By Dylan Deprey
If COVID-19 was a shadow, Cheresse Jennings felt like she was in complete darkness.
The pandemic was made extra difficult, when her mother was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer.
Her mother continued to work during her chemotherapy treatments. She had one wish for her and her daughter, to start a business.
“She told me, ‘Cheresse, when I get done with this chemo, I really want us to get a business going because I don’t want to work anymore,’” Jennings said.
While trolling the internet, she came across a woman explaining her candle business. It sparked memories of doing crafts with her mother as a kid.
“I jumped up and was like ‘Mom, let’s make candles!’” Jennings said.
They started on the research and development phase for their new venture during summer 2020 but then it came to a sudden halt.
Jennings’s mother passed away.
She experienced a roller coaster of emotions, and ended up extremely depressed. She said it was her five children that kept her flame going—they were her five little lights.
“Unfortunately, I lost mom,” she said. “A week after that, I applied for my LLC. I had to continue her dream.”
The basement was converted into a candle workshop, and Jennings got to business. After some trial and error experimenting with waxes and scents, 5 Little Lites Homemade Candles was established.
While some candle companies opt for the aesthetic, Jennings said her scents were meant to transport people outside of their living space. From tropical bamboo and coconut, to rustic rosemary and sage, the scents dance across the room.
“My customers love the smell, and are more interested in the natural and holistic purposes, so that’s what I work with,” Jennings said. “But, there’s a bit of calculation that goes into candle making, it’s very precise.”
Her basement workshop is temperature controlled for her special wax blend to melt and cure properly. She also said that the right wicking method was essential for a stronger scented, longer burning candle.
“I want to tantalize senses, get the fragrances going,” she said.
As her business continues to grow, Jennings said she has big plans for the future. At the moment, she has taken on a bigger workload along with owning a new small business.
“On top of being a business owner and mama, I’m finishing up my degree, and once I’m finished in December, I’ll be doing a lot more,” she said.
Find 5 Little Lites Homemade candles on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/5littlelites.