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Moodie Vibes - Aminta Freeman

Where are you from?

I was born in Guatemala and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I claim both as home :)

How has your heritage/culture influenced your entrepreneurial journey and your business?

My Dad, Hugo Paniagua, introduced me to the entrepreneurial journey. He was very young when he migrated to the U.S. due to the civil war in Guatemala. He opened his own carpentry business with limited education and resources. Mi Papa’s creative and resilient spirit made a way. I remember the beautiful furniture he would sketch and then like magic …bring to life. I’m grateful and honored to do the same and create what feels like with my hands :)

Why do you think it’s important to stay connected to your community, and what are ways that you do so as an entrepreneur?

I think that thing you do when no one is looking, that brings you joy, peace, that you keep going back to naturally is a gift not meant primarily for ourselves but more so to be shared with our communities. Our gifts are meant to be shared as a blessing to others. I fell in love with candles as a means of self care when I became a single mom. As the founder and maker of Moodie Vibes, I stay connected with community by hosting free family friendly events such as Moodie Vibes Movie Nights, allowing time for Moms to just be and watch a movie in community without having to organize the outing or spend much money. I also very much enjoy interviewing what I call “Candle Tribe” and asking “when they fell in love with candles.” The stories are wonderful but the smile when remembering their youth, a romance or a particular emotion associated with a scent fills me with such gratitude :) Each interviewee receives a sample size candle. Lastly we donate part of our proceeds on an ongoing basis to, Party of Two, an organization helping families heal from the root causes of trauma, helping children thrive and strengthening community.

Can you discuss the process of creating new candle scents and designs, and where do you draw inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from everything! I am inspired by music, food, nature, colors, community, NYC and everywhere I visit! When creating a new candle or line I really take my time and listen to my inner knowing. It takes months to test a new candle in terms of determining what wax, fragrance oils and vessels should be used in order to meet ideal performance standards. Just as important, it takes time to bring to life the delicate dance between the flame and the fragrance creating an experience of decompression, tranquility, peace and joy.

How do you believe promoting self-care among Latines contributes to the success of both individuals and the community as a whole?

What a great question! When I started burning candles to decompress, I had no idea this was a form of self care. Growing up our mothers, aunts and grandmothers were the first ones up preparing everyone’s meals and then heading to work just to turn around and start their second job at home preparing dinner, cleaning up, bathing children, ironing clothes and often, the last ones to bed. I don’t remember pampering sessions but I do recall music, dancing, laughing, lipstick and nail polish in between it all! I think that was their way of squeezing in a even if just a few minutes of “me” time. Based on my experience, being productive at all times was often the standard while downtime was considered “perder el tiempo.” I am grateful to see changes within the women in my own family in embracing a softer life. My mom is enjoying the occasional nail salon appointment without the guilt of having to rush home or spending a few dollars on an experience that brings a smile to her face. I am also loving the safe spaces we are creating to have these conversations and self care experiences in our local parks, libraries, churches and community centers. As the saying goes, the mask goes on you first! As a mom, maker and entrepreneur, I hand pour each candle with the non toxic materials, love and the intention of creating a self care experience for everyone but especially for mothers/nurturers and givers. When mothers are poured into, they can pour into their children, community and society from a healthy and sustainable place.

How do you incorporate self care into your daily routine as a business owner, and in what ways do you see your candles contribute to a sense of well-being and relaxation for your customers?

When I hand pour each candle, I listen to music, I sway with the words and melody, I set intentions as I pour, I smile, I am fully present and this for me is a form of meditation. It is a form of self care. As a business owner, employee and Mom of two humans and a fur baby, I regularly plan and write down in my planner solo date plans or plans with friends/loved ones. As the owner and maker of Moodie Vibes candles, I share the message of self care as a necessity and not as a luxury. I share my experience with my own children and how our relationship flourished when I started to give from a place of fullness as opposed to a place of obligation. Everything changed when I poured into myself. I am very intentional about sharing how candles helped create an affordable and accessible means of self love and self care and wish to spread that message and experience. The Scent of Self Care.

What’s one thing you wish more people knew about your business/industry?

I wish people knew that although making candles can be really fun and relaxing ultimately, the testing stages are a huge pain in the you know what! There’s much science and math involved!

What would you tell someone that is interested in your business, but is hesitant to reach out/purchase?

I would say this is a safe space for candle lovers aka candle hoarders! We welcome you and any questions/concerns you may have with a smile because ultimately we will either become candle friends/tribe and/or share a conversation on what self care looks like to you (even if that doesn't include Moodie Vibes Candles ;)


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