Advice from a 12-year-old entrepreneur at Tysons Corner Center on Black Friday

Alejandro Buxton, founder of Smell of Love Candles, opened a kiosk at Tysons Corner Center on Sept. 1. (WTOP/Michelle Goldchain)
The Smell of Love Candles kiosk at Tysons Corner Center offers items such as vegan soy wax candles, as well as reed diffusers and wax melts. (WTOP/Michelle Goldchain)
The soy candles sold at Smell of Love Candles are hand-poured into reusable jars or tins that can be repurposed. (WTOP/Michelle Goldchain)
Some of the vegan soy wax candles on display, including “Movie Nights,” which smells like a blend of popcorn and butter that has been coated in caramel and sea salt, and “The Gentleman,” which is a “bold and masculine” candle. (WTOP/Michelle Goldchain)

Alejandro Buxton, founder of D.C.-area-based company Smell of Love Candles, said the experience he’s gained since launching a kiosk at Tysons Corner Center in September has helped him learn more about what it will be like to one day run a brick-and-mortar location.

“It’s definitely a learning experience,” Buxton said. “I’ve just learned how to talk to people.”

Smell of Love Candles focuses on handmade, vegan, soy wax candles. In a prior interview with WTOP, Buxton said his idea to launch the company came after learning that his mom dealt with headaches due to the chemicals in other companies’ candles.

His candles only use natural ingredients.

For rising entrepreneurs, both kids and adults alike, Buxton had this advice to give: “Always dream big,” he said. “No matter the age, you can always do anything … always persevere.”

Buxton is also the founder of the YouTube channel Lessons from a Kidpreneur, where he shares business tips that he learns.

After Buxton began selling the candles in September of 2020, he earned the attention of Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, who visited Buxton’s vendor stand at D.C.’s Downtown Holiday Market in November 2021.

Soon, Buxton said, the company will produce their candles in a local warehouse, and he is open to eventually expanding to a brick-and-mortar space.

The Smell of Love kiosk is in front of the Victoria’s Secret on the second floor of the mall.

Michelle Goldchain

Michelle Goldchain’s reporting has focused primarily on the D.C. area, previously working as Editor of Curbed DC for Vox Media and Audience Growth & Engagement Editor for Washington City Paper. She is the author of "D.C. by Metro: A History & Guide.” She also reports for Artsplained on YouTube.

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