Joy Fennell and Valerie Wray: She’s a Ray of Light

July 10 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: Just Playin’ Around

When was the last time you remember being truly playful? Like roll-on-the-floor, giggling-like-a-hyena playful? If you’re thinking such activities are only for kids, think again. From the adult perspective, being playful means not taking things so seriously. It’s being lighthearted and letting yourself enjoy something. If you’re honest with yourself, maybe it’s been awhile since you’ve been playful. Today, call your goofiest girlfriend, or spontaneously pop in on a family member who makes you bust a gut and let loose. Work can wait. Your to-do list can wait. It’s time to express your playful side and take pleasure in the little amusements in life.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: $3.2 Billion

Some of my favorite things, particularly beauty products and home-décor items, have funny, playful names that I just adore, like Essie’s Frock ’n’ Roll nail polish or Estée Lauder’s Insolent Ivory eye shadow. When it comes to scented candles, I gravitate toward those with a pleasant aroma, but, admittedly, also choose based on their packaging and names. That’s why I have no doubt I’m responsible for contributing a pretty significant amount of my hard-earned money to the candle trade. And, ladies, apparently, I’m not alone. According to the National Candle Association (Yep, it’s a thing!), women purchase about 90 percent of candles, and my candle habit and yours generate about $3.2 billion in sales for the candle industry every year in the United States. That’s about a billion pounds of wax. Talk about blowing a bundle!

WOMEN TO WATCH: Joy Fennell and Valerie Wray, Co-founders of The 125 Collection

Today’s Women to Watch, Joy Fennell and Valerie Wray, are about as sweet, spicy and spirited as their fashionable and sassy candle company, The 125 Collection.

Aimed at consumers who share Joy and Valerie’s appreciation for fun, stylish individuality and have a bit of a decadent taste for fine, non-toxic fragrances (Hey, that’s me!), The 125 Collection features a line of whimsical quote candles, each hand-selected and made with all-natural soy.

If there are any dudes listening or reading today, here’s a tip for you: There are generally two things women totally appreciate as gifts—wine and candles. These 125 Collection candles should definitely be that next gift for your special lady friend. Each candle features an inspiring (and often cheeky) phrase and a few scents to choose from. Candle quotes include: “Be You. The World Will Adjust,” “Don’t Quit Your Day Dream,” “May the Wings of Your Eyeliner Always Be Even,” and any yoga lover’s absolute favorite, “Namast’ay in Bed.”

Joy and Valerie’s candles are individually poured in small batches. Each handmade candle is made with a natural, lead-free wick and the highest quality scented oils. And get this: The 125 Collection estimates the amount of burning time on each candle. That funny eyeliner candle has a burning lifespan of 80 hours!

So, just how did Joy and Valerie come up with the idea for a unique luxury-candle company? Over ice cream in a park in Harlem, of course! They think of their cool candles as the modern-day alternative to traditional greeting cards. And what woman wouldn’t opt for a sweet-smelling candle with a saucy quote versus a boring old greeting card?

Both Joy and Valerie are inherently creative. Joy studied African-American studies in college and has been deemed a super-talented makeup artist, specializing in print and video. And Valerie was a successful businesswoman in her own right, working in the fashion field before meeting Joy and combining their love for home goods and their superpowers to create—and entirely self-fund—The 125 Collection, which, by the way, was named after their beloved Harlem’s legendary 125th Street.

These fiery entrepreneurs are proof that if you’ve got a great business idea and the passion to pursue it, nothing can stop you. As they say at The 125 Collection, “Trust your dopeness!”


Today’s quote comes directly from The 125 Collection, which features a candle with our new favorite saying:

“Wake up. Kick ass. Be Kind. Repeat.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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