After moving from her native Texas to New York City’s Harlem, Teri Johnson, a travel and lifestyle expert, embarked on an intensive research journey that led her to discover her new neighborhood’s vibrant past. Inspired by the stories of music legends like Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington, and the iconic places they performed, Teri, a jazz and fragrance lover, set out to honor the area’s rich history through the power of scent. What started out of Teri’s kitchen is today the Harlem Candle Co., a sought-after luxury home fragrance brand that celebrates the Harlem Renaissance.
As a child, Teri was obsessed with her favorite aunt’s collection of exotic perfumes and travel stories. This planted the seed for her own relationship with travel and fragrances. It took Teri to 68 countries around the world, through which she discovered the power of scent and its ability to transport you through time and place. This was the foundation of her entrepreneurial idea, and a beautifully scented candle became the perfect vehicle through which Teri would make it a reality.
“In 2013, I decided to experiment with making my own candles using custom fragrances given to me by a friend who is a perfumer,” Teri shared. “My initial batch of 50 candles was such a hit among my friends and family that I decided to make more of them to sell at local artisan markets and pop-up shops.” The reactions to Teri’s fragrances and the stories connected to the names of each candle were overwhelmingly positive and her customer base quickly grew. “That’s when I knew that the Harlem Candle Co. had the potential to become a global brand.”
Built through Teri’s grit and creativity, the Harlem Candle Co. is now a wildly popular luxury home fragrance brand that offers candles (12 oz, travel, and sets), room sprays and reed diffusers. Each is meticulously crafted to tell a story, like the ‘Josephine’ candle, which is inspired by the boudoir of Josephine Baker with fragrance notes of Moroccan rose, Indian jasmine, tonka bean and vanilla.
In designing her brand’s signature fragrances, Teri works alongside award-winning perfumers. Each candle is specially handcrafted using top grade soy blend wax, infused with one of a kind fragrance oils, and tells a story while taking you on an olfactory journey. The subtle scents and soft glows from Harlem candles instantly enhance your space while creating a sense of comfort and luxury.