We had the good fortune of connecting with Chantal Winston and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Chantal, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk-taking is something that has been significantly present throughout my journey with BLKessence. A few months before launching my business in October 2020, I decided to quit my teaching assistant job to go back to school full-time in pursuit of my bachelor’s degree, which was a huge risk taking moment in itself. After months of candlemaking, testing, and brand planning, I vividly remember the moment I annoucned the launch of BLKessence on my personal Instagram page. I was literally terrified and worried about what people would think. I actually launched BLKessence a month before I originally planned because I realized that the more I pushed my launch date back, the longer it would take for me to muster up the courage to just do it. Quitting my job to pursue my bachelor’s degree full-time at one of the top public universities in the world, then officially launching my candle brand all within a few months is one of the riskiest things I’ve done.

What should our readers know about your business?
BLKessence is my vegan, non-toxic, clean-burning candle company. I started BLKessence as a candle lover myself! After experimenting with candlemaking, realizing how therapeutic it was for me, then doing research on large candle companies and learning how unhealthy their ingredients are, I decided that I wanted to launch a clean candle brand. As someone who never really saw myself as an entrepreneur growing up, one of my biggest challenges throughout my journey with BLKessence has been my inner voice and imposter syndrome. Luckily, I’m so grateful to have a strong foundation and an extremely encouraging support system!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a big foodie so if my best friend was coming to visit the Bay Area, I would take her to all of my fave food spots including Sweet July for coffee, Luka’s for their mac & cheese and catfish bites, and Oeste for drinks and the yummiest dinner.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to my sister circle, my closest friends. They have been extremely supportive throughout my entire journey with BLKessence. They’re the ones who snap me out of my imposter syndrome moments, cosign future candle scents/ideas, and continue to be my biggest cheerleaders. So a big shoutout to yall!

Website: https://blkessence.com/

Instagram: @blkessenceco

Other: TikTok: @blkessenceco

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