When things go wrong, some people search for their favorite comfort food, others throw their hands up in defeat. For Brooklyn native, Yvette Gayle, lighting a candle does the trick. Gayle was 16-years-old when she made her first candle and realized there was true comfort in making them. But like many of us, Gayle put her hobby aside to chase the almighty dollar. She worked her way up to become one of the most powerful publicists in entertainment as the Vice President of Publicity at Interscope/Geffen A&M, and then realized it was time to launch her own business.
After two decades of guiding the careers of artists like 50 Cent and Mary J Blige, Gayle wanted to do more for herself and decided to turn her love for candles into a business venture. That’s when she created The Sitota Collection.
Sitota, which means gift, was named after her Ethiopian adopted daughter. Gayle’s candles were inspired by her extensive world travels and each of the candles have a robust, yet distinctive scent. But it was Gayle’s 7-year-old son, Mekhi who gave her the idea to turn her hobby into a business.
“I was in the kitchen one day making candles and my son came in and he said, ‘You know what mama, I think you ought to have a manufacturing plant for your candles.’ And I was like oh my goodness, you’re right!”
Gayle came up with Coco Noir, Aigyiptos, Havana and Blue Nile fragrances.
Coco Noir is the blend of coconut and Cassis, which triggers memories of vacationing in Thailand with her husband. Aigyiptos is inspired by Gayle’s extensive travel throughout Africa. The complex scent combines sandalwood, musk and vanilla. Havana–which has notes of teak wood, pepper and black tea–was an homage to her husband’s Jamaican roots and Blue Nile has an earthy aroma with traces of wild grass citrus and grapefruit.
Gayle admits to doing a lot of research in the beginning stages, which included visiting different fragrance houses, working with a perfumer and learning what scents and oils blend well together. But she was able to choose her scents through experimenting.
“A lot of it is just playing around. I just buy scents and oils and mix. Literally, the thousands and thousands of candles I’ve made simply happened because it was an experiment,” she said.
Unlike traditional candles, The Sitota Collection uses a soy wax, which leaves a smaller carbon footprint. Finding the time to create her candles has proven to be a challenge. But after a long day of work, and then tending to her children, Gayle admits making her candles have been therapeutic.
“It completely calms me down, ” she said. “I find that it relaxes me. When I’m stressed or when those people are having a bad day and making me have a bad day, I go light a candle.”
Gayle used her publicity knowledge and contacts to get her product to consumers. She was able to have her collection placed backstage at the 2014 Grammys, for example, and has also opened a store in Nigeria.
“I could’ve gone out and found a private label place, slapped my and my daughter’s name on it and gone from there, but that’s not my journey,” Gayle said. “This was all about my expression and love and gratitude to her. I’ve worked 20 years doing everyone else’s stuff. This is for me.”
Insert, “a diva is a female version of a hustler” joke.
Inspired? Check out more beautiful women living their dreams:
Check Out This List Of The Most Powerful People To Follow On Twitter!
1. 15 Powerful Women To Follow On Twitter
Social media has completely taken over our lives. I've always had a personal opposition against social media, often times claiming that it makes us even more unsocial. However, there is a lot of good in social media that one has to learn how to use for their advantage. The best way to take advantage of social media is to cultivate who you follow. Make sure that who you follow is applicable to your life as well as entertaining. Check out this list of 15 powerful women to follow on Twitter.
2. Erykah Badu
There's just something about Erykah that is beyond hypnotizing. Her tweets bring you into her world of being an artist and a doula. Yes, Erykah tweets about the babies she helps deliver. @fatbellybella
3. Gayle King
Besides being Oprah's best friend, Gayle King is known for being a CBS This Morning cohost and Editor-at-Large for O Magazine. Her take on the entertainment industry is often funny and exclusive! @GayleKing
This woman needs no explaining. Just follow her. @oprah
5. Michelle Obama
Obviously, following the first lady is the first thing you should do on Twitter. Under her new account @FLOTUS, not every tweet is hers, but when you see it signed in "mo, you can guarantee that the first lady is reaching out to you directly. @FLOTUS
6. Christiane Amanpour
As one of the most iconic TV journalists, Christiane Amanpour is a powerful Twitter user. She offers breaking news on global conflicts, and provides unique insights and perspectives to political happenings and world events. You don't even need to follow CNN if you're following Christiane. @camanpour
7. Soledad O'Brien
8. Chelsea Clinton
It helps that Chelsea Clinton is the famed offspring of Bill & Hillary Clinton. But she is also a tireless advocate for a healthy and safe world. As an NBC News Special Correspondent and active member of the Clinton Foundation, Chelsea has immeasurable insight of the world to share. @ChelseaClinton
9. Caterina Fake
Caterina Fake tweets about the latest digital news, technology and her own personal views, passions and interests. @Caterina
10. Zainab Salbi
Zainab Salbi is the founder of Women for Women International and served as the organization's CEO from 1993 to 2011. If you want news, stats and opinions on humanitarian crises, follow her. Oh and you can learn how you can contribute in making the world a better place. Who doesn't love that?! @ZainabSalbi
11. Robin Roberts
This "Good Morning America" news anchor is nothing short of amazing. With her inspirational story as a foundation, follow her entertaining tweets as she hobknobs with celebs and shares inspiring anecdotes from other cancer survivors. @RobinRoberts
12. Mary Grove
Mary Grove is the Director of Google for Entrepreneurs. With a passion for building her community, Mary is constantly tweeting about what's next in technology and business. @maryGrove
13. Maya Angelou
There's nothing but reverence in our hearts for Dr. Maya Angelou. Please follow this poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, civil-rights activist, producer and director for tweets that are always worth retweeting. @DrMayaAngelou
14. Gabby Douglas
We've watched her kick major Olympic gymnast butt, but following Gabby Douglas is nothing like following an obnoxious teen who has more gold medals than you. It's just like following your little sister. Check out Gabby's adorable tweets! @gabrielledoug
15. Donna Brazile
You've definitely seen her byline before. Donna Brazile is a political strategist, contributor to CNN and ABC News, educator, author and more. Follow her tweets for absolutely everything a woman of color could ever care about. @donnabrazile
16. Shonda Rhimes
Other than creating one of the biggest shows to his Black Twitter since...well...anything Tyler Perry put out, Shonda Rhimes is one to follow on Twitter and in life! Her tweets are often inspirational and "Scandal"-related. @shondarhimes