A Real Wellness Story with Leslie from Yo Soy Candle
Alright gang, welcome to the first of my new series,
Real Wellness Stories!
This series will encompass many different topics along the lines of wellness in the real world. The health and wellness space is full of overused terms, intimidating practices, and these things tend to trigger ideas that what we are doing is not enough. There are always things to learn and implement and I felt that one of my biggest tools was being surrounded by people who are REAL about what their wellness practices look like to their life. This space is going to be all about sharing just that and I really could not think of anyone better to kick this off with than my friend Leslie Abrams with Yo Soy Candle.
Leslie and I first met 5 years ago at a yoga studio we were both teaching at in Atlanta, GA. I was immediately drawn to her charismatic personality and drive to build community. She is a stranger to no one and embodies what she preaches day in and day out. Her company, Yo Soy Candle, is a small batch candle company out of Portland, Oregon made with eco-conscious materials with a mission to empower customers through unique “I AM” statements on each scent. Through Leslie’s experience using the practice of affirmations to empower transformation and a positive mindset she has build a passionate following and immense community of like minded customers. She has expanded her business to host affirmation ritual workshops, as well as candle making classes. Read on to dive into what wellness embodied in real life looks like to Leslie.
What is a little bit of your backstory and how do you think that facilitated where you are now?
I come from an entrepreneurial mother and an innovative father. My mother has owned her own jewelry company for about 35 years so I grew up in the “hustle and sell” type of environment. What I do is completely different, however, it helped me in understanding and learning sales and how to talk to people. I worked with her for a few years in my early 20’s and became an entrepreneur in 2008 running my own esthetics business. In 2010 I began teaching yoga full time and in 2011, Yo Soy Candle was born. I was working ALL 3 businesses at once and built an amazing and encouraging community that supported me in growing and prospering. Watching my mother work hard and persevere through tough times in combination with being blessed with such a supportive community when I lived in Atlanta helped me arrive at where I am today.
You are your own lady boss and the creator/maker of Yo Soy Candle-how did that come about and what is your day to day like?
I always knew I wanted to work for myself. I just wasn’t sure what the journey looked like for me. I set that clear intention at the age of 23 and I stayed open to the possibilities and messages I received from the energy around me. Each business journey was a catalyst to the next and I couldn’t have done it without a strong community and the belief that I can do anything I set my heart and mind to.
My Monday-Thursday looks something like this: Turn on the wax pot first thing. It usually takes 2 hours to fully heat. Those two hours are when I incorporate my self-care rituals. This includes coffee, journaling, silent walking with the dog, a workout/yoga and a smoothie! For the next 2 hours, I am in production listening to a book or podcast getting my education ON! At noon I take a lunch break and catch up on emails, social media posts, and any other CEO work. From 4-6p I finish the candles and pack any orders that come through for the day. I usually finish around 5:30 or 6p.
For Fridays, my goal is to set up a meeting with someone in my Portland maker community. This person is a stranger, friend, or someone I am inspired by and we can learn something from each other!
Your job requires a lot of time management, determination, passion, and wearing all of the hats which, while empowering, can also be a lot-what have been your go-to self-care/wellness routines and have those had an impact on the way you work?
I have been an entrepreneur for 10 years and I am learning more and more each day on what it truly takes to feel cared for while caring for others. The most important thing is having a schedule. Making space for movement, meditation, healthy meals, work, and shutting everything off. I spend the weekends mostly unplugged, having quality time with loved ones, getting outside and having fun!
Where do you draw inspiration for your products and the way in which you live your life and work?
My inspiration comes from that universal craving of certain needs and understanding the feelings that we all desire to give and receive. Kindness, connection, supporting other’s journey and care are an intrinsic part of my personality. I believe we ALL deserve to be heard, loved and treated with respect. We ALL desire peace, self-worth, bliss, gratitude, grounded-ness, etc. The I AM statements on each candle scent are an all-encompassing need in the spirit of myself and others.
What have you found to be the biggest challenges and largest rewards in being a small business owner? How did you overcome/what was your process like?
I think the biggest challenge for me is taking on ALL aspects of the business and sometimes NOT having the resources, skills, or confidence to manage most of them. Being a boss/control freak, I have a hard time outsourcing and finding the right person that I can trust. LETTING GO is a big part of this. Thinking about the worst-case scenario helps me process and move through the fears. TRUST is also a huge part of the process. I will say that I am still working through this and slowly beginning to outsource big projects. The biggest reward is when I DO find a gem that is on my side and wants me to succeed as much as I believe I can!
I know, from personal experience, that it can be difficult to turn your passion into a career, what are your top ways to own your path and combat negative self-talk or the opinions of others?
This is a tough question, and honestly, I struggle with this every day. I have turned three passions into a career and my experience shows me that a job is a job is a job. You know? I am lucky to make money doing something I love, however, my biggest challenge is knowing my worth, navigating through the actual business side of it, dealing with disruption in the industry and competition, plus, other things that come with having a job that just happens to be self-made. One a positive note, I believe it is important to stay in your own lane, to focus on your mission and who you are serving. Owning a business is about understanding WHO you can help and serve, while also serving yourself. Staying aligned to that mission has helped me through some rough, negative and dark times of wanting to quit. Before saying YES to a project, I ask myself, Is this fun for me and is it aligned to my purpose? This question helps me make a clear decision every time.
I love the way you build community through your business and are uplifting fellow makers/non profits/small businesses-what does community mean to you and how has it shaped your business and the projects you take on?
Community is EVERYTHING to me. I built my first two businesses based solely from community support and those same people have followed me to and through my journey with Yo Soy. Entrepreneurship can also feel extremely isolating. Most likely, we work alone and don’t have team members or staff to relate to on a daily basis. Because I am a person who is inspired by relationships and connecting to others, this is extremely important to my well being, inspiration, listening and feeling heard. I have collaborated and connected to some really incredible artists, brands and companies. These partnerships allow me to expand my creative ideas and join forces with other brilliant creatives! It is my favorite part of business!
What exciting things are you cooking up for the future and how are you soaking up all the goodness in the present?
I am teaching a candle making and affirmation yoga event July 18 at DIY Bar in Portland! I’m thinking about making it a new project of mine and expanding to collaborations with other makers! Stay tuned!
What fuels you and keeps the creative juices flowing?
Spending time in nature daily. Staying connected to my community and other lady bosses. Traveling often, journaling daily, moving my body and remembering my gifts.
What is a mantra/thoughts you live by?
Everything is figure-outable. Don’t forget to have fun! Remember your WHY.
I hope you enjoyed this real wellness story! Subscribe to the e-mail list here to stay up to date on yoga videos, blogs, and Wide Awake Wellness happenings!