Everyone knows that Brooklyn, N.Y. is home to some of the biggest hustlers in the game. After all, two of the music industry’s biggest names, Jay Z and the late Notorious B.I.G., got their start on its gritty streets. These days, the streets are less gritty, but the hustle is still going strong, just ask 28-year-old Brooklyn native Denequa Williams. Williams is the founder and creator of LIT Brooklyn, a luxury candle line that features full-size candles, travel candles and matches. Each candle is created with 100% natural soy wax and is hand poured, packaged and shipped from Brooklyn by Williams herself.
EBONY.com sat down with the candle maven to find out more about her journey as an entrepreneur, and how through it all, she manages to stay LIT.
EBONY: What inspired LIT?
Denequa Williams: My love for candles inspired LIT. I’ve always loved the idea of how one significant thing could transform the entire ambiance of a room.
EBONY: Did you know anything about business before you started?
DW: I actually did know quite a bit about business before I started LIT. My late father owned an extremely successful business for over 30 years. So, having seen what hard work and dedication looked like first hand, it was almost destined for me to start my own business. I was equipped with the tools to be successful, and excellence was always engrained in my DNA.
EBONY: What’s a typical day like for you?
DW: A typical day for me is getting up around 6 a.m., Ive mastered the art of waking up at that time without an alarm clock, lol. I say a prayer, thanking God for what he has helped me accomplish, and thanking him in advance for everything that I will accomplish. Then, I make a cup of tea and check my emails. I then proceed to complete pending orders and get them fulfilled. Although that’s pretty much the gist, every day of my life, believe it or not can also be completely spontaneous and I’ve grown to love it that way. The unknown keeps me on my toes.
EBONY: What’s been your biggest challenge/lesson learned?
DW: To be careful who you entrust and share your vision with. Every one’s intentions aren’t the same, and unless someone is as passionate as you are, they’ll never understand.
EBONY: What has been your biggest success as an entrepreneur to date?
DW: Wow, that’s a really great question! I would have to say being invited by Lenny S. to the RocNation office, and also being able to inspire so many women to go after their dreams fearlessly. I get tons of emails of women who are complete strangers telling me how proud they are of me.
EBONY: What’s the significance behind the candle names?
DW: The significance behind the candle names are all things that are dear to me. 1989 is named after the year I was born. Home, which is my favorite scent, because I think that’s what every home should smell like. Muse, because it’s just the perfect scent to keep you inspired. Joy was created to make you smile and keep you happy. Beau, is for your significant other.
EBONY: What makes LIT different from other candles on the market?
DW: LIT is different because it was inspired by my love of candles and travel. I’ve always been in love with the idea of traveling with things that remind you of home, and my candles allow you to create and bring your favorite memory along for the trek. I think it’s also different because I am hands on with every aspect of LIT, from the emails, to the labeling, to the pouring, to the shipping. I have hand poured every single candle since I launched. Every candle is literally made from my home to be enjoyed in yours.
EBONY: You’re headed off on a jetset adventure, which LIT candle is in your bag?
DW: Home and HU$TLE. HU$TLE was a limited edition floral scent that I did with momtrepreneur and social media influencer Mia Ray.
EBONY: Do you have plans to expand the line?
DW: I do have plans to expand the line, actually working on a project now. I’ll be sure to give you the scoop first!
EBONY: Celebs and media personalities like Karen Civil love to get LIT! What celeb are you dying to get your candles to?
DW: Without a doubt and with absolutely no hesitation. Jay Z & Oprah.
EBONY: Where do you see LIT in 5 years?
DW: In 5 years, I see LIT as an established household name, both locally & internationally. I also have plans to get into philanthropy.
EBONY: What advice do you have for other women entrepreneurs? Best piece of advice you received?
DW: My advice would be that whatever it is that you set out to do, make sure you are passionate about it. I would also tell them to be prepared to spend some time alone, it is necessary for your growth, especially when it comes to your business. In business, in general, it’s almost inevitable not to become inspired, but be sure to remain original.
The best advice I’ve ever been given is in the form of a quote and is actually from a podcast. One of my fave business women, Myleik, founder of CURLBOX, had Datwon (EIC of VIBE Magazine) as a guest. The quote is “Dream of the life you want and pursue it with reckless abandon.” I have that quote written in my workspace and I repeat it to myself daily. We all have dreams, and they all have the possibility and potential to become reality. You just gotta put the work in.
EBONY: Describe the LIT life in three words.
DW: BEST JOB EVER!