Harlem Candle Company founder Teri Johnson is celebrating something special this holiday season. One of her many scented candles recently made the famed “Oprah’s Favorite Things” list.

Johnson began making candles in 2014 and turned her love for fragrance, jazz, and the vibrant spirit of Harlem into a business that designs luxury scented candles and home fragrance products. Her Purple Love Luxury Candle is one of this year’s selections for Oprah’s Favorite Things. 

“I’m still shocked,” Johnson said in an interview with the AmNews. “I’m really excited. It’s sort of like a pinnacle in your journey as an entrepreneur and as a brand to make that list. I feel very honored.”

Starting in her home kitchen, she began making candles as gifts for family and friends. Johnson met a local chemist who created candle fragrance oils for other brands. She had no intention to start a business. It all just happened.

“I’ve always loved fragrances and candles,” she said. “This was just an extension of all of the things I already love: jazz, candles, beautiful fragrances, history, Black culture, the Harlem Renaissance, [and] Josephine Baker. People who know me know it’s not a surprise that I ended up doing this.”

Harlem Candle Company is also part of the Amazon Black Business Accelerator, a $150 million commitment over four years dedicated to helping build sustainable growth for Black-owned businesses.

Johnson’s company is expanding from candles to a perfume brand. She also has some design products coming out next year and wants to continue building products with a Harlem Renaissance theme.

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