Tina Renee, owner of Whiffs On Wheels, made a faithful decision to leave corporate America in 2020. With the mantra of keep God first, she give her mother her flowers and is a blooming Black entrepreneur. Tina speak about her journey and shares advice for success.
By LaMar Anderson | February 25, 2021 | 6:00am
Please tell us your name and the name of your Business.
My name is Tina Renee, and the name of my business is Whiffs On Wheels.
Please tells us about Whiffs On Wheels and how long you have been in business.
Okay, we started making candles in 2017, and in September 2020 branched off and started our mobile candle boutique, Whiffs On Wheels. Here we make 100% all-natural vegan candles, room and linen spritzers, and other aromatherapy products like wax tarts and tealights.
What was your inspiration for starting Whiffs On Wheels?
My mother was the inspiration. It is D. Kay by Tina Renee, and we are Whiffs On Wheels. My mother is D. Kay, I’m Tina Renee, and I wanted to pay homage, she is still living, but I wanted to give her; her flowers. That was the inspiration behind starting this business. Wanting her to see her daughter blossom and bloom and see her have success in this time and on this side of life.
Was entrepreneurship a part of your upbringing? Is your mother an entrepreneur?
She is not—just a southern, basic, simple girl.
Are you from Los Angeles originally?
I am from Arkansas.
Tell us about the journey from Arkansas to LA. Is LA home now?
LA is definitely home; we moved here when I was thirteen years old, and we never left.
Did you grow up in the Leimert Park, Crenshaw District, Baldwin Hills area?
No, I grew up in the Inland Empire area. As a teenager, I grew up in the San Bernardino, Rialto, Fontana area, and now I am here [Leimert Park].
How long have you been coming to Leimert Park, and what’s your experience been like? What’s Leimert mean to you?
Oh my goodness, I’ve been coming to Leimert for about three months now, and it means the world. I pop up at a different place every day, but Leimert has a special place in my heart because it’s us, its culture. It’s so rich in culture and its historical background here. I get to be with my people and circulating my Black dollars back into the community. So when I’ve been here at Leimert, it’s most meaningful because I know everything is going back into the community.
Where did your interest or passion come from regarding aromatherapy- health and wellness products and using 100% natural vegan ingredients?
When I started making candles, it was a hobby and for fun. I had no idea that you could literally make a toxic candle. When I started doing my research, I understood the importance of using an eco-friendly vegan wax as well as an eco-friendly wick because both of them can be toxic. Once I understood that I could be selling a product that could essentially hurt someone, I was like, I need to make sure I am doing my due diligence and putting out a product that is clean, safe, and vegan-ya know. I want to see my customer be healthy even when it comes to candles.
Can you tell us a little bit about your challenges of 2020 as a business owner, which led to success in 2021?
Yes, in 2020, I walked away from corporate America to continue with candles. Whiffs On Wheels came a few months after and [success] immediately after because I got to meet so many people and got involved with different events and flourish at those events. Something I would never have been able to do in corporate America. So the successes that it brought was that I was in the newspaper, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to interview and let the world know about by business Whiffs On Wheels and just be here every day doing what I love. That within itself is success to me.
Where are some places you are a staple for people and like to pop up to vend?
I would definitely say, Leimert Park. People are starting to look forward to me being here, and that feels so amazing. They’ll message me on Instagram – are you going to be in Leimert today? Leimert is a place I think I am kinda becoming a staple and hopefully will become a staple. I also like to do pop-up shops. There’s a lot of people who have turned to the pop-up shop thing now. So, I like to go where there are going to be a lot of other vendors doing their thing, and I network and meet, and we connect with other resources. So pop-ups and Leimert are definitely my places.
Is there any advice you can give to other business owners about making that leap into entrepreneurship for themselves?
Anytime I am given the opportunity, I always say – keep God first. I will never not say that and take a chance on yourself because there are so many reasons not to do what you want to do that you just don’t do it. Be willing to take a chance on yourself; you might be surprised, I was.
What can we expect from Tina Renee and Whiffs On Wheels in 2021? I have a secret project I am working on right now. I am really not saying much about it, but you can definitely look forward to some amazing things from Whiffs on Wheels. I am excited just talking about it, but some great things are happening; people are interested in my creativity and the dedication of it all. Just keep your TV on, haha.
How can we connect with Tina Renee and support Whiffs on Wheels?
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