Mahogany Young is an earth-conscious entrepreneur. She recently started her own handmade, eco-friendly candle business called The Green Things and is lining the shelves of her parent’s historic bookstore, MahoganyBooks, with her goods. She began creating her vegan product because she wanted something her family would love without added chemicals or animal products, including beeswax.
“I wanted to make some [candles] that are vegan because I’m vegan,” Young told DCist. “Since becoming environmentally conscious, some of my friends have become vegetarian or try to eat less meat and dairy. My parents eat a little more vegan food … and recycle a lot more.’’
Two years ago, she decided to become vegan for the animals and the earth after learning about inhumane farming practices and reducing carbon emissions. She decided that she’d make something to help “others think about their actions and what impact they have on our earth.”
“They’re made out of natural soy wax, so there’s not any additives, which is good for the air in your home,” she told reporters. “They’re made out of cotton wicks. Cotton is biodegradable and plant-based. The jars are made from at least 30% pre-consumer glass. The fragrance oils are all-natural, and the labels are made from recycled materials.”
According to her parents, Ramunda and Derrick Young, this isn’t her first foray into business. At 7, she began designing jewelry and hair accessories, selling her products at author events her parents hosted. Mahogany said her parents having their own business has helped and encouraged her with her candle company.
Her mother, Ramunda, told reporters, “we’ve helped her with some of the strategy, marketing … [and] understanding profit margins.’’ She continued, “We really allowed her to be creative in how she packaged the product and sourced it.’’
Young creates the wax itself, which she told reporters isn’t a difficult task. She used YouTube tutorials to teach her how to build the business right from her kitchen. These days she makes about four candles at a time, an hour per batch, and usually has about 12 candles per week.
As well as being the candlemaker, she also designed her labels using Canva and all the marketing materials by herself. She built her website, a skill she learned in middle school, and took the promotional photos and videos.
She did have some creative input from her father, Derrick, on one of her labels this year. In support of Juneteenth, he suggested she create a label inspired by social justice; it read “Freedom Never Smelled So Good.”
Her parents have also helped boost sales by elevating her candles on social media. This past year she sold about 70 candles, but she’d sold 30 candles in a week after they posted on the bookstores Instagram. She told DCist she would increase the number of batches she makes to keep up with demand.
“Like this week, I’m probably going to be making 70 candles,” Young said.
The candles are 10-ounces and come in various scents, including Amber Driftwood, Cashmere and Plum, and Mahogany and Teakwood. The young candlemaker researched online and used her parents as test subjects before deciding on fragrances that were “relaxing” and “calming.”
Young has big dreams for herself, filmmaker and paramedic, as well as for the company. She plans to have more products, including greetings cards with her original designs launching this December.