When sixth-grader Alejandro Buxton decided to make a special candle for his mom back in 2019, he had no idea that move would grow into a full-fledged business.
After all, there aren’t too many 11-year-old CEOs out there. But that’s exactly what Alejandro is now.
“My mom really likes candles, but she would get headaches from the smell, and it would also trigger my asthma due to the paraffin wax, a byproduct of petroleum,” he explains. So Alejandro, then just 8 years old, set out to find a cleaner, more natural way to make a candle that his mom could enjoy.
Patricia Buxton, his mother, had experimented with making candles before. “Alejandro was like, ‘Why don’t you teach me?’ He was very interested in the process and the chemistry behind making the candles,” says Buxton.
Alejandro has always been entrepreneurial, she adds. “Even from a very young age, he was always looking for ways to earn his own money, either by selling lemonade, picking weeds, or cutting grass,” says Buxton.
After deciding to form a business, Alejandro started brainstorming potential names. “Finally, I got to thinking—you smell candles, and they bring joy and love into your home, so why don’t we call it ‘Smell of Love Candles’?” he says.
“The name truly goes with his personality,” says Buxton. “He just wants to bring joy and happiness to others. It’s been a big theme in everything he does.”
Smell of Love Candles launched in September 2020 and uses all non-GMO soy and coconut waxes, as well as essential oils that are certified to be clean. They can be purchased online and in person at local markets throughout the NoVA area.
Alejandro and his mother give a portion of the proceeds to local charities every month.
The business has seen some real highlights over the past year and a half—one being catching the attention of Vice President Kamala Harris while selling candles at a DC market just before last Christmas.
“I saw her walk down [with Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff] and she was like, ‘I’ve heard about you,’ and I was like ‘Wow, she knows me?’” recalls Alejandro. “I was pretty shocked because there’s a lot of stuff going on in the world other than an 11-year-old with a candle business, so it was pretty exciting.”