Alejandro Buxton, the 12-year-old CEO of Vienna-based candle company Smell of Love, is making huge strides in his goal to spread joy through natural, sustainable candles, and is even making NoVA-region history on the way. Alejandro opened his company’s first permanent retail kiosk in Tysons Corner mall on September 1, making him the youngest leaseholder in Tysons’ history.
“To be able to showcase our candles inside Tysons Corner is amazing. My mom grew up in this mall, this is where our family still shops today, and to be able to bring our candles here feels surreal,” Alejandro said in a press release.
When the family first began making candles, they were operating out of their kitchen at home and could only make small batches. They eventually moved the production down to their basement which increased their capacity to about 100 to 200 candles at a time. Now with the Tysons location, they don’t have to store as many products at home, so they are able to create 500 to 600 candles at a time, according to Patricia Buxton, Alejandro’s mom.
“I want to see our candles in almost every single household, and all of that joy invading everyone’s house,” Alejandro says.
The scents available at the Tysons kiosk are on a rotating basis (right now is the prime time to stock up on the new fall line), but if they don’t have your favorite scent in-store, the entire collection is sold on the website. Also available at the kiosk are a limited line of soaps and lotions created by Alejandro’s sister, which are not yet sold online.
In addition to fresh scents and clean ingredients, the candles all feature creative, quirky titles that are sure to put a smile on your face; “Pumpk Up the Jam” and “Donut Kill My Vibe” are just a couple of the fun fall scents.
The creative vision of the company, including those playful names, is up to Alejandro, while Patricia runs the practical, financial aspects of the business. To make sure he learns about all aspects of entrepreneurship, Alejandro sits in on business meetings with his mom.
“He’s very vocal about where he wants to take the company and so we keep his vision front and center … but we also want him to learn the back end, because it’s not just making candles. It’s so much more than that,” Patricia says.
With the entrepreneurial expertise he’s gaining from running this business at such a young age, Alejandro hopes to one day go on to create an engineering business. Proceeds from the business went towards Alejandro’s college fund to help him pursue that dream, as well as contributing to local charities every month.
In addition to the online store and the Tysons location, Smell of Love candles continues to appear at pop-up markets and festivals all throughout the DMV nearly every weekend, where Alejandro and his mom continue to spread the love in-person.
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