Now A Scented Candles Small Business Owner, Once A Global News Anchor
My name is Viviana Hurtado and this is my small business. Since launching in 2022, blood and sweat is going into making Viviana Luxury one of the world's most luxurious home fragrance communities.
We're on a mission to open an inclusive community to welcome a new generation of home fragrance aficionados through artisanal and high quality fragrances that educate, elevate, and celebrate Latin American casa & cultura. Walk into your self-worth and power knowing that you are an extension of millenia of cultural greatness. As Don Quixote says: Yo sé quien soy. I know who I am.
Featured in Forbes as a best gift alongside megabrands such as UGG, we illuminate spaces around the world with our soft glows and luxurious candle scents. Customers choose our candles as special occasion gifts for yourself, the people you love, or just because. Coming to premium store shelves near you, we're also proud to be in close partnerships with brands such as Madewell and West Elm, plus give back to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, a disease and philanthropy near and dear to my heart.
However, it's been a long, hard road to get where I am that included a near death experience.
This scented candle business started after my father almost died--he flatlined four times when his pacemaker failed. I was on the other side of the country and thought, what if I didn't get a chance to say goodbye. Like many women in the workplace, after grinding for years and burned out, I was forced to choose between the career and people I love. I left my career–in my case, at the pinnacle in New York City as a broadcast journalism anchor at Bloomberg, to move back home to San Francisco and become a caretaker for my elderly parents, especially my dad who has advanced Parkinson’s and heart failure.
Viviana Luxury is the business but itself a gift that gives me flexibility, as I help transition my parents in their sunset years.
Spending hours in hospital rooms consumed by uncertainty forced a quiet and gave me the gift of time to reflect: on being a part of the booming Latinx population which is defining the U.S. New Majority with an annual buying power is $1.5 trillion. I thought about Latina-majority owned small businesses growing over the past five years at least 87 percent. Yet our demographic group continues to be largely invisible--just as my immigrant parents oftentimes felt.
The scent of a luxury candle jogs your memory, and brings you back to your place of pure bliss.
For me, that place is Latin America.
Grappling with invisibility was especially jarring because of the disconnect with the Latin America of my childhood: a place of astonishing luxury, rich history, and encanto–that primal magic that tickles your inner child’s soul. As a kid, I summered in Colombia, breathing in the scent of home, love, togetherness, belonging to a large, extended family. Rituals about family, faith, and culture, candles always forming part of the occasion: big Sunday dinners, prayer lists for the ill, milestone gifts, and an essential to rituals of rest.
Latin America, for millennia, has been a region chock full of luxurious culture, vibrant history, and fierce women, contributing to the world's arts, sciences, technology, and business.
Yet when feeling invisible, how are a history and its people erased? After personal investments in education, our careers, and businesses to get ahead and make our parents' sacrifice worth the struggle, when making a purchase for gifts to connect and experience the magical encanto of Latin America, I don't find the region represented in any home perfumes on virtual or real store shelves. I only find European brands and home fragrance perfumes.
If you don't believe me, how many Latin American or Latinx perfume or home aroma brands can you name?
When shopping for gifts, I do find references to Latin America online or on store shelves. Then disappointment seeps in. All I see is a region reduced to one dimension: folklore, a token word in Spanish, a flavor-of-the-month smell, or the names of a favorite Spring break vacation dive.
I never see an aesthetic or smells that capture the luxe, multi-dimension of mi tierra–the indigenous, the African, the European from which emerges a vibrant mestizaje–a great cultural and racial intersection.
With no candles to gift or anchor my rituals of rest in the beauty, magic, and cultura of Latin America, I decided to create a luxurious candle that captures the region's encanto and magic, rooted in the smells of my childhood.
Viviana Luxury jumps off from a place of power, harnessing the power of smell, memory, and the cultural significance of candle rituals to create a community where Latinx learn and take pride in our culture's greatness. Through profiles of great ancestor women, such as Brazilian warrior Dandara, Mexican poetess Sor Juan Inés de la Cruz, Independence soldier Manuelita Saenz (la Libertadora del Libertador Simón Bolívar--the liberator of our George Washington), we trace a direct line of heritage between this rich history and today's Latinx leaders’ impact on our collective future. In self care or gift giving, candles are the conduit to find and relish a stolen moment of rest, being "seen" while we come into our power, buoyed by the confidence of a history and great civilizations that prime us for this moment.
With Viviana Luxury Candles, give the gift of encanto.
A gift for yourself or someone special, our Core Collection grounds your intimate sanctuary in the essential four scents: floral, woodsy, fresh, and amber fragrance. Our forthcoming Limited Editions delight with added, subtle layers of sensuality. Each candle is rooted in the real gift and magic of Latin America: its land, its history, its culture, its mythology, and above all, its people.
Capturing these smells of casa & cultura are at once an act of creation and preservation--a race against time, a quest to preserve my origin story--at the edge of memory and historical promesa.
This deeply personal and passionate WHY is key because caretaking for a memory patient is particularly grueling. Oftentimes my mornings are shot by my dad’s demands and like a newborn’s mother, I can only focus on my business when he sleeps. Still, honoring my parents and the shared culture of millions of American Latinos is the gift that powers me as I wake up early and work late into the night on my small business. That includes: formulating, blending, and pouring candles, to outreach to potential customers, to customer service queries, to website maintenance, and social media. In service to them, I power on, so Latinx consumers can feel seen and learn the depth of their rich culture, giving the gift of support as they walk into their power and self-worth.