Meet Naomi and Femi Adeyemo, Co-Founders of CAVO Candles, a vegan and eco friendly candle company with each candle being made from natural cotton, free of lead and zinc. Each CAVO candle comes with uniquely curated playlist that compliments the candle scent while creating the perfect ambiance.
Launched in 2020, the lifestyle brand is based in San Francisco, California. Femi and Naomi started CAVO Candles out of their love of homewares and more specifically clean candles. Our team spoke with the duo to discuss their journey as female entrepreneurs, how they're successfully creating a space for black women in the home fragrance / lifestyle industry and more.
*Femi pictured above, Naomi below*
What was the inspiration behind creating CAVO Candles? Can you talk more about how you came up with the name for the brand?
Naomi: We both have really fun and eclectic personal styles. So when shopping for clean candles we didn’t see ourselves or our style reflected in eco-conscious spaces. The sustainable options were very minimal and lacked representation. We believe eco-friendly products don't need to be boring. So we made our own.
Femi: We’re first-generation immigrants from Nigeria and Ghana. The first home our parents bought, and we grew up in, was on a street called Cavos Way. Naomi and I realized how much we both gravitated towards that name and would use it for things like college or work projects even years after moving from that house. After learning it meant “hollow” or “space,” we knew CAVO was the perfect name for our business.
What is the process like for coming up with new candle scents? Where do you find inspiration when crafting new scents and names?
Femi: Music is a huge inspiration for us! We even curate playlists for each scent and update them regularly. Setting the whole vibe for when you light a candle is so important. We want each scent to really capture those moments or for the fragrance to take you to a certain space.
Naomi: The names for those moments usually come first and we’re intentional about what scents evoke that feeling. For example, “After a Good Cry” is rainwater, lavender, vanilla bean, and bourbon.
What advice would you give someone looking to start their own business? What has been the best pieces of advice the two of you might’ve received on your entrepreneurial journey so far?
Femi: I’d say find something that you’re passionate about and also something about your business that differentiates you from others. It will never get old.
Naomi: I agree! It wasn’t direct advice but Rachel Rodgers, the founder of Hello Seven, advised women in business to stop waiting for perfect conditions in order to execute plans.
What’s next for CAVO? What do the two of you envision for CAVO within the next 5 years?
Naomi: We of course have some new scents on the way that we’re super excited about!
Femi: I think how we’ve approached candles in general – from the names, the designs, the playlists, and the scent decisions — has made us stand out to our customers. You’ll definitely continue to see us taking on home fragrance and lifestyle in an unconventional way.
What aspects of marketing and branding do the two of you attribute to the success of CAVO? How does CAVO successfully differentiate itself from other candle companies?
Naomi: Well I studied Art in college and my emphasis was Graphic Design. When falling into it I fell in love with the intersection of what a brand’s values are and how to convey that visually. Femi and I have collaborated on creative projects our whole lives so branding CAVO together has just come naturally.
Femi: I think at the core we wanted quality eco-conscious products that didn’t compromise our style. It was hard to find candle companies that matched our sometimes more maximalist than minimalist style. Our customers are dynamic and want the same thing. They have similar interests and values as us. We see ourselves reflected in our branding and marketing. I think they see themselves too.
If you could meet one successful female entrepreneur who would it be and why?
Naomi: This is a hard one. But one entrepreneurial duo we admire would be Hannah Diop and Issa Rae of Sienna Naturals. It’s relatable how Hannah founded her businesses out of frustration with the lack of Black representation in the clean hair industry. Also, we resonate with Issa not limiting her entrepreneurship to one thing. She’s co-owner of Sienna Naturals but can intersect her interests and talents across various industries.
Femi: We love reading about their journey’s as entrepreneurs. Both Hannah and Issa make it a point to be mentors and open doors for other Black women. We hope to do the same.
What are your favorite forms of self care? Do you have any tips or suggestions for someone who might be looking to create a new self care routine?
Femi: I make it a point to set boundaries on how I spend my time to prevent burning out. I really value my rest and meditation time. And my advice to others would be to keep their self care routine simple.
Naomi: Daily stretching has been a huge part of my self care routine over the last year. At first I would set the whole vibe, obviously with a candle or sometimes essential oils and mood lighting, but then I would beat myself up about missing a day. I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be a whole 1 hour or 30 minute thing. I for sure make it an event sometimes – but a light 5 minute stretch and mindful breathing is better than nothing. For sure the simpler the better