Mother-daughter team leads luxury self-care business
Kobi Gregory and Tasha Harris are the mother-daughter team behind the luxury candle and self-care business Kobi Co. While in high school, Gregory started hand-pouring candles to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and establish a way for her to fund going to her dream school, Spelman College.
Gregory’s unique candles have familiar themes as they are inspired by Black music, particularly artists from Minnesota like Prince and Lizzo. Each candle even has a playlist attached, so that customers can listen to Gregory’s inspirations while burning their candles, fusing scents, sounds, and self-care.
Only a Gen Z-er could think of this type of self-care experience, but Gregory is not alone in building Kobi Co. Her mother enthusiastically supported Gregory’s creativity and entrepreneurial spirit and joined in on growing the business.
After nearly two decades in the corporate world, Harris decided to take time for her own self-care and healing journey. For her, self-care, family and wellness are extremely important. So as her daughter began Kobi Co. pouring and selling candles, Harris also found herself drawn to the company “having seen first-hand what can happen when you de-prioritize self-care and burn yourself out.”
Both women came to the realization that this company could be more than a pandemic hobby and are currently working together—merging Harris’ years of experience with Gregory’s creativity—to build a business that will appeal to multiple generations.
As evidence of their hard work and dedication, the duo just graduated from the Lunar Startups Accelerator program, open to Minnesota-based start-ups, and are continuing to scale up their business with three additional seasonal workers to meet demand.
When asked about their favorite products, the company stated via email, “Our favorites are aligned with the fan favs: #Chillaxin’ and #PurpleRain. We are able to produce in small batches, so we also like creating limited quantities for a special occasion.
“Each summer we create a new scent. This year we paid homage to our home girl Lizzo. We created a candle called #Feelin’GoodAsHell, and of course, there are tons of Lizzo songs on the playlist. It’s definitely one that you will want to burn while heading out to the club or out for a work-out!”
As many Black women on social media have been embracing the term “luxury,” we asked Harris and Gregory what the word means to them. “Luxury means not skimping. Using quality ingredients and materials,” the company replied in an email. “Standing apart from the rest. Something that makes you [personally] feel delicious on the inside and out. Something that makes you smile. It’s also an investment in pleasure, which at times can be priceless. We strive to be an affordable luxury brand so everyone can feel indulged without breaking the bank.”
It was clear when I saw Harris at Rosé Fest in 2021, where she was selling candles, room sprays, and bath salts, that she was all-in when it came to seeing this company and her daughter succeed.
Asked about advice Harris would give to other parents with teenagers wanting to start a business, she said, “I am so proud that I raised a daughter who has courage and creativity. I recommend parents encourage and support their children’s dreams. Who knows, it might even become your dream—like in my case!”
Gregory, asked where she sees herself in five years and if it is difficult to juggle her college coursework and her business, responded: “I am actually taking a gap year right now. I plan to continue to focus on learning every aspect of the business so I can determine which niche I want to focus on long term.”
Asked about the challenges of running a business, the team emphasized the difficulties of building brand awareness as well as learning the retail business. “Neither one of us has a background in retail,” Harris said. “We are grateful to consider ourselves lifelong learners. It’s been exciting to learn a new industry.”
They shared tips for success: “Always be learning! [There is] so much to learn about in the industry. Network—build your social capital. Minnesota has some amazing resources… The information and relationships we built have proven to be invaluable for Kobi Co.”
For more information on Kobi Co. visit: www.lovekobico.com follow their Instagram: @LoveKobiCo.