'It's important people see women and minorities succeed': Raeford Black-owned candle company expands after successful year

RAEFORD, N.C. (WTVD) -- Over the last year, support for Black-owned businesses exploded. Candle company Southern Elegance was a part of that wave.

The company has reaped the financial benefits and at one point, even sold out of all products in a week.

Owner D'Shawn Russell sees this support as more than just a trend.

"When people look us up and they buy from me because I'm a woman and they are looking to support women-owned businesses. I appreciate it. When they are looking to buy from a Black-owned business and I'm Black. I appreciate it. But at the end of the day I have to create a product that speaks to them," said Russell.

If you ask D'Shawn Russell where business stands today, she'd tell you she's still living the American Dream.

"We've been on GMA several times. We've been on The View. The exposure just introduced our products to a whole new different group of people. They love it and keep coming back to buy more," said Russell.

The blended aroma of pine, tobacco roads and other smells of southern agriculture consume the air inside her production facility.

The Durham native and Fayetteville State University graduate has seen much success since we spoke last August. Her products selling online at Walmart and Macy's. She even partnered with lifestyle brand Tory Burch over the holidays.

"They found our brand and asked if we'd like to partner with them for the Tory Burch Foundation Christmas box where they feature women-owned business. That's their passion," said Russell.

Company sales last year surpassed the million dollar threshold, which produces 40,000 candles a month.

The company has introduced 10 new scents, hired more employees and plans for a new facility are in the works. Russell understands representation even in business can make a difference.

"I just think it's really important for people to see women succeed...minorities succeed. Success period. That success reflects who we are as a country," said Russell.
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