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Daily Inspiration: Meet Celina Leon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Celina Leon. 

Hi Celina, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today.
When I was 19, I was going to college, working, and very active in my community. I loved how my life was going; I had big plans for my future, and none of those plans included becoming a mom anytime soon, let alone a single mom, but it happened. I fell in love with my son as soon as I found out I was pregnant and promised I’d work hard so he always has what he needs, and he’d always know mommy made it happen for him. I worked management jobs in retail for a few years, but I hated the hours, and even more than that, I hated always being away from my baby. In 2018 I got an office job working 8-5 M-F, and I was so grateful to have steady hours so I could spend evenings and weekends with my son and family, but I knew this job wasn’t something I’d want to do forever.

Fast forward to early on in the pandemic, and we were in our first lockdown. I was lucky enough to be an essential worker, so I still had my job, but after work, I had to go home and stay home. It drove me crazy! I desperately needed something to focus my energy on to distract me from everything that was going on for my mental health. I found a bag of wax in my garage I had bought back in 2015 wanting to make candles as my baby shower favors, and never got around to it. After some trial and error, I made a few batches of candles that I took into my office, where my co-workers were very supportive and bought some from me. Shortly after posting about them on Instagram, I was contacted by a store that was just opening, and I was offered a spot to sell my candles in her store. To say I was excited was an understatement! Not only did I find something I loved doing, but I was able to turn it into an actual business for myself.

Over the last two years, I’ve been working on building my business, expanding my products, and developing my brand, which is focused on the importance of self-care while also taking care of our planet; and best of all, I can work on my business during the hours I choose, so I can spend all the time with my son that I want. I’ve even taken him to a few markets with me, and after his first market, he told me he wants to have his own stand selling snacks. (Proud mom)

I currently have a full-time job working from home and another side hustle as a loan signing agent/notary public, but my goal is to be able to make LionHeart Handcrafted my full-time (and only) job and even hire employees so I can spend even more time with my family.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
This road has been anything but smooth. I can honestly say the last two years have been one of the most challenging times of my life. Running my own small business has been chaotic, bumpy; there’s been traffic jams, and at times I want to turn around and give up, but I won’t. I know I’ll never get to my destination if I stop moving forward. When I see how far I’ve come on my journey, I realize how rewarding it is and how excited I am to continue and see where it takes me.

One of my biggest challenges has been sticking to what I want for my company and not giving in to what’s trending and being heavily sought by consumers in my industry. One example is that I use hemp wicks for my candles instead of wooden wicks, which seem to be very popular. In the end, I know that staying true to myself and my vision is what’s going to take me where I plan to go, and I will be proud of myself in the long run.

Another big struggle I’ve faced is losing myself in the midst of everything. I’ve let sleepless nights, stress, and chaos, and busy schedules consume me which has led to burnout and forgetting how important caring for myself is. This experience has been my biggest influence in my mission to create products meant to promote self-care and self-love.

Always remember there cannot be light without darkness.

Thanks – so, what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am the owner of LionHeart Handcrafted, a candle, home goods, and bath company, but it is so much more than just that. My business purpose focuses on the importance of self-care with an emphasis on also caring for the planet.

Everything I sell, including my packaging materials, are Eco-friendly, non-toxic, and created with so much love and intention. As a mom, I understand the importance of both self-care, especially in today’s world, and being aware of what products you’re using on your body and in your home. As a company, we are dedicated to taking care of, and giving back to our planet. For that reason, we make sure our products are eco-friendly and use only sustainably sourced ingredients. Our packaging is always plastic-free and recyclable, and/or compostable. The dust covers on our 12oz. candles can be planted to grow wildflowers, and to take things a step further we’ve also partnered with One Tree Planted to plant one tree in the Amazon Rainforest with every purchase.

Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out.
Everyone’s journey is different. Don’t compare yours to others, and don’t get too discouraged. Some days will be hard, and you’ll think of quitting but just remember what your goals are and why you’re doing what you’re doing, don’t give up. Rest when you need to rest, take mental health breaks, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and/or family. Don’t burn yourself out, and don’t forget to take care of yourself along the way. You can’t take care of the world if you’re not taking care of yourself first. Everything will come together for you.

I do suggest making friends in your industry who can help you through your endeavor.

One thing I wish I would have known sooner is how important branding is. Once I started learning more about branding and defining my target audience, everything else started to come together for me.

Last piece of advice I will give is to invest in yourself, your business, and your knowledge.

Wherever you are in your journey, I wish you the best!

Contact Info:


Image Credits

@createwithgusto
@fourlanephoto

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