We're so excited to introduce the newest member of the Breedlove Community, Mo, Founder of Imagine Meraki. Imagine Meraki is a boutique candle company that wants to help you find your escape.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and Imagine Meraki.
A: I’m Monique, “Mo.” I am a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, traveler, and creator. I have been a Flight Attendant for 6 years and counting. Although I love traveling, meeting new people, and learning about new cultures, I have always had a creative side. I love to paint, get lost in music, decorate a room, make a candle, or anything that lets my creativity shine.
Imagine Meraki came about when I got furloughed from being a Flight Attendant. I had a little extra time on my hands, which allowed me to dive into my creative side. I came across the word Meraki [may-rah-kee], which is “A Modern Greek word that is used to describe when someone puts soul, creativity, and love into their work; When they are truly devoted and passionate about something they believe in.” I felt such a connection to it and wondered what it would be like to “imagine” my Meraki. I want people to be able to sense the passion, love, and creativity behind my work.
Q: What was the inspiration behind Imagine Meraki?
A: When my mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 Uterine Cancer, I realized that she was trying to be the loving caretaker that she is even through treatment. Although wonderful, this was the time when she needed to focus on her own self-care to get better. We would say, “You can’t have others come drink from an empty cup. You have to make sure that you replenish your own cup.” It was something that seemed so easy yet challenging. I knew that we weren’t the only ones who struggled with this. Self-care looks different on everyone. But I wanted to have products that can at least help you on a journey to achieve it.
Q: What got you into candle making?
A: I have always loved candles. They have a way of not only making a room smell good but also setting a relaxing tone. I wanted to experiment with some of my own scents. I did some research and had some trial and errors but finally came upon a formula that worked best.
Q: Why were you interested in joining the Breedlove Market marketplace?
A: I love everything that Breedlove Market stands for. There have been several campaigns on #BuyBlack but nothing that makes it accessible to find Black-owned brands in one place. I believe that there are a lot of great black-owned businesses and brands that might be getting overlooked because of the lack of exposure. By Breedlove Market marketplace giving consumers the ability to find black-owned brands in one central place, it connects us in a way that would make our ancestors proud.
Q: What makes your product unique?
A: The presentation, combination of scents, and being hand poured are just a few examples of what makes Imagine Meraki unique. When you receive your order, you will open the box to a handwritten thank you card from me. I want to make sure that each person knows that I appreciate them and their support of my business. My candles are not only hand-poured, but they also have crackling wooden wicks.
Q: How has covid-19 affected you and your business?
A: Covid-19 has actually given me the time and opportunity to finally start my business. It was that added push that I needed, if you will. The tricky thing is figuring out how to reach out and be more engaging to my customers. I understand that by selling candles online, you don’t get the opportunity to smell them and see if you like the scent before you buy it. So that’s why I offer mini candles and include scent cards in my orders so that you get that “in-person” experience.
Q: What excites you about the future for Imagine Meraki?
A: I think this is just the beginning for Imagine Meraki. I’m excited to see the business grow and expand with scents and self-care products. I would love to get to a place where I introduce “build your own” self-care kits. It’s just so humbling being able to have candles that are in people’s homes today!
Q: How have the racial justice protests over the past year affected you/how you run your business?
I have always been proud of my heritage and to be an African American Woman. The racial justice protests this last year made me sad that we still have to deal with injustice. I have a young nephew, and I found it difficult to explain to him all the things that were happening, how to deal with them, and answer his questions when I don’t have answers to my own. The challenges we still face push me to want to show representation and show up for my community with business.