We're Open: NaturalAnnie Essentials in Bridgeport aims to create comforting candles

The owner of a candle shop in Bridgeport says she hopes her company's products will help people cope with the effects of the pandemic.
Annya White-Brown, the owner of NaturalAnnie Essentials, says her soy candles are all made in her Bridgeport studio.
"All hand poured, all prepped, everything is done right here," she says.
White-Brown says her businesses started in her own house before she was able to move to a special studio.
"Before my first candle, I was in corporate America. I actually worked in IT for about six years after grad school," she says. "We started in my kitchen and we then moved to my basement, so we were occupying all the spaces in my home until last November when we moved into this beautiful space."
The owner says the studio uses soy to make candles because it burns cleaner and longer, which makes it better for the environment. She also says the candles create a relaxing environment.
White-Brown says the pandemic affected her company in an unexpected way.
"I was very worried because when the major shutdown happened, it was around the time when we will usually be gearing up for markets and we just didn't know what to expect," she says. "Thankfully, what had happened was everyone was now home and wanted to feel a sense of security, a sense of comfort and we realize everyone is turning to candles."
White-Brown says the candles' colors and scents are inspired by Jamaican culture.
"Our scents are very unique. We make our own blends in house and we try to go for a lot of tropical vibes because we're Jamaican, so I try to infuse my culture into some of our scents," she says.
Other businesses have reached out to work with NaturalAnnie Essentials so they could create care packages for their employees who are working from home, White-Brown says.
"We don't realize how important that can be sometimes to the people that are working with us and letting them know, hey your boss still cares although you're not in the office," she says.
Last June, NaturalAnnie Essentials released the Be the Change Collection in response to the protests around George Floyd's death.
A percentage of proceeds from that collection goes to support charities in support of Black communities, White-Brown says.
NaturalAnnie Essentials candles are available to order on their website and are sold in many stores and boutiques across the country. https://www.naturalannieessentials.com/