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I Run This: Jamahl and Natalie Grace

Name: Jamahl and Natalie Grace

Pronouns: He/him/his; She/Her/Hers

Location: Sterling, VA

What is the name of your business and what do you do? 

Grace+Love Candle Co. We are a home fragrances boutique that handcraft scented products to inspire good feelings and even better memories.

Describe yourself in three words.

Creative, curious, faithful

Why did you decide to start your own business? How did you get started? 

We started this business because my wife loves candles and we couldn’t find them like we wanted at the beginning of the pandemic. While everyone was stocking up on groceries and toilet paper we were stocking up on candles. But when we quickly burned through them and couldn’t find any candles that we liked or were affordable we took to making them ourselves.

What was the biggest lesson you learned in the first year?

The biggest lesson was that, in business, every “no” is even more reason to keep going.

How does running your own business make you feel? 

It literally makes me feel like the possibilities are endless and my ability to give back will grow more and more every day.

What are some of the hurdles or roadblocks you’ve faced?

I would say the biggest hurdle is funding and navigating the manufacturing and production space.

What are some challenges that Hispanic/Latinx small business owners face that others may not? 

I personally think one of the biggest challenges is just understanding the business world and enterprise risk management. Things such as scalability, having an appropriate business model, and being compliant with regulatory requirements.

What unique perspectives do you bring to the small business economy as a Hispanic/Latinx business owner? 

Both my wife and I have been able to combine our education and our corporate experience and apply it directly to our business. Things that we have learned from many leaders and professionals that provided invaluable experiences.

What are some of your major wins or accomplishments? What are your proudest moments? 

Our biggest accomplishments are striking partnerships with companies such as Zulily and Sam’s Club. Our proudest moments are when our children look at this company and see themselves reflected in it.

What are the next big plans you have for your business?

Our next big plans are continuing to grow our brand to become a household name both domestically and internationally. To line the shelves of upscale retail stores and continue to fulfill our mission.

When you’re having a tough day, who or what inspires you to keep going? 

Hands down, our children are why we do everything that we do. Our family keeps us going and the sacrifices of everyone before us gives us strength.

How can Hispanic/Latinx small businesses give back to their community? 

We believe the best way to give back is to teach what you know and share the knowledge you have gained. Everyone is presented with the same opportunities as you and lifting each other up is the only way for everyone to grow.

What advice would you give other Hispanic/Latinx entrepreneurs just starting out? 

Keep going and remember why you started! The nights will be long, the negativity will exist and through it all keep going and remember why you started.

What’s your “power song” and why? 

Music is a love language for me so this is a hard question. If I had to choose just one for at least in this moment in my life I would probably say “Yo No Se Manana” by Luis Enrique

Visit us all month for “I Run This,” where we will be spotlighting more inspiring LatinX small business owners during National Hispanic Heritage Month. 

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