Updated: Apr 24, 2020
Marie’s Halo was created in honor of “mum”, the late grandmother of Andessa Augustin, a native of St. Lucia.
Growing up in St. Lucia, “mum” instilled in her the importance of being a creator and making a name for herself. Andessa grew up watching her “mum’s” entrepreneurial spirit; baking and creating knick-knacks for residents of the village, influencing the birth of Marie’s Halo soy candles.
Marie's Halo was birthed in Brooklyn, NY but now resides in Baltimore, MD where small batches are hand poured and cured for hours to obtain classic finishing. Each candle is made with love, using all-natural soy wax, 100% cotton wicks and phthalate-free fragrance oils to produce an environmentally friendly product that all customers are comfortable burning in their homes.
Who is Andessa Augustin and what was your motivation for starting your brand?
I am an accounting professional, serial entrepreneur and proud St. Lucian. I migrated to the United States at the age of eight and I was raised mostly by my late grandmother “Mum”. We spent all of our afternoons in her garden where she grew crops, herbs, and plants. She would create teas and scented body oils using the herbs from her garden. Mum is one of my greatest motivations and I started Marie’s Halo in her memory. She taught me to use my hands. Now, I am able to bake, create candles, room sprays, and sometimes even do hair. Amongst my circle, I am known to make something out of nothing and I am using everything she taught me to create my products and build my brand.
My daily grind includes working as an accounting specialist at a large education-based non-profit organization. Fortunately, I work remotely from my apartment in Baltimore, Maryland affording me the opportunity to be flexible in my schedule to work more on growing my brand. I am also fortunate for my accounting background because it helps me to manage my personal and business finances. On a typical day, I am running reports, preparing documents, managing records, and invoicing on our accounting system. I also assist with the fiscal year-end cut-off documentation for invoice review. The most rewarding aspect of my job is training new staff that joins my team because I am able to contribute to their growth and success in the organization.
What are some of the main challenges you faced with growing your brand?
Marie’s Halo is not just a candle brand, it’s an experience. Therefore, I continuously evaluate my product line, the best/worst sellers, my prices, and customer engagement. My products have gone through many changes so far from packaging to labeling because I am constantly trying to improve my products.
While growing a brand can be rewarding, I have faced several challenges such as marketing my products and developing a unique look. There are several other businesses out there like mine, but they are all different in their own way. Marketing my products is interesting because I have to be able to sell my products without people physically touching or smelling them. So, I have to come up with creative ways using social media to attract buyers. I also use social media frequently to promote various pop-up shops that I have participated in. There, people touch, smell, and fall in love with my products. Once they smell my scents, they are hooked and thankfully, I have been extremely successful at every pop up that I have attended so far.
What is some advice that you would have for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?
My advice for someone wanting to start this journey is to have a business plan with room for edits. Your first idea won’t be your last, and the constant development of ideas can aide in the expansion of your business. Also, leave room for creativity. Often times, I get influenced by various things and it inspires me to create a new scent or product line so leaving room for creativity helps.
What is next for Andessa Augustin?
I am still trying to figure this out. I recently re-launched my candle line, Marie’s Halo and I am loving the feedback so far. I have a new website, a new label, and new packaging and I am very excited about the changes. I am participating in a few pop-up events throughout NYC in the next month. Marie’s Halo will also be in stock at Willow and Sage, a small gift shop in Stamford, CT and SlayJ6y hair salon in Elmont, NY where all of my products will be available for purchase.
Check out Marie’s Halo products at marieshalo.com and follow @marieshalo on Instagram