Sesima Kamara is a queer Liberian troublemaker entrepreneur that has made it a point to strive for her goals by making her imagination become her reality. Sesima is the Founder & Creative Director of Cecret Candles & Accessories. A Contemporary Pan African Inspired Line of Home Fragrances & Accessories Spotlighting African, Caribbean & American Cultures Worldwide, While Using All Natural Based Ingredients & Invoking Memories to Last a Lifetime. She has an Associate in Fashion Design & Merchandising and is currently working as a Career Advisor, helping young adults to find the right college and while also helping to seek employment in their career. What is important to also mention is that prior to the interview Sesima reached out and wanted to know more about our organization! This was simply fantastic that she took the time to not only learn more about Women Change Africa but also to provide positivity and encouragement to the work that we do! At the end of our introductory conversation I was so drawn into her and wanted to learn more about this phenomenal lady. This interview was so empowering because I could tell Sesima is a woman that doesn't take no for an answer and finds light even in the darkest of places and makes something out of anything. This is what creativity and innovation is about. Her light exuded throughout the interview and I enjoyed chatting with her. I hope you enjoy as much as I enjoy telling her story, and I encourage you to share it with as many people that you know.
ON SESIMA THE WOMAN
Q: Describe yourself in 1 word and tell us why you chose that word?
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself, your cultural heritage and background, where you grew up and what brings you to this work?
A: I was born in Staten Island NY and grew up in Liberia as a child! When the civil war started I had to evacuate the country because I was born in the US. My mother Mamie made a point to impose Liberian culture and heritage on my siblings and me at a very early age so we wouldn’t forget it. Growing up in the states helped me discover my creative talents. At an early age I discovered I had a love for expressing myself creatively and artistically. I’m inspired by women and more importantly my mom. She is someone that inspires me just by being herself. She takes great pride in herself but most importantly in her home (that’s her baby); she wants everything nice, neat and clean. She’s always burning candles after cooking or cleaning in our house and remembering that is what triggered pleasant memories and is what inspired my candle company and has brought me to where I am now.
Q: How do you take care of yourself and what to you enjoy doing to take time for yourself outside of work?
A: I’m catching up more up on my reading and educating myself on various topics that I am inspired by. I love hanging out with my family and friends when I’m not busy making candles or sewing accessories.
ON CANDLES AND ACCESSORIES
Q: So tell us about your brand Cecret Candles. What made you start your company at what moment did you decide you wanted to launch?
A: I started the company because I saw a need in the market, every candle that I picked up in various departments stores did not resonate with me. So I decided to change it and launch my company
Cecret Candles & Accessories is a Pan African Inspired Line of Home Fragrances & Accessories Spotlighting African Cultures Worldwide, Using All Natural Based Ingredients. While Invoking Memories to Last a Lifetime.
The candles are homemade soy lotion candles that have been handcrafted with the finest ingredients in eco-soy vegetable base wax, GRADE A unrefined shea butter and high quality premium fragrances infused with essential oils. Cecret Candles can be used as a massage candle; it is designed to keep the skin feeling soft and moisturized with all natural ingredients.
The Cecret Accessories line are handmade Ankara tote bags, infinity scarves, make up bags and pillowcases all designed to keep you in mind and make a statement.
Cecret Candles & Accessories aims to create awareness to various languages, expressions and lifestyles worldwide while connecting cultures to invoke memories that will last a lifetime.
Take for instance “DASH” is a common slang that’s used in West African English from Sierra Leone to Cameroon. The meaning is Pigeon Talk, a slang used by vendors to wholesale customers to give a bonus or discount.
Q: What problem are you trying to solve with your company? Tell us about what are the types of services you provide what would an ideal client receive from you?
A: some of the problems my company is trying to solve is how to create job opportunities for people in Liberia. I am one of the lucky few that got the opportunity to escape the war in Liberia and every time I travel back home, I see how the war has affected the people and the country economically. I honestly hope and pray to be well established so that I can go back to Liberia to help those in need.
Some of the services my company provides is working with various clients by helping them to enhance their home décor or creating a signature or personalize candle for them and helping them by making their vision come true. I try to do it all. For me it’s important that I treat my client’s like family and give them high quality services and products.
Q: What is an interesting project/item you are currently working that you don’t mind sharing with us?
A: I am introducing 3 new scents for the upcoming holiday season. I’m super excited and cannot wait to share it with you all…YAY.
Q: As the Founder of your company tell us the 3 most important things you have learnt in your work that you want to share with others who are interested in starting their own business in this industry?
1. Let Go of the Fear of Failure
2. Have Lots of Patience “it’s not going to be walk in park”,
3. Perfect you’re Craft.
Q: Tell us about a personal challenge you overcame as a leader in this capacity and how did you overcome it?
A: One of the challenges that I have over came was re-branding my candle company. In the beginning when I decided to start my company. I took it more as a hobby, than a business. The first design concept packaging was a black chalkboard inspired glass jar and used neon markers to write on the jars. When friends and family started to take notice in my business and asked me to really think about my brand of candles, its then that I had to put on my thinking cap and ask myself where do I see this brand and also ask myself as a consumer what do I look for in my products? The light shine so bright and I went back to the drawing board and repackaged the brand into a more marketable product that I feel people are going love. Its one of those stories that’s going to be told forever and its Africa’s #CecretCandles
ON AFRICAN WOMEN
Q: What advice do you provide to young women who may be interested in this field and are looking for how to actually start their businesses?
A: There’s going to be a lot of obstacles in life and its going to get very uncomfortable but you have to trust GOD and believe in yourself, believe in what you stand for and have patience but most importantly WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT GIVE UP.
Q: 10 years from now where do you see yourself?
A: I see my brand in every “Home Goods” Department Stores Internationally!
Q: Finish the sentence “Women Change Africa because…..?”
A: we enrich each other