She’s 12-years-old, has her own thriving candle business, and loves drag queens–so much, that she’s been a vendor at RuPaul’s DragCon NYC and has a sickening line of queen-inspired candles.
We spoke to Rose Powell, founder of Rose and Co. Candlemakers, about being a young entrepreneur and inspiring others.
You’re 12-years-old and already an entrepreneur! First, tell us a little bit about your background and experience. What, or who, inspired you to pursue your ideas?
I was inspired by the entrepreneurs around me. My parents have had a company since I was 5 or 6, but even before that, close family friends had companies. To me, starting your own business was normal. I hadn’t realized how strange it would be to people that an 8-year-old had a legitimate business before I saw my customers’ reactions.
When did you realize that you had a real talent for candle making and could run your own business?
Running my own business came before the serious candle making. I hadn’t even decided or considered candle making when I proclaimed to my parents that I was starting my own company. Previously, I had a failed face-painting company, but it was clear to my parents that I was dead serious about starting a company. Initially, I wanted to sell my paintings, which weren’t very good, but eventually, I came to my senses and realized that my candle making hobby may be the safer and more profitable route.
How has this experience been like for you?
It’s been a complete learning curve that I wouldn’t trade for the world. It’s helped mature me and push me in the right direction for my life. It has also opened up opportunities that I’ve never dreamed of being accessible to me.
What obstacles, challenges, or setbacks did you face as you began to learn the in’s and out’s of entrepreneurship?
I wasn’t prepared for the stress that it would eventually place on me, because I didn’t think my company would grow this much in such a short time. It has also opened my eyes to the necessity of a back-up plan. Having a good back-up plan is essential to getting through life, because there are always obstacles at every turn, and it helps to be prepared in anticipation for them.
You donate a portion of your profits to charities that support girls’ education. Can you tell us what this cause means to you?
When I become an adult, I want to mainly pursue producing and directing, but activism as well. I hope to build myself into enough of an empire so that I can start my own activism organization. One of the things I would like my organization to mainly focus on, is women’s rights, especially girls’ education. In so many countries, girls aren’t allowed fair education and are harmed or threatened if they try to obtain it. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be American citizens turn a blind eye to it all too often. I want to raise awareness for it now and moving on into the future.
What are some of the most popular candles you’ve created?
All of the scents that we are launching our rebranding with have been some of our most popular scents. Our new line currently consists of Vanilla Macadamia Nut Coffee, Rose, Herb Garden, Agave Forest, Lemon Verbena, and Ginger Lime. But some of our other popular scents include Christmas Pine, Pumpkin Chai, Watermelon Lemonade, and Cucumber Melon.
How did you celebrate your milestones and successes?
I don’t do much, but soak in the moment as much as possible.
Can you tell us about one of your proudest moments as an entrepreneur?
One of my proudest moments was going on the news in NYC. I was so nervous that I rehearsed what I was going to say in preparation. Everyone said I seemed very calm, but I was shaking with anxiety. I wouldn’t call myself an introvert, but I’m definitely somebody with a lot of anxiety and nerves, so even selling at times makes me panic. I don’t know how I was able to muster the courage to go on live TV, but I’m glad that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone for the better.
You’re a big fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race. When did you begin watching the show?
I believe I began watching the show around the age of 6. Which, thinking about it now, probably wasn’t the most appropriate show, but I instantly became the biggest fan in the household. I’ve watched pretty much every season at least 3 times.
What’s next for you, in terms of your goals, projects, and bucket lists?
Well, semi-long term is to put aside a decent bit of money for college, if I’m unable to get a full-ride scholarship to a college of my choice. A bit more short term, I would love to build my company to where we have at least a small production space with employees and sales reps.