Local Business

D.C. Makes Room for Local Candle Co.

Second of a three-part series

Out of a love for home, good scents and comfort, Maryland native Amina Ahmad crafted a candle and beauty goods business that’s uniquely D.C.

As a student at the University of Maryland, College Park studying environmental science, Ahmad’s love for crafting and do it yourself projects turned into Handmade Habitat.

“I always wanted to do something creative, but I didn’t know what that looked like,” she said. “I use to do a lot of sewing when I was younger. In college there was a summer when I was in between moving and instead of getting a regular job somewhere I tried selling my products.

“They were things that I made over the years, I sold them at markets and I got addicted pretty quickly,” she said. “And from there it just kind of grew.”

Ahmad characterizes Handmade Habitat as an all-natural soy candle beauty goods company with a lot of the scents based in presence, mindfulness and finding comfort at home.

“It’s really comforting, very beneficial for you mentally and physically,” she said. “Aromatherapy is really good for helping you out in a lot of different ways that’s what I really like about it. I’m a homebody in general. I love being at home, being comfortable, having all my favorite things around with a good scent burning, spending time taking care of myself.”

Ahmad joked that she would never leave the house if left up to her, but her candles allow for the constant burning unlike others.

“When I first started making candles, there was a lot of information out there about how some candles that are more traditionally made are really toxic for your indoor air quality and really bad for the environment,” she said. “So when I made mine, I made sure they were really sustainable and healthy to burn in your home.”

Around the time when the Made in DC initiative began to form, Ahmad moved her business into the District for the opportunities. Now, as one one of the featured vendors in the first wave of small-business owners in the brick-and-mortar Made in DC store at 1330 19th Street NW, she’s pleased with the evolution.

“I’ve been involved since the beginning,” she said. “I was one of the early members of the Made in DC initiative when they were doing pop-ups and markets. It’s really cool to see how they’ve evolved over the years.”

Ahmad said she can make up to 100 candles a day, and with the growth of her business in the past few months and the product placement in the Made in DC store, things don’t appear to be slowing down.

“I’ve been in business eight years and it’s a hard thing to build in your business,” she said. It’s very difficult to get into brick-and-mortar and start cultivating your wholesale relationships and with different stores. To have a store to specifically dedicated to people who are making things themselves in the District is great.”

Ahmad said there is a difference in having products manufactured versus hand-making them yourself.

“It’s a lot harder to run a business when you’re making the product,” she said. “It’s a little bit easier when you can pay someone else, or get something manufactured, then it is to be the person who is making it. For the past eight years, its been just me, so to have the government promoting businesses like mine, it’s really great to see that.”

For the holidays, Handmade Habitat released a collection of three festive scents, with a portion of the proceeds going to Friendship Place DC, a nonprofit that deals with ending homelessness.

“I like to give to local nonprofits when I can, because they tend to get less upfront funding like the big nationals one do that are also based in the District,” Ahmad said.

Other than candles, Handmade Habitat offers bath salts and roller-ball perfumes.

“I’m in the studios most days making candles, packaging, putting together bath and beauty products,” she said. “It’s a lot of making things. All of my products are really eco-friendly, being mindful of the earth and how to live in it.”

Tags
Show More

Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s millennial publication. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, she attended Howard University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. A proud southern girl, her lineage can be traced to the Gullah people inhabiting the low-country of South Carolina. The history of the Gullah people and the Geechee Dialect can be found on the top floor of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In her spare time she enjoys watching either college football or the Food Channel and experimenting with make-up. When she’s not writing professionally she can be found blogging at www.sarafinasaid.com. E-mail: Swright@washingtoninformer.com Social Media Handles: Twitter: @dreamersexpress, Instagram: @Sarafinasaid, Snapchat: @Sarafinasaid

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Back to top button

My News Matters to me - Washington Informer Donations

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Click Here Today to Support Black Press and be a part of the Legacy!

Subscribe today for free and be the first to have news and information delivered directly to your inbox.

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Close

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker