Connect
To Top

Meet Johnell Allen of Soy Soulections in Leimert Park and Inglewood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Johnell Allen.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
The pathway that leads me to where I am today came from me being in a space of needing to be creative and express myself through an art form. I always craved being an entrepreneur but had to find my niche so that I would have a soul purpose in the work I do. I always LOVED candle burning and found myself spending so much money on buying candles, some great, some not so great.

On my final candle purchase, I told myself I would look into how much it costs to make a candle with the supplies for the candles to the labels, etc. In late 2018, I spent countless days and hours of research into figuring out what would work for me from the wax type, wick type, packaging, jars, name, the whole 9 yards. Originally I named the candle business after myself so that I could just get people to know it was me and what I was pursuing. The candles were way smaller than they are now but it was booming! After a good 6/8 months of candle selling, making, experimenting and figuring out that I loved this work, it’s aligned with my purpose, spiritually, it’s therapeutic for me emotionally, and allows me to feed my creative and artistic needs, I said bet! I took a break from making candles for a couple of months for me to allow myself the time and space to take a step back and redirect what I envisioned for the business going forth. I curated an attractive logo by myself, cultivated a name that resonated with my spirit by myself, did graphic work for the labels of candle ideas that I created and thus Soy Soulections was birthed. I launched Soy Soulections officially 9/1/19. I did my first collection, what I call a “Soulection” in October with a Halloween set, that featured scents of “Pumpkin Souffle” “Pumpkin Caramel Crunch” and “Dragons Blood” and it WENT OFF! Thats when I knew. Thereafter, I created more candles that was to that same effect of scents, “Banana Nut”, ” Cranberry”. “Lavender” to name a few. It wasn’t until I came out with my CHAKRA COLLECTION that I found the lane I wanted to switch gears into as I carried the brand forward.

My chakra candles we’re inspired by my own personal usage of crystals, my spirituality and knowing of crystal and chakra work. I debuted this collection in December 2019 and it set the tone from there. I wanted to allow my brand to reach a broader audience especially the CHAKRA CANDLES in particular, so I reached out to Simply Wholesome and was able to get my CHAKRA CANDLES sold exclusively in store. This allows me to gain more consumers, more light to the brand and allows people who love the CHAKRA CANDLES to still receive them when I am working on other candle projects. So, in the sense of fulfilling purpose I wanted to go back to the drawing board one more time because I felt a more divine calling for the brand and candle burning as an experience in totality. So, currently, I am in the space of re-launching the content and context of the brand as far as the identity goes of what the candle’s mean and embody. Now, Soy Soulections candles will be intentional based and spiritually geared. I am going to be educating through the work of candles. What I mean by this is, for example, is the CHAKRA COLLECTION candles as they are for aromatherapy but more importantly, activating your chakras and getting in tune with yourself on a higher vibrating level through candle work.

Another type of candle I am introducing is a FULL MOON candle, example: FULL MOON in Libra that will take place in April, some know what the FULL MOON’s purpose is, some don’t, thats where . the education comes in, which is what I love. Some people like myself use candle burning for rituals and relaxation, again all based on intention. For a ritual type of usage, for the FULL MOON for example, this is where I will explain to my audience via website info and social media outlets of how to do this work, with setting intentions during candle burning, meditation while candle burning, journaling while candle burning, etc. Another form of candle that I am releasing and intent to work on throughout my process is honoration and ancestral candles. For the one year anniversary of our Beloved King Ermias — Nipsey Hussle, I have created a seven day candle in celebration of his life and legacy. The intention, effort, quality, crystals, creation, vibration of these candles are all high and can be used for candle burning or for personal preservation to keep him alive in our presence. I also will continue my zodiac candles that I have that represent each zodiac sign when its time for their season, so far I have done Capricorn, Aquarius and now Pisces. This is what got me where I am today, 2020.

