When things go wrong, some people search for their favorite comfort food, others throw their hands up in defeat. For Brooklyn native, Yvette Gayle, lighting a candle does the trick. Gayle was 16-years-old when she made her first candle and realized there was true comfort in making them. But like many of us, Gayle put her hobby aside to chase the almighty dollar. She worked her way up to become one of the most powerful publicists in entertainment as the Vice President of Publicity at Interscope/Geffen A&M, and then realized it was time to launch her own business.
After two decades of guiding the careers of artists like 50 Cent, Eminem and Mary J Blige, Gayle grew tired of “making everyone else’s projects blow up” and decided to turn her love for candles into a business venture and created The Sitota Collection.
Sitota, which means gift, was named after her Ethiopian adopted daughter. Gayle’s candles were inspired by her extensive world travels and each of the candles have a robust, yet distinctive scent. But it was Gayle’s 7-year-old son, Mekhi who gave her the idea to turn her hobby into a business.
“I was in the kitchen one day making candles and my son came in and he said, ‘You know what mama, I think you ought to have a manufacturing plant for your candles.’ And I was like oh my goodness, you’re right!”
Gayle came up with Coco Noir, Aigyiptos, Havana and Blue Nile fragrances.
Coco Noir is the blend of coconut and Cassis, which triggers memories of vacationing in Thailand with her husband. Aigyiptos is inspired by Gayle’s extensive travel throughout Africa. The complex scent combines sandalwood, musk and vanilla. Havana–which has notes of teak wood, pepper and black tea–was an homage to her husband’s Jamaican roots and Blue Nile has an earthy aroma with traces of wild grass citrus and grapefruit.
Gayle admits to doing a lot of research in the beginning stages, which included visiting different fragrance houses, working with a perfumer and learning what scents and oils blend well together. But she was able to choose her scents through experimenting.
“A lot of it is just playing around. I just buy scents and oils and mix. Literally, the thousands and thousands of candles I’ve made simply happened because it was an experiment,” she said.