WCW: Nubia Mejia and Mary Beirne of YesYouCandle

Today’s WCW post is on Nubia Mejia and Mary Beirne. These best friends, now business partners, created the perfect stocking stuffer that also pays it forward at the same time: YesYouCandle Every YesYouCandle product is packaged with a “Gratitude Bracelet” (more on that later). The brand just launched three weeks ago and has already sold 125 candles! I met Nubia and Mary years ago through NY Comic Con, and was happy to be able to catch up with them recently to talk about this amazing initiative.  

As an budding entrepreneur myself, it was inspiring to hear the process and to receive my very own Take 5 Candle (smells divine). Check out our fun q&a: 

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O.C.O: What inspired you both to create YesYouCandle?

Y.Y.C: While working on a project that required a soy candle, we couldn't find one on the market that transmitted the energy we were looking for. Since we couldn't find one, we researched the process of creating one and thus our journey began. We fell in love with the whole process from blending and creating the aromas, to hand pouring each and every one of them. The message we spread with the affirmations we write on the candles is so simple but immensely valuable. We want to remind people what REALLY matters in terms of spreading peace, love, and being grateful. 

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O.C.O: Tell us more about the #PayItForward initiative?

Y.Y.C: With the purchase of a candle online or at a market, we give away a complimentary "Pay It Forward / Gratitude Bracelet." They each have words of encouragement on them and we suggest you give them to a friend or stranger to brighten up their day. Life can often get crazy and the smallest little act of kindness can change someone's life! It's something we are very aware of at YYC and it's what sparked the idea. Our mission is to change lives and spread positivity one candle at a time. 

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O.C.O: What are your favorite scents from the collection?

Mary: It's so hard to pick but if I had to choose my favorites are Revive, Lavender. 

Nubia: I love all of them! Seriously, we spend so much time creating them, they're our babies. Since 3 is one of my favorite numbers, I'll share my top 3. 

1)My all-time favorite is "REVIVE". It kickstarts your day with this enticing aroma that breathes life into you. The blend was an accident that was meant to be (long story). I don't think it's a coincidence that it's our best seller.

2)Second I will say "TAKE 5". It's a great balance of relaxing while still maintaining focus. Notes of lavender and cinnamon make this an interesting blend. 

3) Lastly, I will say Spiced Chai Latte. I'm a big fan of drinking Chai Latte's so it's no surprise I enjoy lighting this while being cozied up with a good book. 

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O.C.O: There are good days and bad days, being business partners/best friend's, how do you deal if one is having a bad day?

Y.Y.C: We always uplift each other. If one of us has a problem or is freaking out over something meaningless, we make each other take a pause and reevaluate what's going on. Instead of stressing out, how can I resolve this? Is this problem really worth negative energy? Most times you'll find it isn't. The key is being understanding, honest and inspiring to one another. It's the key to both an invaluable friendship and a successful business. 

O.C.O: What’s a typical day like for you?

Y.Y.C:  That's a fun question - making candles, social media, creating new blends for next season, being on Etsy, packing orders, checking inventory, copywriting, booking markets, setting up tables, being incredibly inspiring to ourselves and others, talking to people as much as possible about our brand and mission, eating cheese puffs, having a celebratory beer haha. The work is both very hard but rewarding. 

O.C.O: Since you guys just started, what has been the highlight so far? What have you learned?

Y.Y.C:  We believe the highlight is when we hear genuine reactions from people. When they say the candle makes them feel good or they love the scent so much and it uplifts their day. Also, meeting people and learning about their journey is so spiritually rewarding. 

We have learned a lot about candles, essential oils, and Aromatherapy. Our senses as human beings are underappreciated. The power of perceiving smells, scents and aromas is a true gift. It gets us excited about meals, makes us appreciate nature more & affects our mood and spirit. 

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O.C.O: What skills were you able to bring over from your previous work experience that you found to be most helpful or practical in your business?

