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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Black Luxe Candle Co.’s Booming Retail Store And Classroom Reopens In Wicker Park After Moving From Bucktown

The store's classes have proved incredibly popular over the past year, on top of its candle brand, owners said. "I didn't know that the amount of growth was going to happen the way it happened."

Black Luxe Candle Co. co-owners Julius and Brittany Dease at their new space in Wicker Park
Quinn Myers/Block Club Chicago
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WICKER PARK — A candle store and classroom space that opened in Bucktown last year has relocated to Wicker Park after its original store was sold this summer.

Black Luxe Candle Co. reopens Friday at 1252 N. Milwaukee Ave. after spending the past year on Damen Avenue in Bucktown, just south of the 606 Bloomingdale Trail.

Brittany and Julius Dease launched the company online in 2019. They started selling candles on the internet before moving to a brick-and-mortar store in September 2021.

The Deases make and sell candles with scents such as bourbon butterscotch and eucalyptus and mint. The couple also hosts frequent candle-making workshops, which have exploded in popularity over the past year, they said.

Black Luxe was on a month-to-month lease at its space in Bucktown when the building was sold earlier this year to the Kensington School, which plans to redevelop the property into a day care.

The couple was committed to staying close and did extensive renovations to their new home on Milwaukee Avenue.

Candle-making classes are set to resume this weekend, and some are already sold out, they said.

“We did everything, do everything, ourselves. It’s a lot of work … this is a complete build-out,” Brittany Dease said. “But it’s exciting. I know that we’re going to be busy busy.”

Credit: Quinn Myers/Block Club Chicago
Julius Dease holds a candle at Black Luxe Candle Co. in Wicker Park

While Black Luxe has grown into a popular brand and destination, it began as barely a hobby for Brittany Dease.

Brittany Dease started making candles four years ago as a one-time gift for friends and family during the holidays. After they proved popular, people asked her if she could make more or teach them how to do it themselves.

With help from her husband, Brittany Dease launched Black Luxe Candle Co. online in spring 2019, with the initial goal of making only $100 through their first presale.

“Julius was like, ‘Well, didn’t you spend more money on supplies?’ And I was like, ‘You know what? Yes, but that doesn’t matter. I’m just trying to see if people are actually going to buy the product,'” Brittany Dease said.

Against their expectations, the Deases made close to $1,000 in that first sale. They started to realize the business could be scaled up.

Over the next year, the couple attended craft fairs and made more online sales.

Brittany Dease was laid off from her marketing job when the pandemic hit, and Julius Dease, a middle school science teacher, started working remotely. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the couple, who then had more time to dedicate to the candle company.

The Deases also launched a spring collection emphasizing self care. The line proved popular with customers stuck at home during the early months of the pandemic, and business started booming, Julius Dease said.

“I let [Brittany] know, this isn’t a disguise, this is what’s happening. So by June, there was a huge influx of business that came in,” he said.

Credit: Quinn Myers/Block Club Chicago
The in-progress interior and classroom space at the new Black Luxe Candle Co. in Wicker Park

Part of that spike in business came from a nationwide push to support Black-owned businesses during 2020’s racial justice protests. The Deases doubled their revenue in June from just two months prior, they said.

The success allowed the couple to expand to the Bucktown storefront last year, which was initially just meant to be a pop-up. Then they started hosting candle-making classes, which were a big hit thanks to word of mouth — and help from TikTok.

Julius Dease said the classes quickly started bringing in even more revenue than candle sales. He chalks it up to customers being eager for an in-person experience after being isolated during the pandemic.

“I already knew … people are going to go for this, because essentially what it is, it’s up to you to make sure people feel good when they come into space. And when they walk out of the space, that memory of that experience is what they’re going to pass on to the next set of people,” Julius Dease said.

The Deases are also considering adding special event classes in the near future, which could combine candle-making with yoga, or a boozy brunch.

Ahead of their reopening, the couple said they look forward to showing off their new space, and whatever comes next.

“I didn’t know that the amount of growth was going to happen the way it happened,” Julius Dease said. “We appreciate everybody’s support.”

Black Lux Candle Co. is open noon-6 p.m. Thursdays, noon-8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon-6 p.m. Sundays. Information on classes and candles is on the company’s website.

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