When Darian Cook realized the cheap candles she was buying for her apartment weren’t cutting it and that she was literally burning money, she did what any sensible millennial would do: she started making her own.
“One day, I decided to teach myself how to make a luxury candle that would burn much longer and smell how I wanted it to,” she says. “I came across a body butter recipe, borrowed my mom’s mixer and the rest is history.”
12th and Viv, Cook’s skincare, candle and home décor line, was featured by BritishVoguethis month. They partnered with Bedrock and XO Detroit in 2018 for a collective boutique in downtown Detroit, and they’ve participated in numerous pop-ups and trade shows like the Women’s Empowerment Expo and Michigan International Women’s Show.
“I thought we were being pranked when I first heard about the Voguefeature. It was legit, but I was blown away that it even happened,” Cook says. But 12thand Viv’s origin story is a long, modest way from British Vogue’s ‘favorites’ page.
“I spent a lot of time in 2015 on Pinterest and YouTube. I went to Michaels, bought a candle kit, and spent an entire Sunday making candles that didn’t turn out well,” she says. “They either didn’t smell like anything, the flame burned too high or the wick wouldn’t stay lit. But I was determined.”
12thand Viv’s ingredients are only sourced from “cruelty-free, certified-organic, pure and natural” suppliers. Cook proudly says, “If I wouldn’t use it for my daughter, I won’t use it in my products.”
Ultimately, she hopes that 12thand Viv provides creative outlets and encouraging vibes for anyone who needs them, especially those walking a nontraditional path the way she did.
“We started a series of workshops to build self-esteem and help teach life skills and entrepreneurship to young girls, and the response was phenomenal.” Cook says.
“I never received a university education because college wasn’t for me, but I did learn a trade. I want to teach girls (that) they can be successful with the proper guidance, even if they decide on a different path.”