Written by Morgan Forde Photographed by Natasha Magino Hair by Shante Williams
Bennisha Lucas is a mother, mentor, entrepreneur, and CEO of Lords of LuLu, a premium soy and essential oil based candle company in Washington, DC. A native of Southeast DC, Lucas’ hand-poured candles are labors of love and self-discovery. Lords of Lulu, a play on her nickname and last name, means, “light-keepers who influence others through outstanding example.”
“For me, the candle-making process means tradition, love, knowledge, entrepreneurship, self-care, and awareness. It’s the movement of care, wisdom, and legacy from generation to generation,” she said. “It’s essentially my way to reinforce to myself, my family, and my community that I love you so much that I want to teach you, as I am learning, a new way of taking care.”
"For me, the candle-making process means tradition, love, knowledge, entrepreneurship, self-care, and awareness."
Having grown up in DC, Lucas still lives in the community and has grown up amongst a supportive tribe of family, friends, and teachers who helped her learn the skills she needed to step out and become an entrepreneur. As a child she participated in a variety of local programs, including Marion Barry’s Youth Leadership Institute (formerly the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Institute), Boys + Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, and Capital Partners for Education. In addition, Lucas said she was inspired to go into business for herself after reading the best-selling book Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki. “It was after reading that book that I knew my purpose was greater than a 9-to-5 structure,” Lucas said, “I began the process of reimagining how I could support others’ dreams by pursuing mine. I learned about financial literacy, generational wealth, and how to start generating assets and reducing liabilities. It was a systematic process that I called unlearning everything I had learned in order to learn again.” It is this process of learning and unlearning and becoming financially independent, while setting an example for her young daughters that has fueled Lucas’ passion. For her, Lords of LuLu has been a journey of self-discovery, and her daughters have taken it up alongside her.
“Some of my best candles have come from think-tank sessions with my girls,” she said. “We sample oils, explore the richness of materials, and brainstorm smile-worthy candle names. Their honesty is one of the most valued assets I have. And it motivates me to be the best version of myself and release only the best versions of my products.” Her candles, hand-poured soy wax infused with essential oil blends and with natural cotton wicks, are meant to evoke calm and self-care in her customers. “I am often happy to smell pleasant aromas that summon peace,” Lucas said. “So Sea Salt + Orchid, Lotus Flower, Gardenia, White Sage + Lavender, and Magnolia + Peony are some of my faves.” As part of a collaboration with The Vibe Room, Lucas has created a an eponym candle "The Vibe Room" cured with lush linen premium oil.
“My mom raised me to always seek knowledge,” Lucas said, “and to use that awareness as a platform to achieve my version of success.” Likewise, her advice to current and aspiring entrepreneurs follows: “Some people have the information needed to be successful; and, yet, that version of them never prospers, because they’re so afraid of rejection. Find a network of individuals who can support [you] with [your] ideas, and study people who you can learn from.”
1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002
(inside of Union Market)
2001 Chapman Ave, Rockville, MD 20852
Artist and Craftsman Supply
1201-1203 Brentwood Rd NE, Washington, DC 20018
504B H Street NE
Washington DC 20002