New York City, NY

Paige's Candle Co. Helps Light The Way For NYC's Inner-City Communities

Ann Brown

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Paige GrahamPhoto: Matt Dutile

Making candles for Paige Graham is more about community than just craft. Born and raised in the Bronx, this New Yorker uses her small, Black woman-owned business, Paige's Candle Co. to improve inner-city, low-income neighborhoods through craftsmanship.

“I help create artistically stimulating environments for low-income New York City residents who want to explore creative outlets and generally do not have access to them,” says Graham. “I am most proud of my ability to develop unique vegan candles and share my craft with others. When you purchase from Paige’s Candle Co, you’re helping to invest in equity and accessibility to art education.”

A portion of the sales of Paige’s Candle products is donated to offer free candle-making classes taught by Graham to New York City non-profit organizations. A portion of all sales are also donated to City Harvest, a non-profit helping to feed hungry New Yorkers.

“I help create artistically stimulating environments for low-income New York City residents who want to explore creative outlets and generally do not have access to them,” says Graham.

Graham is a strong believer that access to natural products should not be constrained by one's zip code. Through her craft, she strives to create products that contribute towards a positive and healthy lifestyle accessible to everyone, she stresses.

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Paige’s Candle Co.Photo: Matt Dutile

Launched in 2017, Paige’s Candle Co. makes and ships vegan soy wax candles with phthalate-free fragrances such as Green Tea & Citrus, Pineapple Sage, and Rose & Patchouli. The best-selling scent is Earl Grey.

“I love creating new aromas. It's similar to cooking - blending and experimenting with fragrances is really cool,” who first got into candle making in 2011.

Graham crafts her fragrance blends in the NYC boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn.

“My studio is in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and I reside in Ridgewood, Queens. I work at the studio and from home,” sells Graham, who sells her products on Etsy, on her own website, and at various New York City stores. Most of her candles retail under $20.

Paige’s Candle Co. is actually Graham’s second go-round of professional candle-making.

“I had a candle business in my early 20s that was unsuccessful,” she shares. “In my early 20s I knew that I wanted to be my own boss and have financial freedom. I had many interests and decided that I wanted to delve into the art of candle making. It was a quick moment's decision, and I never backed out from it. I always knew that I wanted a candle business that was community-oriented and decided to take another shot before I entered my 30s.”

From the beginning, community engagement was always part of Graham’s business plan. “I have always been passionate about community outreach and really appreciated the various art programs that I participated in my youth. I knew that I wanted to work with non-profit organizations in some capacity when I started my business,” she says.

For Graham, the arts are vital to a community and its people. “I grew up in a low-income inner-city environment in the Bronx. At the time, my father involved me in after-school activities and art programs that were free for youth in the area,” she recalls. “I firmly believe that access to these various programs sparked my creativity and enhanced my positive outlook on life and I knew that I wanted to contribute locally in the same capacity through my business.”

Helping the community for Graham also means to be present. “First and foremost, showing up. When there are community events and businesses that need your support, it's important to check them out. Having a sense of community brings people together in a positive way,” she notes.

Moving forward, Graham aims to increase her online sales and offer more in-person workshops this year.

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Ann Brown has been a freelance writer for more than two decades. She studied journalism at New York University and has her B.A. Born in New York City, Ann lived in Praia, Cabo Verde, for nearly a decade. She created “An American In Cape Verde,” a Facebook community. Among the topics she writes about are: business, travel, entertainment, and lifestyles.

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