Friday, May 24, 2024

Tianna Dean



Tianna Dean started Hummingbird Candle in 2019 with $6,000 from a tax-refund check. A few years later, Hummingbird has bustling retail locations in downtown Fayetteville and Asheville,  with more expansion on the horizon.

Dean started her career as a labor and delivery nurse, but agreed to join her husband’s custom-furniture business after he wrapped up a 21-year Army career. As a mom of six kids, she started making candles “as a way of self care” and sold them in the furniture shop.

The couple decided to close the furniture business in 2020, and Dean “painted everything pink” to reopen the space for Hummingbird Candle. The company makes “eco-friendly” coconut wax candles with an array of scents ranging from lemon pound cake to pear and bourbon. And it offers “candle-making experiences” — think paint-your-own pottery classes but with personalized candles.

“We want to be a safe space for women to come and have some self care and have some fun,” Dean says.

She says her company is unique because its staff builds relationships with every customer who walks through the door. “We really want to become besties with all of our customers,” she says.

While Hummingbird’s first location is in Fayetteville, where Dean lives, she quickly sought out Asheville for a second shop and managed to lease space in 2020 when the retail market was struggling. After a successful four-month pop-up shop in Research Triangle Park, Dean is eyeing Raleigh and Wilmington for her next new shops.

That means raising capital — something her business hasn’t done before. Dean says she’s ready.

“My life’s mission is supporting women,” she said. “When women have more money, communities are better.”

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