"Golden Child Candles is a small candle shop with big goals. When we first started, we just wanted to make a fun, non-toxic product. But now, we’re trying to revitalize a community."
-Tyler Humphries, Golden Child Candles Creator
How It Started
Hi, my name is Tyler and I’m the creative mind behind Golden Child Candles and this is our story so far.
I started making candles in 2019 as a way to get out of making cookies for Thanksgiving. You see, every year I make cookies from scratch with my niece and nephews for Thanksgiving and Christmas but my carpal tunnel was acting up and the mere thought of kneading dough made my hands throb. While I was halfway watching a random Youtube video and halfway mindlessly scrolling on social media, I saw a vlog where someone made candles from a kit. It didn’t look too hard so after a little research, I ordered a kit and got started. That year, the kids and I made candles and gave them to our mothers and I escaped cookie duty. That was the innocent beginning of something wonderful.
After a few months of making scented soy candles, I thought I was ready to start selling them. I reached out to a local event coordinator and was signed up for my first in-person market but unfortunately, the world had other plans. The event was canceled due to the threat of Covid-19 and a few days later, St. Louis city went into a citywide lockdown. Instead of letting the lockdown get to me, I decided to sell the 100 candles I’d created for the event, online. And just like that, the shop was born.
Over the course of 2020, I learned how to run an online business and expanded my product line into wax melts as well. Even during the unusual supply chain breakdowns and shipping delays that plagued the world.
I didn’t know it yet, but everything was about to change for me…both in my personal and business life.
Project Save1315: Revitalizing A Community One Candle At A Time
Back in 1962, my grandparents bought a house built in 1899 in a newly desegregated neighborhood in the western part of St. Louis City. They didn’t know that their neighborhood was about to be redlined. Redlining is a discriminatory practice in which financial services (such as car loans, mortgages, business loans, etc.) were withheld from people who lived in areas that were considered “hazardous” areas to invest in, regardless of the person’s own financial situation. These “redlined” neighborhoods were designed to be predominantly inhabited by racial and ethnic minorities, thanks to racial steering.
After my grandparents paid off their mortgage, they were systematically denied any additional loans, such as home equity loans, to renovate their historic home. My grandmother was finally approved for a loan in the 1990s but died before the loan could be paid out, so the loan was canceled. My father took ownership of the home and tried to maintain it the best he could. And when he passed away from cancer, we didn’t know what to do with the house so we let it sit for 8 years. We used it for extra storage and kept the property clean and the grass cut. But in 2020, we didn’t go to the property because of the lockdown and someone saw that as an opportunity to break in, squat, and steal.
When we did go over to the house in 2021, we saw all the damage that had been done as well as the structural issues the house had developed and I decided to take a stand. I decided to take ownership of the house and a massive renovation project. I decided to save a 123-year-old house and a part of my family’s history. But because of the messy history of the neighborhood, getting financial help with this unexpected project has been hard. Sure, redlining is illegal now, but the neighborhood is still suffering from its effects, mainly in the form of low property values after decades of disinterest by investors and financial institutions.
So I decided to use Golden Child Candles’ profits to fund this project and other revitalization efforts in that neighborhood.
Golden Child Candles is a small shop with big dreams. We started off making non-toxic candles and wax melts for fun but now we’re trying to revitalize a community.