Browse Tag


2 mins read

Noir Lux Candle Co.: From Kitchen Table to Over Half a Million Dollars in Sales

Seattle-based Noir Lux Candle Co. exemplifies the effects of mixing passion and perseverance. Founded by Colina Bruce, it began as a pandemic-born side hustle but swiftly evolved into a successful business.

Noir Lux Candle Co
Colina Bruce, Founder of Noir Lux Candle Co.

During the pandemic, Colina, like many, sought solace in the gentle glow of candles throughout her day. This simple ritual ignited a spark of inspiration: to curate her own collection of handcrafted, eco-friendly candles that evoke warmth and nostalgia.

Beginning with no prior experience, Colina delved into the realm of candle-making through online tutorials. Her debut launch proved an instant success, with 120 candles sold within three hours.

This early surge, amounting to approximately $150,000 in revenue within Noir Lux’s first operational year, received an extra boost from a feature in Oprah Magazine, cementing the brand’s status among the nation’s premier Black-owned candle makers.

Noir Lux Candle Co

Initially, an online-only business, Noir Lux has grown into a vibrant brick-and-mortar space. The journey wasn’t without its challenges. Colina, navigating the world of entrepreneurship for the first time, grappled with self-doubt and financial hurdles.

However, with the support of mentors, grants, and a resourceful network, she secured funding and transformed a raw concrete space into a beautiful retail store and community hub.

Beyond their exquisite candles, Noir Lux presents an interactive DIY candle bar, inviting patrons to craft personalized creations from a palette of over 100 fragrances.

Noir Lux Candle Co

At Noir Lux, sustainability takes center stage. Their candles boast 100% natural soy wax, phthalate-free fragrance oils, and wooden wicks. Moreover, they actively champion other Black-owned vendors by featuring their products in-store.

Colina’s passion for creation and her dedication to uplifting others lie at the core of Noir Lux’s triumph. As the company continues to flourish, Colina envisions expanding the product range and providing an even firmer platform for fellow entrepreneurs to thrive.

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3 mins read

Couples, Inc: D’Vonne and KeAnna Own a Mail Service Business

The Postman is a family-run mail service business based in Seattle, WA. This company serves the community as a one-stop-shop for all mailing needs.

The business is owned by husband and wife team, D’Vonne and KeAnna Pickett. They created The Postman in honor of D’Vonne’s grandfather, Jacques Chappell, who was a USPS mail carrier for 37 years.

We caught up with the couple to find out more about how they serve their community while mixing business and family.

The Postman
Keanna and D’Vonne Pickett..Photo credit Rachel at Freshchalk

What inspired you to start this business?

In 2016, we were informed by a real estate developer that the local USPS store would soon be leaving our neighborhood. We looked at this as a great opportunity to get into the mailbox and shipping business.

We felt confident about this decision because the mail and shipping industry serves people and creates jobs. These are values that are important to us.

Photo credit Rachel at Freshchalk

What is the most challenging part of being an entrepreneur? What is the most rewarding?

The challenging part about being an entrepreneur for us is knowing the world never stops and is constantly changing. As entrepreneurs, we understand the only constant is change.

However, the anxiety and fears we experience from change also drive us to be flexible. Being flexible in our business is what helps us create solutions that serve humanity.

Like the quote says, “It’s not the strongest or the smartest of species that services, it’s the most adaptable to change.”

the postman
Photo credit Rachel at Freshchalk

How do you balance marriage and business?

Our roles in our marriage are similar to our roles in our business. In our family, D’Vonne is the CEO as well as in our company. Meaning, he is the face of the company and is responsible for maintaining our mission and vision. Keanna is the COO and handles the details in our family as well as our company.

Although we both have titles, the total responsibility is shared because we are both owners, and to have a strong successful family and business we are invested equally.

the postman

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Believe you can succeed through experiences of failure on your quest to become a successful entrepreneur. Failures should be welcomed. Through failure, an entrepreneur can test their bandwidth. Their capacity to be stretched through different experiences on their quest to expansion. The key is to become the strength of the band as you expand.

Tony O. Lawson

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1 min read

Black Farmer Finds Success During Uncertain Times

Despite the challenges now faced by many small business owners these days, a Black farmer in Seatlle is managing to survive and thrive.

Ras Peynado is the owner of Seattle based, Herban Farms. He is following the footsteps of his father, a fourth-generation farmer who lived and died in Jamaica.

In 2010, Ras began growing herbs on an urban farm while developing recipes with his friends and family. He now produces a range of sauces, seasonings, and spices.

In this interview, we discussed the importance of learning how to grow food and the relationship between old school farmers and new school farmers. We also discussed how the new wave of Black business support has impacted his business.

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Tony O. Lawson

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4 mins read

Black Owned Brewery Celebrates Two years of Crafting Beer and Community

Hard to get more Northwest than coffee, bicycling and craft brews. That just so happens to be the special recipe behind Washington state’s first and only Black-owned brewery.

Metier Brewing in Woodinville just celebrated its two-year anniversary this summer. Owner Rodney Hines and co-founder Todd Herriott made it more than just about beer.

