"The Sitota Collection is inspired by the love of travel and cultural diversity, born out of necessity to share one of life’s most precious gifts... my Sitota. "
Included in The Sitota Collection are four candles made with renewable soy wax, with each fragrance telling their own story of love and travel experienced by Yvette. What sets Yvette's candles apart from other high quality candle sets is that she takes the time to make small batches of each, thus maintaining superior craftsmanship with each candle made. Also, by offering only four fragrances compared to many like other popular candle companies, Yvette is able to pay attention to every detail, right down to the captivating and sensual scents she achieves by using fine fragrance oils. While Yvette's candles were created to capture treasured memories of her family, she invites you to enjoy these candles in hopes that they, too, will awaken memories of special moments you have shared with your family.
Stay tuned on Friday when I will be sharing more about each of the four candles and their scents, which make up the Sitota Collection. If you can't wait until Friday to hear about my thoughts -- FYI. I loved them!, and want to order so that you can give as a gift this upcoming holiday season, or just love candles and want to experience this luxury candle collection for yourself, visit www.thesitotacollection.com.
But, before you visit Yvette's site to learn more about her candles and to place an order, please enjoy my Spotlight on Mom feature with her. I for one don't know how Yvette Gayle does it with her busy schedule. :-)
Company Name/Product/Service: The Sitota Collection
Company Location: Los Angeles, CA
Company Website: www.thesitotacollection.com
Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/mysitota
Twitter Handle: @mysitota
Age of Company: 1 year
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” Maya Angelou
Favorite Book: "Tuesday’s With Morrie"
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How many children do you have? What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.
I’m a native New Yorker and I received my degree in Political Science from West Virginia University. While in college I interned at Sony Music. Upon graduating I took a position as an assistant in the publicity department for Columbia Records. Currently I serve as Vice President of Publicity at Interscope Geffen A&M Records. Having my own business was never a dream of mine. I never imagined I could do such a thing. But I combined my love of travel with my passion for fragrance and created The Sitota Collection, a luxury home fragrance company. I live in Los Angeles with my husband Colin and my two children Mekhi (8) and Kymani Sitota (4). We also have a bearded dragon named Pancho and a fish called FISH.
Briefly explain your business. How did it come about?
My entertainment career offered me the opportunity to travel the world. I’ve been to so many wonderful countries for work and for personal vacations. I’ve had an extraordinary journey. As a hobby, I made candles for myself and close friends. It was really my son’s idea for me to turn my hobby into a business. He came into the kitchen one day while I was making candles and said “Mama I think you should have a manufacturing plant. Then you can have stores in every country sell your candles.” From that day I put everything into starting my business. I met with expert perfumers and wax manufactures to perfect my craft. Today I sell in the US and in Nigeria.
What is a typical work day like?
My work days are anything but typical. I wake up early around 5:45 to get prepared for the day. I make breakfast for my family which is really important to me since I miss dinner in the evenings. I think my kids think I’m a short order cook - Pancakes and sausage for one, eggs & bacon for another. But the days I can convince them both to have instant oatmeal is fabulous. After I get my husband and kids out the door I work on The Sitota Collection for about 1 1/2 hours. Check my email, review orders, and check in with my social media strategist (in South Africa) and my graphic designer (in Hungary) as I usually wake up to emails from them.
I arrive at my day job around 10am - the day consists of everything from pitching stories and television appearances to traveling for photos shoots and performances. Every day is different. Typically I leave the office around 7PM.
I arrive home about 7:45, in time to check homework, read with both kids and then tuck them in to bed. They are still at the stage where they want mommy to sit or lay with them before they fall asleep. All too often i’m the one that conks out…waking up an hour or so later. If I’m lucky I can stay up long enough to check in with hubby and see how his day was and perhaps catch up on a television program.
What has been a struggle while starting up your company?
The biggest struggle has been finding the time to accomplish everything that I want and need to do. Because I started out as a one woman show - doing everything from social media, marketing, publicity and pouring the candles myself, time was my biggest enemy. But I learned that Rome wasn’t created in a day and I built this company brick by brick. I had to learn that I wasn’t on any one else’s time table. This way my company and I could move at my own pace. That was the beauty of my situation.
What did you do in your past work life?
I’ve always been a music publicist, still am today.
What have been some of your major successes?
I have had great success in terms of my career and have worked with some of the best artists in the music Industry, from Nancy Wilson to 50 Cent to Mary J Blige. However my personal success has been raising my family. Giving birth to my son was a miracle (28 weeks of bed rest, high risk etc). Then god blessed us with Kymani Sitota. I judge my success on these questions. How are my children? Am I raising conscience, empathetic individuals who aspire to be global citizens? Are they well cared for? Are they receiving a great education? Is my husband content? I think the most important thing I can do in this life is to prepare my children for their future.
What have been some of your major challenges?
One of my major challenges is in driving consumers to my online store. Candles are very much a sensory thing, so without actually smelling them it can be difficult to reach new consumers online. Thankfully we have had success with our Petite Excursion Candle Quartet. It houses one of each fragrance in the line and it is our best seller.
My biggest challenge though is just trying to do it all. I have to prioritize at times and when you do that you can’t make everyone happy. Finding a moment just for me is very challenging. During my free time I seem to work more - creating new scents, exploring new products or doing research.
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
Knowing that the moment will pass and having faith that god has put me on this path to succeed and not fail. This keeps moves me motivated through those difficult days.
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
I think the secret is to ask for help. I’m used to picking up the pieces for everyone. I’m a problem solver. I focus on finding the best solution. But often I’m not so good at asking others for help. I’m learning to be better at that. My family and friends are very supportive. I could not survive without my extensive network of friends. I wear many hats - wife, mother, soccer mom, entrepreneur, publicist, artisan candle maker. As exhausting as it may be - I’m trying to enjoy the journey and not so much rush to the finishing line. It’s a hard thing to manage and I can’t say I do it well always but I do it well enough.
What is next for your business?
Right now the focus is to build upon my retail outlets and reach a larger consumer base.
Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?
Being an entrepreneur is hard work. It’s not for the faint at heart. But if you are passionate about something and you completely love what you do then have faith and go for it. Get out of your comfort zone and dream big. Remove the nay sayers and surround yourself with supportive people. Momprenuers truly have super powers!