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This Under-the-Radar Brand Makes Luxurious Candles That Are Empowering, Entertaining, and a *Little* Spicy

updated Apr 11, 2021
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Credit: Courtesy of the 125 Collection

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.

1 / 5
The 125 Collection
$38.00

If you tend to get down on yourself, light this candle whenever you need a reminder of your awesomeness. "This candle is a customer favorite and one of our bestsellers because it empowers them but also makes them laugh," says Valerie.

2 / 5
The 125 Collection
$38.00

You don't have to be a softie to have a soft side, and there's never been a better time to approach others with an open heart. "I love this candle because of its play on words," explains Valerie. "Being kind and spreading love is what we all should aim for and so needed right now."

3 / 5
The 125 Collection
$32.30
was $38.00

Part of the Phenomenal Women in Black History Collection, this candle honors a true American hero and civil rights icon. Says Valerie, "As the pandemic and social media are showing the world what some of us (BIPOC) see on a regular basis, this Ida B Wells quote holds so true. In order to correct those injustices, let's first start with the truth."

4 / 5
The 125 Collection
$38.00

If you have a dog, you probably snickered when you read this one — because you know how true it is. "Our dog lovers adore this candle. They all can attest that their dogs are the bosses," says Valerie. Duh!

5 / 5
The 125 Collection
$38.00

"The 125 Collection prides itself on being a relatable brand so we created a line of LatinX inspired candles for our customers who also speak Spanish," Valerie explains. Translated, this one means More Love Please, a message that transcends languages and borders.