comes from Ecclesiastes 1:9 and it simply means there is nothing in the world that has not already happened, been seen, or been done. All of our experiences good or bad are testimonies that can help others navigate their lives more efficiently and effectively. Another thing that’s not new under the sun are candles. They have been used for centuries for religious purposes, ceremonies, prayers, and relaxation techniques. Spirituality speaking, candles are also a representation of Jesus Christ – – The Eternal Light of the world. Candles can also be symbolic of passion and they can create a euphoric environment for the mind, body, and soul.

Meet Cassandra Durham, owner and operator of Black Girl Candle Company. Her candles are fashioned with a purpose. She shares, “I started Black Girl Candle Company because I felt like Black women needed something of their own. You know Black women do a lot of work, but they rarely get the recognition they deserve. It was important for me to create something for Black women that speaks to our needs. For me, Black Girl Candle Company is a way to empower, equip, and strengthen other women by letting them know that they can achieve anything they set their minds to and know that their lives have meaning. I want Black women to know that they aren’t dreaming alone. They aren’t walking by faith alone even though the enemy will tell you that you’re alone believe me when I tell you that you are not by yourself. God and Black Girl Candle Company are here supporting you.”

Cassandra understands scented candles can be purchased at any store, but she also knows that those candles are not poured with an anointing and purpose in mind.

According to Cassandra, “My candles are different because we start with love. I am of the belief that whatever it is inside of you is going to come out. So, if there is hate and bitterness inside of you then that’s what’s going to be evident in everything you do and it’s going to be evident in everything you touch. I am a believer; I have submitted my life unto God. I believe that love is in me so that’s what I exhibit. Love is exhibited in everything I touch. It’s exhibited in the way that I show up and present myself, but most importantly love is exhibited in the candles I pour. When I pour my candles, my focus is creating something especially for you that gives you moments of peace and clarity. You know so many things in our lives are tied to aromas and scents. If you go into a restaurant and smell a particular dish, you are like oh my God this reminds me of my grandma house. Now if we keep it 100, I like men who smell good! I don’t know maybe it’s just me but even an unattractive man who smells good, talks good, and he’s on point then a brother may have a chance for a dinner date! I’ve turned my head on more than one occasion at an unattractive dude just because he smelled good! There’s power in scents. I want to create products for women who are stressed out so when they light one of my candles, they will experience moments of emotional peace and regain clarity in their mind. It’s hard being a black woman because we have to be ten million things to ten million different people and we hardly get the chance to be what we need to be to ourselves. We know what we want, and we recognize that we’re tired, but we will put ourselves on the back burner and keep on pushing knowing nobody is pouring back into us. So, when you get a Black Girl Candle that’s your signal to step back from your life for a minute. The kids are going to be alright for a half hour; the husbands going to fine; the house isn’t going to fall apart.”
We should all take time out and exhale so when life happens, we do not feel as though our backs are up against the wall. When our emotions are not centered, and our thoughts are unclear it becomes difficult to make rational decisions. Black Girl Candle Company was created for women to take time out for themselves so they can rejuvenate their mind, body, and soul. “I believe that women just need an opportunity to sit down somewhere and take a moment. I often ask women when was the last time you took some time out for you with no distractions? I’m not surprised when they respond, ‘I don’t remember,’ especially with all that comes with this pandemic like virtual schooling and maybe relationship, employment, and housing issues too. You could run yourself crazy and then what?”

As women many of us revolve around a continuous cycle of taking care of everyone else’s needs while neglecting your own. Cassandra Durham believes in self-care, “One of my goals in life is to empower women. Everything I do is centered around that purpose. You know when I was growing up there used to be this commercial for Motel 6 that said, ‘We’ll leave the light on for you.’ That mantra right there is my purpose. As long as I am on this earth, I plan to leave a light on for my sisters now whether you come or not is up to you, but that light is going to be on. There’s not much that I haven’t experienced in my life. I’ve experienced molestation; I’ve experienced being addicted to crack and all that comes with that life; I’ve gone through a divorce, and I’ve experienced the death of a child. I lost my daughter to a house fire and that alone made me want to commit suicide, but I made it through all of that. So, if I made it so can you. Women can stand on my shoulders and I will help carry them to where they need to go.” Cassandra has come to recognize that God has appointed her to be her sister’s keeper and it is a calling she accepts and embraces wholeheartedly.

