By Ashley Benkarski
NASHVILLE, TN — Mt. Juliet student Kierra Perkins is on her way to becoming a household name.
Her business, Kandles by Kierra, has been a local favorite for her creative candles for years and with her recent certification as a woman-owned business she’s hoping to expand.
That shouldn’t be hard for Kierra; she was introduced to the nation last Thursday with an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show ahead of the Father’s Day weekend.
She was also featured in the New York Times recently, the teen and her candles positioned against a backdrop as vibrant as the subjects.
It was this time just a few years ago she decided to make her dad something special for the holiday.
Intrigued by YouTube videos of candlemaking the then-11-year-old experimented until she created a deliciously realistic-looking cookies and milk candle.
When her mom, Michelle, posted a picture of Kierra’s creation family, friends and friends of friends began asking if they could get one, too.
And so with the support of her family she stepped into the role of entrepreneur, taking an unexpected but practical path into self-taught business administration.
The day after the show aired Kierra and her mother sat among their kitchen table, scattered with glass containers, wax, and various candle orders in the process of being completed.
The mix of pineapple, strawberry and margarita scents make your mouth water, exacerbated by the realistic appearance of breezy summer drinks.
The two had been up late the night before, going through the massive influx of orders (over 500, to be accurate) that began pouring in after her TV interview.
Kierra recalled the moment she found out she’d been asked to appear on the show, an accomplishment she had hoped for since she started the business.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show is one of Kierra’s favorite programs and, while she was grateful for the appearance, she was breathtakingly surprised when host tWitch announced a gift for her from kids debit app Greenlight — $25,000.
Kierra has a mantra she offers to anyone looking to make their own creative footprint:
“A young creative mind can grow a business and you do not have to wait until you’re an adult to achieve your goals.”