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#30SmileReminders: Support Local Businesses

To celebrate my 30th birthday, I wanted to find simple ways to give back to the community and create more intentional joy. I made a list of 30 ways to do so and have picked a few to really highlight as part of this year’s #SmileBirthdayGiveback.

One of these activities was “Support Local Businesses.” On Saturday, May 18, I had the opportunity to do that. I attended a candlemaking workshop with Scent by Heaven and hosted at Pastries by Anne.

Pastries by Anne is an amazing bakery in Queens, New York. It was, coincidentally, the first bakery I stumbled into after moving to a new neighborhood. The barista was friendly and kind and as I debated which sweet treat to bring home, we talked about his favorite restaurants and local recommendations. And the vegan mango cake was out of this world. 

Scent by Heaven is a candle store whose mission is to produce and sell superior quality candles, reed diffusers, air fresheners, and other products that offer elegant home decor features that sustain the values and lifestyles of every client.

Both bakery and candle store are run by exceptional women. Anne is the namesake of “Pastries by Anne” and by spending just a minute with her, it’s apparent that she puts her heart in everything she creates. And everything she creates—from cakes to teas—is delicious.

Gisela Andre (pictured) is the founder of Scent by Heaven. She founded the business after fighting depression and learning that her younger son had ASD. She began to make scented candles while taking care of her son at home. She’s been doing so for the last 10 years. 

The class was held in the back of the bakery, an intimate setting for myself, my friend, Gisela, and two other attendees. The other classmates were delightful and we had the best time chatting as we smelled different fragrances and debated how to decorate our candles.

Some of you may also recall my personal resolution to attend a different class each month of 2024. I’ve done five thus far this year and as such, feel qualified to comment on how well done this entire experience was. Part technical lesson, part creative exploration, and part heart-felt therapy session, the class was organized, exciting, and, frankly, empowering. Gisela it a phenomenal teacher and I truly cannot recommend her classes enough.

I was humbled to spend the afternoon with such inspirational women and thrilled to be able to support two local businesses as part of this Birthday Giveback. I’d encourage you to use this post as an excuse to try a new coffee shop, pop into an independent bookstore, or spread a little small business love in any way that makes sense for you. And if that means walking home with freshly made cookies and a handcrafted candle? Well that’s just the cherry on top. 


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