We had the good fortune of connecting with Shanice Thompson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shanice, what do you attribute your success to?
I started Miletree Candles in May 2020 after losing my job in hospitality and event planning. It was always a dream of mine to start a business after graduating from Suffolk University with a business degree and after losing my job and watching what the pandemic did to the industry pushed me to get things going. I have a passion for cooking and I’m always burning candles so I thought, let me combine my two passions together! I wanted to start a business influenced by my Caribbean heritage (my family is from Barbados), so I named the company Miletree and all of my candle fragrances are island inspired. Casuarina trees (also known as Mile trees in Barbados), grow around the island and along the beaches. When the wind blows they sway and make a tranquil sound. I want to provide my customers with that same relaxing experience when they light a Miletree Candle.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My background in hospitality has provided me with a customer first mentality. It’s imperative that the customer has the best experience when purchasing and using the product. I made sure the product was sustainable by using a 100% non-GMO coconut soy wax, lead-free cotton wicks and natural essential oils. I also use eco-friendly packaging, our vessels are ceramic and I encourage everyone to re-use them! I’ve seen many brands with Caribbean influence but the founders aren’t from the Caribbean. Miletree Candles is an extension of me and my experiences visiting family in Barbados. I have been going non stop since the pandemic started and have been going to various vending events on weekends, invested money from my day job and reinvested money made from the business back into the business so it can continue to grow. It has not been an easy road! There have been setbacks and roadblocks from vendor shipping delays to the lack of funds in some cases but I’ve found out it’s important to be able to pivot and adjust plans as things change unexpectedly in these uncertain times. I want to provide the world with a piece of my culture and give them the experience as if they were on the beaches of Barbados when they burn a Miletree Candle. I want people to know that they can pursue their dreams and once you put the work in you can accomplish what you put your mind to.
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?
Since I’m from the Caribbean and I love to cook and eat! These are the Jamaican restaurants I recommend; 1. By LAX: Hungry Joe’s Jamaican Restaurant, 2. Inglewood Blessed Tropical Cuisine, 3. Culver City: The Jerk Spot Jamaican Restaurant. I am a pescatarian but I enjoy looking for vegan restaurants as well, for Mexican food I recommend; El Cocinero Restaurant in Van Nuys CA, Crossroads Kitchen on Melrose for their vegan brunch on Sundays and during the week choose any pasta dish, you won’t regret it! You have to hike to the Hollywood sign, then grab tacos at Tacos Delta in Silver Lake. Take a nice drive on the PCH highway, but drive all the way to Santa Barbara, it’s so beautiful! I enjoy going to Huntington Beach and renting bikes! On the weekend I would look for an art show or a local market and support small businesses!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to shout out Our Piece of The Pie! They are an artisan market celebrating local BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) owned businesses, artists, and culture. Their market has provided me with an opportunity to grow the business and receive the much needed feedback about our products. I have met some of the most amazing entrepreneurs there, many who have gone on to be close friends with whom I get to share the journey of entrepreneurship together! Our Piece of The Pie has been monumental to our growth and development!
Mind 2 Sight Productions, Chattel House