Odette Shirley is a fierce advocate of self-care and wellness who owns a plant-based candle company called Maison Jouvence. Each candle is handcrafted with soy, coconut, shea and apricot creme.
Shirley shared why investing in yourself is important and how she helps women find balance in their lives by creating self-care routines that work for them.
Why did you select your career?
I chose this line of work after my 18-year career in the airline industry was halted due to the pandemic. I started making my plant-based candles and products, a skill I learned a few years back after losing my best friend to carcinogenic lung cancer. It was a wake-up call, a swift reminder that we must live a life free of chemicals and harmful toxins. Since then, my mission has been simple [which is to] help people take care of themselves by creating a one-stop shop for self-care products that are organic, healing, and meaningful for [your] mind, body, and soul.
As a Black woman, what do you consider your superpower to be?
My superpower is resilience. [Which means] being able to keep going when you feel like giving up, being able to fight through any obstacle that comes your way, being able to keep moving forward with courage and confidence despite your doubts, being able to put others first even when your own needs aren’t being met, and being able to overcome challenges with grace and dignity.
What key skills or qualities make you unique as an African American female leader?
My greatest strength as a leader is my ability to be direct and honest with others. I’m a strong communicator, and I’m good at helping people feel safe and comfortable. As a leader, I try to be as clear and direct as possible about what I want because it helps other parties to understand what they need to do better and why they need to do it. It also sets the tone for our work together.
What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
I’d tell my younger self to be patient. I spent a lot of time trying to achieve perfection in everything I did, and that’s not always possible. It’s OK if you’re not perfect. You can still do the best you can, and that’s good enough.