Y.Y.C: We are both very creative and have experience in crafting and branching out into various projects. We have backgrounds in design which gives us a good eye. Mary has years of experience in fashion design while Nubia has a vast resume in promotional design such as pieces/graphics for marketing. With everything we've learned in our previous jobs, we're able to balance each other out perfectly and we're very fortunate for that. 

Nubia has a background in copywriting and Mary has experience working for herself and managing her own brand through another venture. 

Nubia had a job about a year ago with a company that dealt with essential oils and she became smitten with them, however, she didn't know how to make a product with them until now. Nubia and Mary learned everything together from the ground up in terms of blending the oils with wax to create a beautiful candle & a finished product. It was probably as much fun as it was difficult. We could probably write a book with our hilarious stories.

Whatever one of us doesn't know the other figures out. Like we said prior, our partnership is a gift. 

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O.C.O: What advice would you give to women about to embark on a career in business?

Mary: The number one thing is to believe in your idea and go for it 100%. Be patient and detail oriented. Make sure you have an open mind, listen to your customer and meet their needs. It really helps when your business partner is in it just as much as you. Lastly, make sure you're having fun and you enjoy what you're doing. 

Nubia: I would say to women in business, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. We're living in an era where women are fearless and they're speaking up for themselves and one another more than ever. Take that energy and run with it as fast as you can. If you believe and trust in yourself, there aren't any limits to how far you can go. Be genuine and keep good relationships. Treat others the way you want to be treated and have a good work ethic because a lot of people have great memories. Another very important thing is to have patience, Rome wasn't built in a day.

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O.C.O: What do you define as success?  What do you define as happiness?

Mary: 

Success can be defined in so many ways but for me to name a few it's achieving my dreams, doing something I love every single day and enjoying it. When it comes to success with YESYOUCAN.DLE it's creating a great product that people enjoy whether it uplifts or helps them relax through the day. With the Pay It Forward gift that our customer receives with every purchase is a success in itself. This complimentary gift is a beautiful way for our customers to spread happiness and brighten up someone's day and change the world one smile at a time. 

When it comes to happiness there are so many things that make me happy. It's seeing someone smile, helping others, being true to myself, and most of all sharing life with friends and family. For YESYOUCAN.DLE its seeing someones face light up when they smell our candles. It's when someone shares their story with us and enjoys our candles and message. I can go on and on with the things that make me happy but we would be here all day! 

Nubia: I believe success is putting effort towards something you believe in and care for. People are often intimidated by the thought of being "successful". The mind is a delicate thing and intimidation can often kill creativity. When you have an idea, and you have the courage and ambition to pursue it and make it come to life, you are successful my friend. I truly believe that. There are levels to the success of course but we must all remember not to be so hard on ourselves. Success for me through YES YOU CAN . DLE is seeing someone read the label and smiling at the affirmation. Hearing an aroma is their new addiction and you know that you made that happen for them, it's great. 

Happiness for me in life is the ability to create & roam freely. It's also being able to spend time with my family and friends. Happiness for me through YYC is aroma and spreading positivity. The gift of giving is contagious, we give tons of love every day at YYC. 

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O.C.O: What’s next?

What's next?! So much! 

We're currently brainstorming on our spring collection and we're planning to have it done as soon as possible. We're also growing our marketing strategies in terms of campaigns and fun features. Getting into a variety of stores is definitely on our hit list right now too. The future is so bright and we're just running towards the light. 

Follow YesYouCandle on Facebook and Instagram to see where the gals will be next! Online shoppers looking for that last minute stocking stuffer or a pick-me-up for yourself, check them out on ETSY :) 

xo

Kos

WCW-Victoria Gousse-Real Estate Muse

It is Wednesday, peeps, and you know what that means: Women Crush Wednesday! Today’s post is real estate professional/blogger: Victoria “Vickie” Gousse. Vickie happens to be one my best friends. We met in high school and have remained close friends to this day. We ran our school like Serena and Blair in Gossip Girl. Well, at least, in our heads we did, ha ha!  She was the Wilma to my Betty, the Ethel to my Lucy, and the Gina to my Pam. She was my partner in crime and I am so grateful to have her in my life after all of these years. 

