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Conversations with Sharae Simone

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharae Simone.

Hi Sharae, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
After having a miscarriage and struggling through an unexpected divorce that immediately followed, all I knew was grief for two solid years. With that much sorrow, the only thing that gave me relief was creating. I started a coloring book for those who suffered from miscarriage and stillbirth but once I became pregnant a year later, it was hard for me to tap into that sadness while remaining hopeful. Then I became a NICU mom, which is when all of those deep sad feelings returned. However, I still couldn’t bring myself to draw. When my son finally came home, I was sure that the cPTSD triggers would stop but they hadn’t. I was still grieving and it was coupled with immense anxiety. I knew I needed autonomy and I knew being creative was always helpful for me.

One morning, a vision was sent to me that asked that I make a candle that people could use in their grief. It could accompany my coloring book. When I was in the heart of grief there was a quote that truly helped me….”The cure for grief is movement” So that evening I started ordering supplies. I figured I would start this all as a hobby. I spent months trying to find the perfect name until I had to truly think about the things that I love and that shaped me. During every good, bad, and sad moment of my life, I have always had Tupac. His music and his poetry have given me confidence and reassurance but the poem The Rose That Grew From Concrete always gave me hope. “Funny it seems but my living her dreams, she learned to breathe fresh air” Concrete Met Rose became a story about a girl who acknowledges that concrete will exist but knows it cannot stop her from growing. It is the story of a resilience that drives growth, a story that resonates with everyone. Not everyone has the same concrete but they are still roses capable of growth and deserving of comfort.

January 2021, I did a soft launch after my friends convinced me to try selling my candles and by Valentine’s Day, I had sold out. It was then that I decided to launch a complete collection for Spring and I have been creating continuously ever since. In my first year, I had six collections and sold over 1100 candles.

I draw my inspiration from my upbringing in Los Angeles and my love for my culture and those I have experienced. My candles are decorated with wax embeds most of which I make on my own from clay. I study scents and fragrance profiles and I draw again. Most importantly, I speak life and pour into my customers. Each online order receives a personalized note. “I love you. I am proud of you. Your life is meaningful” etc. I use my art and love for creating to help people find comfort in the weeds of their life. I use candles to give people hope in the multifaceted world of grief. I found that the more I poured love into creating for others, the more that I found love to give to them and myself.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I am a single mom to a preemie which includes making time for several doctor’s appointments while also learning how best to raise him. I work from home full time which comes with its own stresses. I also started a business during a pandemic. Not only does that make accessing customers hard but it also means that supplies are hard to come by. With more people at home to dive into hobbies and small businesses of their own, supplies are hard to get ahold of. This means that you either buy all that you can when you can or you will be waiting months to get your hands on it. After launching my Valentine’s Day collection, all of the jars that I used were sold out. When you change jars, you have to retest and change everything else within your formula. There were many jar changes which meant time spent testing instead of marketing and selling. Now I buy supplies in large quantities which means that although I see a profit, it doesn’t feel like it because you’re spending more than you earn just for the opportunity to spend.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Outside of being a chandler, I have spent my professional life in the field of Training and Development. I have worked in the private, public, and nonprofit sector all of which has helped me be able to better communicate with my customers. Most of my time, I have been responsible for training sales professionals, it is nice to take that experience and apply it to selling something I make. I’m most proud of my resilience. There have been so many setbacks but each comeback has made it worth it. I fall in love with the journey every day and that makes it so it never feels like work.

We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
Most people don’t know how much time I spend studying. I study a lot about the effect that nostalgia and olfactory have on people when I’m designing each collection. After I know the theme of my collection, I pull from personal experience to create the designs which includes making the majority of my molds by hand. I start by drawing what I want the candle to look like then I use modeling clay to create the embeds. Then I bake the clay and pour silicone onto it before blending colors and putting the candle together. Decorating each candle takes quite a bit of time but it’s so worth it when my customers get to experience it.

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