When Noir Lux Candle Co. founder Colina Bruce named a candle “Manifest That Ish” in honor of the new year, she did more than just reference the law of attraction: The company that started in her kitchen opens as the Noir Lux Candle Bar at 3020 Warren Place in Belltown February 12.
Like so many who found themselves with unprecedented free time at some point over the last couple of years, Bruce's business started as a pandemic hobby making candles for friends. Their positive response encouraged her to pursue the side hustle she'd always wanted. "It sounded really crazy and random,” Bruce says, but she started Noir Lux Candle Co. and hoped to sell around a dozen candles a month—more of a hobby than a way to meaningfully supplement her nonprofit-sector income.
She sold her first 100 in a matter of hours.
Soon Bruce found herself hosting candle-making classes for birthdays, bachelorette parties, and local organizations like the College Success Foundation (of which she’s an alumna). When she saw how much people loved making candles from scratch, she knew she wanted to find a brick-and-mortar location “where people could come in whenever they wanted" (reservations appreciated!) to pour their own creations from her selection of over 50 fragrances. “Things just kind of fell in place.” Now, Noir Lux is her full-time job.
Finding a spot in the heart of Seattle feels especially meaningful for Bruce, who grew up sweeping hair in her mother’s Central District hair salon before gentrification in the historically Black Seattle neighborhood forced it to shut. “Having something that we can have to build generational wealth and that I can have my daughter come in and be a part of is really amazing to me,” Bruce says. “I don't take it lightly.”
The feeling of being part of something greater than herself is present from the very beginning of Bruce’s story as a business owner, when her “awesome village” of supporters turned out in droves to buy her products even though “they had never even smelled the candle,” Bruce says.
She hopes Noir Lux’s new location can help her pay it forward: A retail section will feature small, Black-owned businesses like hers; collaborations under her Candles for a Cause collection send 10 percent of proceeds to local nonprofits like YouthCare, whose Home Is Power candle was designed and created by a young person exiting homelessness.
“People have seen the journey of Noir Lux as something that has blossomed organically,” Bruce says, “but that also has come to fruition through hard work and the support of the community.” That's a mix we can get behind.