We had the good fortune of connecting with Shawntelle Bivens and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shawntelle, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
Our motto at Black Box Candle Co. is “Culture, Self Care, and Community”. When I design a candle, I hold each of these pillars in my spirit and heart. I deeply value the connection that can be found in these areas. Each candle I make, has some relation to culture. Whether it be, ethnic, generational, or even expressions of sex & intimacy, you will be able to celebrate various pieces of your intersectional identity. While embracing who you are, I hope that Black Box Candles allow you to create the space for your self care. Self care is currently a buzz word but I hope with some love and guidance, you will be able to unapologetically put yourself first. This for me, means actively taking the time to block the outside and focus within. Lighting your candle is just one of the many ways to choose you. Lastly, community! Our communities are the most important things we are apart of. How we survive and thrive is connected to those around us. Both different and alike. Black Box Candle Co. uses culture and self care to foster a stronger sense of community. We bond over our culture and we grow in strength when we take time to care for ourselves. Because we believe in the importance of community, Black Box hosts fundraisers to support various causes. We raised over $1000 when selling our Black Lives Matter Candle and donated the proceeds to organizations like C.O.P.E, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, House of GG and more. At times it is difficult to know whether you make an impact but as long as I can positively connect with at least one person, I know I have made a difference in the world.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I was listening to a podcast called “Jesus & Jollof” with Luvvie Jones and Yvonne Orji and they were talking about what sets them apart. “When you walk down the aisle of a grocery store, you will see the same product but tons of different brands. There is enough for them all to be successful “. This conversation really helped with my imposter syndrome. Before launching, I doubted myself because I was “not a candle maker” and thought that I didn’t belong in this industry. Slowly, I began noticing that my family and friends would laugh and praise the designs and phrases I came up with. They said they would never think about putting some of the things I do, on a candle. That’s when I realized my brand was creating candles that connect with people on a deeper level. Candles that celebrate culture, self care and you support your community when you purchase. At the end of the day, I sell vegan soy wax candles and so do tons of other people. What sets me apart is the vibe and experience that comes along with purchasing and burning a Black Box candle. My candles are different because they are an extension of me and I am the only me out there. That’s what makes it so special!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Monday- Forest Falls Hike (San Bernardino National Forest) Tuesday- Night life, dancing and music at The Vault in Downtown Redlands
Wednesday-Lake Hemet for fishing
Thursday- First grab vegan tacos and burritos from Justvegana in Fontana! then head to drive in movie (2 for 1) feature at the Rubidoux in Riverside
Friday-Nightlife, dancing, music at Proabition in Downtown Riverside
Saturday- Morning (Olive Market in Redlands for breakfast & Coffee) Evening (Vital Pomona with Dj Nickyboi)
Sunday – IE Vegan Sunday food festival in Downtown San Bernardino
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I used to love listening to the radio and hearing people shout out to those they love! Soooo.. I want to shout out my mom, sister, grandma and brother for staying up late nights to pack orders, my cousins and friends for giving feedback on my designs, my intern for being my right hand woman, and literally the various communities that have accepted me with open arms and provided these opportunities! Imma go ahead and shout out GOD too because I’m beyond grateful for this journey!