LaToya Adkins moved to Durham NC in search of a change of scenery but stumbled upon her path to entrepreneurship. Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI following graduation from high school; while most of her friends were going off to college hours away from home, Adkins made the decision to attend UW Madison which was only about an hour and a half away. There, Adkins received her bachelors in Legal Studies and Spanish followed by her masters in Social Work. A couple of years into her career, she decided the time was now to move and experience life away from the comforts of home. In October 2015, Adkins packed her things, tucked them neatly away on a truck and made the move to Durham. It was after that transition that she began discovering the gift of solitude.
Initially, she was in constant contact with family and friends, exploring a new city and meeting new people. Not long after the holidays the reality set in that she was a “thousand miles away” from home. She recalls, “I went through; I think a period of depression and intense sadness. I started missing the familiarity of home.” Adkins was spending her spare time in the gym as an outlet to clear her mind and rejuvenate her body but it wasn’t until she viewed a how to video on candle making via facebook that she found a remedy for the void she’d been feeling.
Within hours, Adkins was googling candle making and ordering the first of many candle making kits. According to Adkins, “I made my first candle and it was history from there. I fell in love with the process.” Candle making quickly became an essential part of her self-care routine. Before long, she began making candles as gifts for loved ones and eventually started making them for events such as housewarmings and birthday parties. Within a six month timeframe, candle making was not just a hobby but a full fledge business now known as Solitude Scents.
When deciding on a name, Adkins explains, “I wanted something that was connected to my journey and the reason why I started making candles in the first place. I also didn’t want to just limit myself to candles.” Solitude Scents candles are eco-friendly, free of artificial coloring or dye, handcrafted and made with 100% soy wax. The product line includes candles such as Grapefruit & Mangosteen, Eucalyptus Spearmint, English Garden and Lavender Chamomile to name a few. All products are available exclusively online.
As a fairly new business, Adkins has learned through trial and error about setting a profitable price point and maintaining inventory. But the one thing she was certain of from the very beginning was the experience she wanted her customers to have. “I want them to experience exactly what I experienced when I am making the candle. Appreciate being by themselves, having that alone time and being introspective.” In essence, she hopes that customers are putting the Solitude Scents mantra into practice to “reconnect with you.”
Adkins has recently partnered with another business owner in a “collaboration over competition” effort to expand her brand and marry her candles with complimentary products. They are currently offering the “Goodness In Solitude” gift set for Mother’s Day. The set includes a Solitude Scents candle along with My Goodness All Natural body butter and bath salt.
Eventually, Adkins hopes to expand Solitude Scents beyond candles to include additional handcrafted products such as body butters. More immediately, she’s hoping for the chance to strike a deal with one of the sharks of Shark Tank following a recent audition. Regardless of the outcome, Adkins is enjoying every moment as the visionary behind a brand that invites customers to “Reconnect” with themselves.