This week we introduce Claunesha "Cjay" Jones, the owner of Los Angeles-based candle company TORCH, whose Fem candle will be gifted with each Fem. Necklace to celebrate the collective spirit of women and female run business this International Women’s Day. While exploring the Atwater Village Farmer's Market, our Founder and Creative Director Vanessa connected with the fellow businesswoman, immediately drawing inspiration from her vision. Cjay's commitment to thoughtful, sustainable experiences with scents that speak to strength in femininity made this collaboration natural.
With the long overdue shift in conversation around female empowerment, Cjay’s philosophical sensibility and energy is what keeps us inspired and moving forward. Read more about TORCH and her mission to change mindsets.
What made you interested in candles and scent creation?
Initially, making candles was just a diversion from my daily routine. I never thought it would actually become therapeutic and stress-relieving. It engaged my mind, body and emotions to perform one simple task. Even more profound was when I lit a candle and sat still in its light, since my mind and emotions became still as well.
Without realizing it, I was on a daily journey of transformation, stumbling on a path to change lives in the most simplistic way.
What inspires the scents you design?
The scents in the candles illicit various emotions that can immediately transform your mood. Selecting and naming the scents is only the beginning of the story. Every candle has a story that can be drawn out by the individual, and how they interpret it.
How do you define TORCH when a stranger asks about it?
T. O. R. C. H. is an acronym for Thoughts Of Rich Choices and Habits. When you "torch" or light a TORCH candle, the scent aids reflection and contemplation of your life choices and habits.
As a female small business owner, what has been your biggest win and your biggest pain point?
It has been such a pleasure to not only see how women have embraced my candles, but men from all walks of life as well. It’s great to hear them say, “Wow, I love how that smells. I feel empowered! What is it?” I’ve also found particular scents’ initial reactions to be really powerful – they can be calming, initiate ideas and reconcile confusion.
"Yet, the inequities between women and men in business are astonishing. Our culture as a whole still remains in a trance that caters to men in business. A woman’s business is categorized as a hobby, while a man’s same business is seen as innovative."
What are changes you would like to see for women in business?
I would love to see women empowering each other to evade the pitfalls causing us to hesitate at the idea of starting a viable business in a male-dominated marketplace. There remains a lot of ground to cover for women in business, but the territory belongs to us. We must lead by example, shift our language to include all women and know that what we accomplish today intimately affects businesswomen tomorrow.
Do you have female mentors you look up to? If so, how have they aided in your practice and business?
Most of my female mentors are absolutely unaware of my existence, but that’s the beauty of them living a full and fearless life. Their strength, guidance and authenticity permeates my life. For my business, it gives me a sense of a destiny already fulfilled by showing me that I can also influence those around me.
What's next for TORCH?
Someone said that leadership is simply influence. My heart’s desire is not just to sell candles but to also have TORCH become a beacon of influence on all those that can see its flickering light. I hope it creates a path out of our darkest hours, and that in overwhelming moments, we can understand that we are just a thought away from our answer.