Who doesn’t love a good candle? Not only do they bring a nice and comforting aroma into a plain old room, but they also give us a hygge* lifestyle type of vibe.
But here’s the thing – when we explore the candle market, we always see the same old scents such as cinnamon, pumpkin spice, vanilla, and lavender. Sure these scents are classic but we need to spice things up a little! Where are the other amazing scents like horchata, cafecitos, and churros?
Marcella Gomez, the business owner of Oh Comadre! Candles loves candles so much, she decided to go the extra mile when she created her candle business.
Six years ago, right before the birth of Oh Comadre! Candles, Gomez noticed the little to no Latinx-inspired candle scents on the market. “One of the reasons [why] I started Oh Comadre! Candles [was] because I realized there [were] no Latino flavors out there in candles.”
As Gomez created her candle business, she experienced many obstacles along the way. With a background in nursing, she felt as if she did not carry the right knowledge when starting her business. “I can do CPR on you, I can help you with your wounds and heal you. But oh boy, this is such a different thing from nursing. And I wish I had more of a business background. Today [I am learning] how to delegate responsibility. That’s difficult because you want to do everything,” Gomez said.
Gomez also describes that the intensity of working on a small business feels like working on a major college-level assignment. “Just imagine you’re always studying for a final piece. That’s what a small business is like.”
The stress of managing a business as an owner is worth it to Gomez. When asked about her greatest achievement, Gomez readily mentioned building a community of comadres* that support not only her business but also care for her well-being.
“I built a community on social media, and you’re probably thinking, ‘What’s the big deal?’ Well, when I was diagnosed with cancer [in] 2020 during the pandemic, as isolated as I was in my home, I had a community of comadres, messaging me, sending me flowers, sending me cards and sending prayers. And that is awesome. This support from [these] so-called strangers, helped me get through such a rough time. And that’s one thing that I’m very grateful for – the support of the comadre community.”
The comadre community expresses their loyal support for Gomez and her products. Daniela Rodriguez, the owner of Social Cat and a loyal customer of Oh Comadre! Candles, admires how the candles bring her immense joy. “She has candles that remind me of my grandma’s cooking on the holidays, just warm and fuzzy feels or when I’m in need of fruity scents. She has candles for every occasion,” Rodriguez said.
Gomez is also a cancer survivor. While diagnosed, she emphasized how it put her life into perspective to the point where she wants her comadre community to take care of themselves. “I tried to remind the community to check themselves. It’s because my cancer was found very early, and I’m in remission, and I’m very lucky. I know as a mother and as a woman, we put everybody’s [needs] first and we always tend to leave ourselves last, so I try to push that we check ourselves.”
Today, Gomez’s candle business continues to thrive. With over 70,000+ followers on Instagram, both an online and a brick-and-mortar store, and the many uniquely scented candles that are handmade with love, Gomez wants to let her customers know that as long as her candle brings a smile to your face, her mission as a business owner is accomplished.
*Comadre: In this context, it is defined as a friend, companion, or close associate.
*Hygge: The feeling of coziness and being surrounded by what makes life feel good i.e. warmth, friendship, etc.