Recently, we were very happy to speak with Niyah, the owner and operator of a fantastic treat-themed candle company known as Gimme Dulce. Gimme Dulce produces unique scented candles that smell almost as delicious as they look!
First off, I want to mention how impressive your candles are. They all look absolutely delicious; you completely nail the presentation. And not only your candles, but your success as well. It’s incredibly inspiring to see people succeed in the way that you have.
Thank you. Thank you so much.
Starting a business at 17 can be a lot to manage on top of regular responsibilities. Did you ever feel like people didn’t take you or your business, Gimme Dulce, as seriously as they should’ve, due to your age?
In the beginning, when I had the idea, I remember telling my mom about it and she was like “You don’t even know how to do it. Like you really think you should do that?” Then when I did it, she was like, “Can I become a business partner?”
In the beginning, my family was a little iffy about it. But, like, when I did it and I actually went through with it, they were really proud of me. And the success came really quick. I sold out of my first batch with within the first week, and then it just kind of went from there.
So you took yourself seriously at the beginning and that was enough to eventually show people that this is a real thing you’re doing and you’re actually going to go far with it.
What would you consider to be the biggest challenge that you faced and overcame regarding your business?
The biggest challenge was actually making the business legit. Like with the taxes and all of that. That’s kind of what I’m going through right now. It’s so confusing that we have to hire, like, a business accountant. He’s helping us organize our documents and get everything centered right. That’s the most hectic thing right now. That, and getting our website in order. We sell in malls every weekend, but the website is a great opportunity too.
So the more legitimate it gets, the more challenging.
You mentioned that you guys sell a lot in malls, so where specifically can people find you?
I’m at Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey every single weekend. We also do a lot of pop-up shops around the Philadelphia area, in New Jersey, and all over.
So, you mentioned some challenges. Who in your life would you say had your back the most during those challenges?
My mom has always helped out at the malls, and with paperwork. My stepdad has been a huge help too; it’s really been my parents having my back the most.
That’s amazing. It’s good to have a good like support system for this kind of stuff because it does get it definitely does get complicated.
Owning a successful business of your own has given you a bit of a head-start on life that a lot of other people don’t get. Do you plan to grow Gimme Dulce into an empire and make a lifelong career out of it, or do you have plans to eventually pivot towards new horizons?
In the beginning, I wanted to sell the business. But now that it’s been growing, I really don’t want to lose it. Eventually, I want to be like the next Bath and Body Works. Gimme Dulce is going to start getting into, like, bath products, body butters, body scrubs, soaps, and that’s going to be our next thing. Once I get everything settled with the candles, and once we get our website completed, I want to start expanding. I’m young and I do change my mind a lot, but I do really want to see it grow.
With high-end restaurants plating entrees in unique and imaginative ways, and even fast food places using fake foods in their commercials to create a more appetizing appearance for their products, presentation is as important in the culinary world as it is in the candle business. Are there any particular dishes or desserts that specifically inspire you with their presentation?
I look for ice creams and gelato mostly. So I’m like, “What would look good on an ice cream? A little drizzle? A little fake gumball?”. People love the add-ons, so I add on little hearts and stars. I make it look as realistic as possible, because I want people to look at it and think “I want to eat that”, even though they can’t. But then they smell it, and they’re like “Oh, it smells like the real thing!”.
So, that’s where my inspiration comes from, desserts. Not just how they look, but how they smell, too.
The little extra touches that you give, like the little gumballs on the bubblegum sundae cup and the sprinkles on the cinnamon donut cup. They make it look extra realistic, and extra appetizing.
Oh definitely. I’ve had little kids come up and lick candles before. The craziest thing happened one time, this grown man came up to the pop-up shop and picked up our fruit loop bowl candle. I was telling him all about how you can use the fruit loops as wax melts, and how you can clean off and use the spoon once it’s all burned down, and as I was explaining it, he went and popped a fake fruit loop into his mouth!
Your candles and waxes are crafted in a way that is almost indistinguishable from the foods that they’re based on. Creating such delectable looking candles must require a unique and propriety process. Without revealing too many of your industry secrets, what special steps do you take to create your products, beyond just the regular candle-making process?
We have a regular candle-making process in the beginning, where we have the wax and fragrances and everything, but then it gets more involved during the pouring process. It gets a lot messier, and it takes a lot longer. We let the wax harden a little bit, but not completely, and then we shape it into the ice cream shapes. And then the toppings and add-ons alone can add a ton of extra time.
Typically, candles are just made up of wax poured into a container. You, however, went the extra mile and added on a few steps to make your products stand out in a brand new and unique way. Have you always been the type of person to exceed expectations and transcend the competition? Or did it take an extra bit of self-discipline to make your vision for Gimme Dulce come to life?
I’ve always been the type to take the lead. And, if I’m going to do something, I’m going to try to be the best at it. I’ve always been on top of my grades, and I was an honor roll student all through high school. I always want to be the best at whatever I focus on.
So I know that when I put my mind to something, I’m going to find success. And even if I do fail, I can always try again or do something else.
So you’re very self-motivated and you’ve got a very positive outlook even when it comes to the negative aspects, which is good.
You’re essentially creating art-pieces that are more than just basic candles. Sculpting wax to create a particular shape or design can be especially difficult, considering that wax is a medium that is easy to melt and misshape. Were the arts something that you were always interested in, or did you pick up sculpture after being stricken with the inspiration to create your candles?
In the beginning of my life, around grade school age, I was really into art. Moreso crafts, because I was never great at drawing. I always liked crafting my own things with my hands. I grew out of it as I got older, but now with the candles, I’ve been much more into it again. I’m the type of person where when I get into something, I really try to learn every little thing about it. And that’s what I’ve been doing with the candles.
If you could have an unlimited supply of any dessert that your candles are based on, which would you choose?
I’m really into our new holiday scents, which will be on our website soon. It’s like gingerbread apple, cinnamon buns, hot cocoa, even sweet potato pie. Right now, I’m in love with the cinnamon bun one. But wait, the pumpkin spice one is really good too! I’ll do the pumpkin spice.