Turning a Spark into a Flame
We ventured on a scent odyssey with the second recipient of the TL Effect.
Back in March, Tiffany M. Griffin, CO-Founder of Bright Black, was announced as the second recipient of the TL Effect, a program created to help foster the success of early-stage, consumer-focused companies led by women of color. Bright Black is a family business led by Tiffany, and supported by her husband Dariel, and their spirited toddler, Elena.
“When starting our family business, we knew we wanted to do more than just sell candles,” Tiffany expressed. “We wanted to bring about change, and help create a world where our daughter has access to positive representations of people who look like her.”
Their goal was to make and share high-quality candles that honor the Black Diaspora, and transcend senses rooted in connection and beauty. Drawing inspirations from memories and locations that harness a treasured moment, each custom-blended fragrance of Bright Black’s collection captures qualities that make up Tiffany and her family — bold, passionate, practical, and energetic brightness.
“Bright Black has a unique market proposition of driving change through the use of scent as a medium, creating a positive narrative that inspires the world around us,” said Heidi Zak, CEO and Co-Founder of ThirdLove. “We were captivated by the brand and their products, and look forward to supporting the company on their business journey.”
We sat down with Tiffany as she reflected on her journey through this process, and shared a peek into what’s next for Bright Black.
TL: You have now had a few sessions with your different mentors, is there anything that is becoming apparent as a critical need or project?
Tiffany: Getting capital to build our internal capacity with stellar, passionate people. It’s incredibly critical at the moment.
TL: As your business grows, how important has it been for you to continue to use your platform for sharing positive narratives around Blackness?
Tiffany: This is the whole point of our business! We do not describe ourselves as candlemakers. We identify as scent artists, using scent as an artistic medium to tell stories. The scents are essential. The stories are essential. Representing our culture in a nuanced, accurate, beautiful light is essential.
TL: You’ve expressed how candles are the gateway to connection, joy, and spiritual growth, how are those elements embodied through Bright Black?
Tiffany: We seriously have the best customers on the planet. They use our candles for personal retreats, to mark different spaces and moods in their homes, and to give as gifts for births, deaths, and everything in between. Our scents are invigorating and soothing, at the same time. And the thoughtfulness with which we craft our scents and pair those scents with positive stories have sparked deeper understandings and connections across time and space. All of this from a “simple” candle!
TL: You have been working hard to make deals happen, any good news you can share with us? What is next for Bright Black?
Tiffany: Yes! Our newest collection, Genres, an ode to Black music through scent, drops early this fall. Bright Black was actually born out of our love for music, specifically hip hop, so to finally see this collection come to fruition is beyond exciting!
TL: What are your favorite two cents (advice) and scents (Bright Black candle smells) at the moment?
Two cents: Trust your intuition and know your “why.”
Two scents (today! :D): Our forthcoming Bachata candle and our Durham candle from our Diaspora Collection.
TL: Reflecting on this journey, what advice would you tell little Tiffany?
Tiffany: Little Tiffany, you can be ALL the things, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t! You can be incredibly sexy and unbelievably smart. You can love math, science, literature, poetry, psychology, documentaries, cooking, the color pink, the color black, hip hop, gymnastics, chocolate, kale, nature, meditation, and bourbon. You can be a doctor, a policymaker, and an entrepreneur. Be as dynamic and complex as you feel compelled to be.
Applications for the third cohort of the TL Effect will open this September, and we encourage all female founders of color to submit their businesses for consideration. More information about the program can be found here.