Has it been a smooth road?
Not a smooth road whatsoever, but I never expected it to be that! Struggles I endured in the beginning we’re just trial and error. You can’t experience trial and error or launching a small business in general period without spending money, having to just test the water to see if the concept makes sense you might just break even and get your money back that you spent which is great, or sometimes you might get less than you spent depending on if a scent is “popular” or what the customer likes, I have had customers who like fruity but not fresh, they want dessert but not floral, its so many things that turn a customer on and off so, for me, it was times where I would basically be giving the candles away for free just to get the business out there, thus loosing more. But it’s all part of the game right? But, this was all in the beginning when the brand was named after me, thus, trial and error. In the start also, the candle jars were WAY smaller than they are now, labels were plain jane, I didn’t even think as far as I have where I am now, so even for marketing and promo, I felt like that was a struggle because not only does the product have to be great, the aesthetics, the way you promote and display your brand attracts consumers! This was and still is a big struggle for me because I have to get more in touch with the visual part of my brand, the product is PHENOMENAL, but the aesthetics can be better and I have been inspired by so many different brands and companies just based off their Instagram profile pics, their layouts, their posts, their packaging! It’s so much more than just the product that goes into attracting energy, customers and just the owner being completely satisfied with the brand in totality. Figuring out what I should put on a label if it’s too much wording, should it be more plain and straight forward, the type of text I put on a candle, should I switch the text different on every label, what about the scent? What if not everyone likes it and I’m stuck with so many candles? This all places a role into making a candle that most people don’t see and understand and as I won’t define it as a “struggle” I will say it is still challenging for me as an independent business owner who is doing everything on her own from graphic design, concept, scent choice, timing of releasing a type of candle, promoting on social media, the way I exude the brand on those platforms, email listings, how I keep up with keeping my supporters informed with what I have going on while jugging everything else I have going on outside of candle making! It’s a blessing rather than a struggle and all about finding balance.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Soy Soulections story. Tell us more about the business.
Soy Soulections is THE candle company that uses 100% soy wax candles, black owned in the heart of Leimert Park and Inglewood California. Soy Soulections candles specializes and is known for hand-poured and created candles, from the scent type, wax type, wick type, design on the label, intention of the candle, time of release, website running by the owner herself aka me, doing footwork in the city for promoting my brand, networking with other independent black-owned businesses, spending the time energy and money all on my own, a woman who wears many hats and does many things all to create the best candle burning experience. Soy wax is specialty because of how it is beneficial to the environment, being made by 100% Soy Bean, the soy wax is made of a vegetable, therefore plant-based. When Soy wax burns into the atmosphere it does not dispute toxins into the air quality in which you inhale so its a clean burn. Soy Wax absorbs fragrance well since it is a plant-based wax therefore you get so much more bang in your candle burn from the scent when it illuminates into the air. The wick type is a cotton wick, which is also a plant. The cotton burns better than waxed wick because it’s one element against another, cotton against wax, whereas a waxed wick candle is wax on wax, and thats not good for the air quality whatsoever. Soy Soulections purpose is to educate my audience on candle burning as an experience as a whole, meaning that there is literally light in burning a candle, you can and should set intentions when you burn a candle, each time you light it. Candle burning can and is done in ritual work, where you for example, say aloud affirmations that you want to remind yourself of while you light the candle, burn the candle and finish the candle. Candle burning can also be done and is done in the form of relaxation and meditation. You can light candles just to unwind from your day and the candle will calm you, put that soothing energy into the atmosphere to bring you that inner peace. The aromatherapy aspect of candle burning that allows you to practice breathwork, meditation, focus, prayer, and guidance for instance dictates the particular scents that I choose which are conducive to the specific candles that I create. This allows certain energies to attract to you based off of the scent and intent, it helps assist you in your needs and desires while it also smells really good. It is so many things that candle burning brings, it’s just all about the education and intention, again.

As a company, I am most proud of being a black-owned independent business, knowing the history of my culture and how powerful we are makes me proud to know that I am contributing to the work of my ancestors. One of the reasons I am still standing as a brand today is because of one of my ancestors again, King Ermias aka Nipsey Hussle. I am born and raised in the same section Nip is from, the Crenshaw district, Slauson Avenue, this whole section is where I grew up and am still here as of today. To relate to the music is one level, but to see what he did with his brand in the hood, specifically is another. Truly inspirational. I vowed to myself once I birthed the name Soy Soulections that I would be ten toes down with this business. I have studied and still am studying Nip, and countless times I have heard him talk about how emotional pursuing your passion is, it can be happy and successful times, it can be slow and frustrating times but the fact that I vowed to myself that this is what I want to do — I can’t quit, which is why THE MARATHON CONTINUES is bigger than life, because people like myself who seen with their own eye’s what Nip contributed to the city, again not only musically, but financially and economically, I follow the blueprint he has laid out for me because I believe in my business just the same.

Soy Soulections is set apart from others because of all those same reasons. Black-owned independent business, the heart of the Leimert Park / Inglewood area and REALLY from here not just, moving from the Valley or another state and lived here five years calling myself a native, no. My energy and vibe is into these candles, the love and representation of my city is into these candles, my blood sweat and tears in the most positive light are into these candles, and I say that sets me apart because this not factory-made, these aren’t machines dishing these out in 2 seconds flat. This is a one woman show! Again, from the graphic designing, the networking, the labels, the selection of aesthetics of the brand, the packing, the social media content, the website design, set up, information, the shipping, talking to customers, making sure people are satisfied, time consumption, perfection of finalizing before release, spending time doing research, ALL THAT is ALL ME. That is all not to mention what is all doing on in my personal life side from my business and me having the strength and finding the energy for me to continue pushing Soy Soulections to be the best candle business by a black woman.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
In the next few years, I see Soy Soulections dominating the candle game! Thats just on that. The aromatherapy is out of this world, hands down. Never disappoints. The content and creativity that I am already cooking up and about to release is just me scratching the surface, this is literally just the beginning and it’s already booming. The context and creativity of Soy Soulections is going to attract so many people whether it’s for its healing, its relaxation or its aesthetic purposes, maybe just for the fact that it’s a local business, comes from a black woman, its so many reasons why Soy Soulections is inclining in its purposes. The more chic, modern, visually appealing, aromatherapy satisfying, healing content, intention, all is in alignment with me personally and the direction in which the world is headed. We are in times of needing more love and healing, more people are being open to these powers, more people are learning and leaning towards more plant-based products and lifestyles, more meditation, more crystals, more positivity which Soy Soulection embodies as a brand. Soy Soulections is right on target with where the trends are going in the literal sense and the analytical sense. The incline is going to keep skyrocketing.

A shift I guess you would say or rather a project that I am working on is in collaboration with another brand that focuses on healing, natural, apothecary products that falls into feeding both of our audiences. I have products her audience wants and she has products my audience wants, so we are fusing together a big project that will feed both parties consumers and also bring both of us more traffic. It’s going to be really really dope, I can’t wait until we launch!

Pricing:

  • Candles range from 15-40$ depending on the context of the candle, also depending on if there is a sale of some sorts, a deal I put together or anything of that nature
  • I also sell all natural foaming soap for $10 currently I have eucalyptus mint which is infused with real mint leaves
  • I also sell crystal keychains in amethyst citrine and clear quartz for $12 each and evil eye keychains for $10

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Ermias J. Ashgedom

Suggest a story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in