This Under-the-Radar Brand Makes Luxurious Candles That Are Empowering, Entertaining, and a *Little* Spicy
In a home decor marketplace packed with companies that craft candles of all scents, styles, and sizes, making an impression is no easy task for a newcomer. So when we at AT encounter a brand that’s doing something different, we take notice — and of course, we share the intel with you. That’s why if you aren’t yet familiar with The 125 Collection, it’s time to take notice.
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Based in Harlem, New York, the female- and Black-owned small business is successfully making its mark on the very competitive candle scene thanks in large part to its relatable messages. “The idea started as a way of being encouraged around my house,” Valerie Wray, The 125 Collection’s co-founder and CEO, recently told AT. “I love candles and fragrances and wanted to create a sense of peace in the home that was encouraging and uplifting.” What began as a personal passion project has since expanded into a full line of luxury, vegan candles that make absolutely perfect gifts — for yourself, someone else, or both — especially during a time when everyone can use a little bit of extra encouragement.
Each sleek black jar contains a 12-ounce soy wax candle and is adorned with a simple black-and-white label sporting a positive, smile-inducing message. Like “Be You. The World Will Adjust” or “Great Things Never Came From Comfort Zones,” for example. Explains Valerie, “I’m inspired by pop culture, what’s going on socially, and what’s going on for me personally. And of course, the culture, grit, entertainment, and diversity of New York City are always an inspiration.”
No matter which message you choose, you can select from aromas inspired by different moods: calming, clean, feminine, citrusy, and woodsy. “Every other year, I’ll take a look at these categories and see what’s trending,” says Valerie. The current line includes five enticing scents: Lavender & Sage, Metallic Rose, Spicy Blood Orange, Tobacco Flower + Vanilla, and Sparkling Birch.
We asked Valerie for her take on a handful of our absolute favorite candles from The 125 Collection — and be sure to check out the entire line here to discover what speaks to you.