When you think of the word, keeper, one could see a person who manages or looks after something. For Cassandra that something is Black women. As she recalls, “I remember when I got my undergraduate degree from NC A&T State University. I was really struggling. I had kicked my crack habit; I had gotten married and I was raising kids, but I still had a lot of ciaos in my life. I remember saying to God if I can get across this stage, I promise you I will bring 50,000 of my sisters with me if they follow me and that’s what I have been doing ever since I walked across that stage. I’ve been adding to that number in many ways. I can help a woman return to school. I can also help her with spiritual advice because I continued my education, so I also have my master’s degree in theology. So, if I am not physically with you my candles can be because they are personally made by me. In fact, all of my scents are customed made. Like, Make Him Jealous. That fragrance is a kind of heavy masculine scent. You know when your man has been acting crazy and been gone all night and comes back home, he’s wondering whose been inside of his house. Well, it’s not a man it’s a candle but if he had been home, he would know that. And then there’s Make Him Eat It which is a play on words because I am also a writer, too. When I first started mixing that candle I would it pass around to a lot of people and I would ask them what does this smell like or what’s your reaction and most people said, ‘gosh this makes my mouth water or man I want to eat this,’ so hence, Make Him Eat It. Then I have Grey Sweatpants which is a deep wood masculine scent, and Honey Bourbon Sunrise. Now that candle right there makes me think of that high school senior trip to the beach and all that debauchery going on or that girl’s road trip and then you’re taking that walk of shame back to your room well maybe that was just me! Then we have Spa Day Candle. Now that scent ministers to me. It makes me a better person. You know after a long day and I have been stressed out I go home and light my Spa Day candle and whatever stress I have this candle just levels me out. It’s truly calming. It’s like the Spirit of the Lord walked into the room. It may sound cliché but whenever God enters, He brings everything He is with Him and that includes love, joy, and peace,” she says.

Unless you have lived a charmed life all of your days then you know that having peace is priceless and that is one of the reasons why Black Girl Candle Company has created specialty gift boxes for all occasions. “We do multiple gift boxes for different reasons. We offer the Gift of Rest Box which is really our Mental Health Box. Then we have a Get-Well Box which is for people who have been sick or who have been under the weather. We have a Happy Birthday Queen Box, and we’re getting ready to launch our Happy Birthday King Box. We also have a Big Girl Box. Now that box has a little bit of everything, we offer in it and we also include a custom candle called Sunday Morning which was created specifically for that gift box. I really wanted to give people a fall candle, so we offer our Christmas Morning candle. I tell people if you are not in the mood for the holidays by the time you get through burning our fall candles in your house honey, you’re going to be dancing to the Jackson Five and reminiscing of the days at your grandma’s house! I understand the importance of scent because candles really do set the vibe of your space and their smells evoke memories. Candles can make a room feel cozy it just depends on the vibe you’re going for and I just believe we can set the tone of any space,” she says.

Cassandra also offers other selections of candles such as Apple and Bourbon, Birthday Cake, Cranberry Dream, Headache B Gone, The Power Within, and Spa Day.

Black Girl Candle Company believes in “pouring” into the lives of other women. Every month they gift a box to a woman who is experiencing difficulty. Much like Dorcas also known as Tabitha in Acts 9:36-42, Cassandra is known for her good works and generosity. She shares “People will write me all the time and say my aunt, or my sister is going through can you send her something? I do a lot of gifting because this is what I know – – if I take care of Gods business, then He’ll take care of mine. Women will write me and express how depressed or sick they were, but when they received that black box from us, they felt better knowing that somebody was thinking about them. You know the enemy has tricked so many people into believing that they are suffering alone, and they are the only person going through something but that’s not true. You are not the only one whose been cheated on, been lied to, or been abused. You’re not alone because you have 300 sisters that are praying for you, fighting for you, and interceding on your behalf. Just because you don’t see us that doesn’t mean we are not undergirding you through prayer – – we are.” Tabitha had a well-deserved reputation as an almsgiver, a philanthropist, someone whose generosity made a difference in her community. We can consider Cassandra as your modern-day Dorcas.

So how are these candles made and what makes them so unique? Well, it’s the way they have been “poured” with a purpose. Cassandra shares, “The foundation of my candles starts with love then I add the wax, the scent, the wick, and pour it inside of the jar. I have help with the packaging but when it comes to pouring, I do that by myself. I don’t let anyone pour except me because while I’m pouring, I’m also praying. There are days when I have the music loud and I’m in here hollering and crying and then sometimes it’s silence but it’s always me and the Lord. It’s a private thing I don’t expose that piece of my life to the world. Every other part of my life is an open book.”

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