Rose Powell’s candles will tell you a lot about her. Lemon verbena-scented Boss Life provides empowerment to dream-chasers like her. Rosy Herstory celebrates important women throughout history who no doubt inspire her along her way, and macadamia nut- and coffee-scented Shady channels the playfully chill part of her personality.
The eighth-grader is also a dynamic activist. Five percent of Save the Turtles candle sales go toward turtle conservation and her passion for social justice can be seen in the proceeds she donates to organizations that support girls’ education.
She’s highly conscious of human and environmental sensitivities to fragrances—all of her scents are paraffin-free and have been approved by her allergic-to-everything dad. Shop Rose + Co Candles and read on to learn more about Rose.
If you could tell people only one thing about Rose + Co candles, what would it be?
Our mission is to show that you can achieve your dreams no matter what people say. People have had prejudices about me and my company solely based on things that I can not change, like my race, gender, or age. But I have not allowed those opinions to stop me, and if I had, I would not be where I am today.
Can you tell us about your formulas?
We use a blend of all-natural soy and coconut wax. In contrast, most mainstream candles (typically the less expensive ones) are made out of paraffin wax, which is not the best for the environment and is something that many people are allergic to. We also use cotton wicks or cotton and paper blend wicks.
How do you like running a business? What’s your favorite part?
Running a business is amazing. It may not always be fun, but you end up taking away something valuable no matter the experience. My favorite part is interacting with customers and getting to experience the joy that my product gives someone. I get lovely and heartwarming messages from customers that make me want to do this forever.
Your family owns Rose + Co. and Johanna Howard Home. What’s it like being part of an entrepreneurial family?
There is truly never a dull moment. We’re always doing something or working on a new project. To be completely truthful, sometimes it can be stressful because you’re working with your family and they will be the bluntest co-workers you have ever met.
It makes us much more efficient because we’re not held back from telling the truth and able to keep each other in check. My dad and I are a great team because we’re very similar.
Do you have any big plans for the future of your business?
I definitely see myself expanding my brand because a key element in keeping customers engaged is evolution. Whether that is changing packaging, improving my formulas, or adding new fragrances, it ensures that my business is interesting and engaging.
What inspired you to donate a portion of your profits to charities that support girls’ education?
I’ve always wanted to be an activist for POC rights, women’s rights, and LGBTQ+ rights. I knew that I wanted to start that work when I started the company because I have a message to share about women’s rights. I felt that it was the perfect opportunity to spread the fact that some girls are denied the basic right of education simply because of their gender.
I want to continue the work of my ancestors and make the best place for those that come after me. My family defies the prejudices and difficulties of this world and I want to use that as a tool.
What about your business makes you feel the proudest?
I am most proud of some of the partnerships that we have made. With Bloomingdales, for example. Being in the same store as luxury brands like Chanel, Coach, and Burberry is something I never expected to do.
What else is important to you in your life?
The performing arts are extremely important to me because I have always been a theatre kid. Ever since I was little I have been singing, dancing, and acting. I hope to one day pursue a career in a related field.
Who has helped you along the way and how are you looking to help others in the future?
My parents have helped me the most. They loaned me the money to start my business (which I paid back) and believed in me from the beginning. They knew I was serious about having a real company and helped me get there without brushing off my dream as just a hobby. My parents are and have always been my greatest inspiration and I would not trade them for the world.