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New London woman honors Black culture through new candle company

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New London — What does a 2Pac song smell like?

In Kylah Chadwick's creative vision through candle-making, depending on the song, it could be like blackberry sage or like grape and sugar. Her blackberry sage candle is called Blacker Berry Sweeter Juice, in reference to the 2Pac's song "Keep Ya Head Up," and the Dear Mama candle references a song of the same name.

The Dear Mama candle bears the description "infused with love, sweet like candy." The candle is also a reference to her mother, whose nickname was Candy and who died when Chadwick was 16.

Chadwick has six other candle scents that aren't references to 2Pac songs, but the common thread is they celebrate Black culture — or as she puts it on Instagram, "honoring our culture through lit scents."

She wanted to do something honoring Black culture and found her vessel in candle-making. Chadwick, 24, spent a lot of time researching different jars, wicks and fragrance oils, and coming up with the right calculations.

Her New London apartment felt much bigger before it was filled with candle-making supplies.

Chadwick launched So Black Candle Co. on Sept. 21, her mother's birthday, and has sold more than 100 candles so far. The 8-ounce candles are $15 each and can be purchased through her website, soblackcandleco.com.

Her limited-edition pumpkin spice latte candle is called Boo'd Up, after the 2018 R&B song by English singer Ella Mai.

Chadwick said the candle that ended up being most popular is Double Melanin, which is cocoa butter cashmere scented and "infused with black girl magic." The Gramm's Kitchen candle is sweet potato pie scented.

"One of her favorite things is to cook, especially around the holidays," Chadwick said of her grandmother.

Her Ready, Set, Dream candle, which smells like citrus and vanilla, is dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with the jar saying it's "infused with King energy." The Living Single candle, in reference to the 1990s sitcom, is pineapple and sage scented and "infused with stress free energy."

So Fresh So Clean smells like fresh laundry and references an Outkast song.

Chadwick grew up in New London with her parents and two younger sisters, and she has fond memories of going to cookouts with other families, and there was always music playing. She graduated from Science and Technology Magnet High School in New London in 2014 and went to McDaniel College in Maryland.

She then went to the University of Connecticut to get her master's in social work, graduating this past May. Chadwick launched her candle company just as she was starting a new job on the crisis team for 211.

She is working on some Christmas scents, and in the future she wants "to get some more masculine scents for guys" and would love to get a storefront someday. Chadwick said word has gotten out about her company through just telling her inner circle, and that people are excited to see the names of her candles.

"I feel like it's very important for more people to take up spaces in different industries," she said, adding, "Representation is so important."

e.moser@theday.com

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