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Local man starts unique candle line

LAPLACE — “1681” holds a lot of meaning for Demond James of Reserve. The numbers represent his birthday as well as the Epiphany, observed January 6 in honor of the day the three kings brought gifts to Jesus in Bethlehem.

James recently released the first four scents in his exclusive candle line, “1681 Reflections of Life.” He’s the first Black luxe candle line designer in the St. John the Baptist Parish area, specializing in creating unique and soothing fragrances that enhance the ambiance of a room

Monarchy, Majestic Pillar, Noble Ambiance and Royal Aura are 100 percent organic and hypoallergenic soy-based scents. Rather than moving through assembly lines, each candle is hand poured with high quality vegtable and coconut wax.

The 11-ounce jars burn anywhere from 70 to 85 hours when the woven bamboo wick is properly cut. James has also released a platinum edition 16-ounce vessel that will burn anywhere from 120 to 150 hours.

James also works as an interior designer, and his interest in candles came from using them to accent living spaces.

“I love different scents, and I love to smell good. I get a lot of compliments on fragrances that I would wear, so I was somewhat thinking about making a cologne. I decided candles were the way to go because I wanted something that I could showcase,” James said.

The COVID-19 shutdown provided the perfect opportunity to dive into research on the candle-making industry. While visiting the Miami area for some dental work, James connected with a partner who brought him to a showroom floor. From there, he was able to experiment with making his own fragrances.

“I was hands-on with it, and I really poured my heart into it,” James said. “I have 12 scents, and I’m releasing a few every season. I have four out now. I plan to have four more coming out around May.”

James said the “1681 Reflections of Life” signature fragrance, Monarchy, offers soothing aromas of nutmeg, bergamot and black tea comparable to a luxe Bond No. 9 or Tom Ford cologne. While most candles found in store aisles are fruity or floral, James takes a more masculine approach to his fragrances.

The candles are currently available online through his personal Facebook page (Demond James), on Instagram (@1681_reflectionsoflife_) or at 1681-reflections-of-life.square.site.

He plans to get “1681 Reflections of Life” into local stores and also begin selling through Amazon and Etsy. Locals who prefer to shop in person will also be able to find the candles at 1905 W. Airline Highway in LaPlace.

“I want it to expand. I want to be blown away by the success of it because I’m putting in a lot of work, and I’m expecting big results. If I’m watering the seed constantly, I expect it to grow,” James said. “I stand behind my product 100 percent. I was involved with the entire process of making it, and I love what I do.”