When we graduated, Vickie went on to study at Fordham University and has worked in the real estate industry for 10 years. She is absolutely amazing and I am very excited to share her story with you and tell you exactly what makes her rad! Vickie has had great success as a real estate professional in her career. However, that is not all, she also has a blog where she writes about real estate as well as fashion. With the oversaturation of the fashion blog, this one brilliant, merging two very different genres together. I encourage all of you to go read, you will fall in love with it and learn in the process!

Now, if those are not enough reasons for Vickie to be my Woman Crush Wednesday, I have a few more for you. She is one of the few people who will still call me out if I need it. Let's be honest, we all need an awesome friend like her in our lives. I admire her so much. In a nutshell, she is driven, kind, beautiful, and creative. In between both of us coercing the other to get that “must have item of the week” lol, we managed to pull this Q & A together, enjoy!

O.C.O: Why real estate? What about the industry gave you a connection "BAM" this is what I want to do?

V.G: I started my real estate career as a temp in college, doing marketing for Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects in NYC. When I discovered the lengths that cities and states go to, in order help developers create affordable housing for those in need, I thought it was very special and something that I wanted to incorporate into my career. Its not just real estate, its public policy, and it directly impacted the quality of people's lives.

O.C.O: How do you keep a balance of being fashionable, yet dressing appropriate for the work place?

V.G: The basics of being fashionable is to know who you are and how you want to project yourself to the world. From there, invest in some business wear basics such as a good blazer, high-waisted slacks, and a great watch. Keep it conservative and don't over-accessorize- I'd say that's a good place to start.

O.C.O: What made you decide to start your blog?

V.G: I have a very creative spirit, and it comes across in the way I dress and the way I work everyday. So I wanted to find a way to bring real estate concepts to audiences in a way that was stylish, contemporary, and that incorporated my love of fashion.

O.C.O: With shows like the Million Dollar Listing Franchise inspiring many to draw their hand in the real estate game, do you think this is helping or hurting the real estate industry?

V.G: It certainly makes real estate brokerage more entertaining than I ever imagined! And it’s also helping to recruit lots of aspiring real estate dealmakers and professionals.

O.C.O: Last article of clothing/accessory you have purchased?

V.G: A matching 2 piece knit top and wide legged pant from Zara. The pants fit like a glove and the fabric feels so smooth, I can't wait until the weather is cool enough to wear them. 

O.C.O: What/Who inspires you?

V.G: Being in New York City everyday inspires me. The mixture of old and new architecture, the unique economic drivers behind real estate projects and the availability of the best in design and fashion really keeps me inspired to do and learn more everyday.

O.C.O: What advice would you give someone who wants to break into the world of real estate?

V.G: Do your research. When people think of real estate, they may only imagine the work of a real estate agent. But the real estate industry is vast, spanning from property managers, real estate developers, fund managers, asset managers, lawyers, and accountants to residential and commercial real estate brokers that help us lease, buy and sell all the properties you see around you. Each of these professions requires different skills and education levels. So I would recommend they do research to determine their areas of interest, read the real estate publications and familiarize themselves with the movers and shakers in those fields.

O.C.O: Outlets like Refinery 29 and Time Out NY are writing about real estate developments and the glamour of them. Where do you see the real estate industry in the next 5-10 years?

V.G: In order to keep buildings close to full occupancy at all times, real estate owners are relying more and more on technology to find their next tenants, to manage revenue and to keep marketing efforts going. I see the industry increasingly merging technology and social media into their operating platforms.

O.C.O: Favorite Vickie/Kosi moment in High School? ;)

V.G: Doing our stage rendition of the "PopStars" audition in our senior year, we were competing for who's V.G: the best member of the group and your name was "Koko Shavita-Jones", I crack up everytime I think about it!

Yes and I posted up that embarrassing pic of us as “PopStars”, my eyebrows were cray haha! Follow Vickie on Instagram, Bloglovin, and Twitter

xo

Kosi