Black owned brewery
Rodney Hines

“All about building community and offering a welcoming gathering space for families, friends, and those who appreciate well-crafted beer,” Hines said. As soon as you walk through the door you’ll see the purpose written on the wall: “Our Mission is to brew damn good beer and build a stronger community to inspire bigger dreams for all.”

It’s a family-friendly, pet-friendly, and bike-friendly brewery located in the heart of Woodinville’s wine district.

Metier is french and poetically means “one’s calling, one’s destiny.” The team behind Metier Brewing Co. is symbolic of their diversity mission.

Herriott owns a premium bicycle shop with the same name on Capitol Hill and Hines left a corporate job in the coffee world to dive into craft beer full-time. “I’m a home brewer…and no one should ever taste any of that,” Hines joked.

“This has been a dream of mine for a long time. Where everyone can feel welcomed. It took me over 50 years, but here we are!”

They hired a brewmaster and have quickly found success in brewing up some popular beers.“We’ve already won awards for our beer, so it says we’re delivering on that so we’ve got the product. We’ve got damn good beer and that’s allowed us to focus on the other part of our mission,” Hines said.

Black owned brewery

Hines says there are only about 65 Black-owned breweries that they know about across the nation.

“That is not to say that folks of color don’t like beer. I think that’s to say that folks of color don’t always see themselves welcomed into all spaces,” Hines said. “It feels like an inviting space for everyone, and there’s intention behind that.”

“That’s out of about 8,000 and there are even fewer female-owned breweries,” he said.

The business is brewing craft beers but the passion for community is evident on the walls. Tap Room Manager Bailey Kroeger says it was their commitment to diversity and caring about people that attracted her to work with the brewery.

“It’s been nice to work at a company that actually cares about me,” Kroeger said.

Fundraising efforts and partnerships with other local businesses are celebrated throughout the taproom and most recently Metier Brewing teamed up with another local brewer to release “Say It Loud: Stout and Proud” to benefit Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle.


Source: NBC King 5

Related: Black Owned Beer brands

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4 mins read

8 Seattle Works Designed by Black Architects

On the surface, Seattle’s architectural heritage can seem very, very white. But black architects have been contributing to Seattle’s urban fabric for decades.

Black Architects

A bit of history: Benjamin McAdoo founded Seattle’s first black-owned architecture firm in the middle of the last century, and gained renown for everything from churches to educational facilities to private homes. Leon Bridges founded the second in the early 1960s before moving to Baltimore and becoming the first registered black architect in Maryland.

Ben McAdoo

Of course, many would follow. Mel Streeter had an extremely prestigious career dating back to the 1950s which included having a hand in both Quest and Safeco Field as well as Seatac Airport.

Mel Streeter

Roderick Butler touched homes all across the region with N3 Architects. Many practicing Seattle architects are shaping our area—and the world, depending on the specialty—right this second, including Donald King, Weber Thompson’s Susan Frieson, and DLR Group’s Rico Quirindongo.

Susan Frieson


Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center

 black architects


Originally designed by Benjamin McAdoo in the early 1970s, the building was renovated in 2013 by two architects of color, including Mel Streeter protegee Sam Cameron.

3931 Brooklyn Ave NE Seattle, WA 98105

Mathews East Madison YMCA

This Central Area facility was the first area building designed by Leon Bridges.

King Street Station Sound Transit platforms


While the original structure was built in 1906, it was Donald King and DKA Architects (in conjunction with Otak) who created the side platforms for Sound Transit Sounder service—what the Daily Journal of Commercecalled “glass and steel wafers.”

Asian Counseling & Referral Service

Donald King was principal-in-charge of design for this LEED-certified community staple, which was, according to King, “inspired by a sense of Asian-Pacific Island culture in a contemporary northwest architecture.”

Northwest African American Museum


The original Colman School building went up in the early 1900s, its present use as the Northwest African American Museum has been shaped by Seattle’s black community, from the eight-year occupation by activistst hat eventually led to the museum’s founding to the adaptive reuse architecture that’s in play today.

Donald King and Rico Quirindongo designed the affordable housing above—Urban League Village—and the museum itself.

John Muir Elementary School

After buildings built in 1924 and 1910 were demolished, a 1971 addition designed by Mel Streeter became the focal building of this elementary school.

Van Asselt Elementary School

Mel Streeter designed this distinctive school building for the African American Academy in 2000; the program was shuttered by the district nine years later. It eventually became Van Asselt Elementary School.

Kenneth Ota residence

This midcentury modern home by Benjamin McAdoo is a Seattle historical site—not just for the McAdoo name and its exemplary example of the era’s design, but for the cultural heritage it represents.

“The commissioning of this house by the Otas is… consistent with the historic return of Japanese Americans to South Seattle after World War II, as well as the influx of residents who were employed by Boeing around this time period,” reads its designation.

“The house’s association with the Otas and [McAdoo] also reflects Seattle’s gradual move towards racial integration and the present-day ethnic diversity in Rainier Valley.”

Source: Seattle Curbed