By Southwester Staff
In the midst of a historic pandemic and a moment of cultural reckoning, one Southwest resident is focused on his community, and on humanity. Jeremy Brooks, elementary school teacher and founder of Good Day Scents Candle Co., says his two passions go “hand-in-hand.”
For him, educating means being a role model and “giving back,” and creating great scents means bringing “positive energy in people’s homes.” With smell being the sense most closely linked to memory, Jeremy aims to remind his customers of “unforgettable memories and experiences.” That mission, he says, mirrors his role as an educator during young people’s formative years.
Jeremy, 28, was born and raised in Northeast Washington, D.C. He graduated from Florida A&M in 2013 with a degree in business administration. Just months after graduating he embraced a career in education. Since 2014, he’s taught at Patterson Elementary School, Orr Elementary (now Boone), and DC Prep. Jeremy has taught ages ranging from early childhood to fifth grade, but he says his favorite is early childhood.
This year, Jeremy finished an MA in education. He says his favorite part about teaching is seeing the “impact” he has on his students, just by “being able to relate to them” as a result of his own upbringing in the District.
The pandemic is going to have a profound impact on the earliest memories of D.C. students, according to the teacher. His youngest students, just three years old, will begin their school careers in a fundamentally different learning environment than they will experience going forward. After D.C. schools were closed in March, teachers turned to online learning to finish out the school year. Jeremy’s students have been eager to join him online, but they miss seeing their teacher and friends at school. “Imagine being three years old,” he says, and wondering after a few months of online learning, “is this how school is?” He is one of many D.C. educators dedicated to creating positive learning outcomes for students in the upcoming school year.
Jeremy has remained interested in business administration. He began experimenting with candle-making in winter 2017-18 when his girlfriend, Jessica, gave him a kit as an alternative approach to stress management. He made 50 candles, and gave them to his coworkers – wanting only feedback in return. After receiving rave reviews, Jeremy decided to start making candles at a larger volume – all in a studio apartment on Eye St. The name of the company is rooted in Jeremy’s philosophy that every day is a Good Day. All the candle scents and names “encompass different parts of a good day” – like Unwind and Sunday Funday.
Jeremy took 100 candles to a pop-up event and sold them all in about four hours. In that first year, he sold about 200 candles in total. The next year, in 2019, he received orders for upwards of 500. This year, Jeremy set a goal of 1,000 and had already sold about 800 as of July – all while faced with the challenge of a historic pandemic and resulting economic downturn.
Despite having limited access to pop-up events, farmers markets, and other opportunities to meet customers face-to-face, Jeremy has seen the Good Day brand gain momentum this year. Recently, Beyonce featured his business as one of only a few black-owned candle companies in the “directory of black-owned businesses” on her website. He has formed a partnership with entertainer Karlous Miller, who is well known for his roles on shows such as “Wild ‘n Out” and the “85 South Show.” He currently sells candles at Sankofa Bookstore in Northwest, where he says they do well, and he’s looking forward to pitching the brand to Walmart in October.
The message behind Good Day, however, is what drives Jeremy to expand his business while serving the city as an educator. It’s important to the Southwest resident for his product to be “genuine,” and to carry his positive message out into the world. Despite the hardships and stress of life, he hopes his candles remind people to “look forward to” something positive, and that “everyone can have a good day in their own…way” – whether it’s a “good meal at night” or having a “job to go to.” Whatever your good day is, he says, “don’t let anything stop you.”