FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How long do they burn?
What are they made out of?
Why is it important to keep the wick trimmed?
What was the concept behind Tony Rouse when you first started the brand?
The initial concept behind the brand had nothing to do with candles at all. I simply wanted to build a hotel, but I had no hotel money. So I prayed about it and got the word ‘candle’ and was like, ‘nah.’ But it was something that stuck with me and then I started making my way and came up with the game plan of if nothing else… I can make what this hotel would smell like and we released our first candle name SCENT by Tony Rouse in the fall of 2016. Now we offer six signature candles that run the gamut of fragrance and performance.
What is your inspiration for when you start to design each of the candles?
I create from my imagination. To me… I see it before I smell it. I create a scene or a vibe first then I formulate what that feels and looks like. I start with what the base notes or overall character would be or what I think it should be and I go from there.
Which is your favorite city to visit around the world and why?
Up until recently my favorite city in the US was Miami, Florida. Reason being is that it is so much culture packed into that place all at once! I believe it is the most international city inside of the contiguous United States (Yes… even over New York). Miami money is a different level of money. It’s the surf, the sand and the people. I say up until recently only because I visited Hawaii for the first time this past New Years and the postcards I remember as a kid… Did. Not. Lie. Hawai’i is all its own vibe. It is everything you’d expect it to be and much more. When I visited I had a buddy that has lived on the island for almost ten years so I had the amazing opportunity to see the behind the scenes aspects and take a deep dive into the culture. Especially the food… and realizing the best poke’ bowl will come out of a liquor store. To my international travels… All are different and unique in their own way. I loved Spain as it was my first international trip and lecture, but then there is Singapore with its nightlife and visual decadence. But overall I travel to Miami yearly as an end of the year wrap-up so I guess they still have the number one spot for right now.
Looking forward, what is next in the pipeline we can get excited about for Tony Rouse?
Oh, wow. We can’t reveal everything… as I am big on the elements of surprise and delight. I believe people should be engaged with you and excited to hear from. I always want to keep that essence of what are they going to do next?? So the best advice we can offer right now it simply, ‘Stay Tuned.’
What made you want to make the leap into starting Tony Rouse?
Building a luxury suite hotel.
What lessons have you learned through this business?
Stay in faith. Don’t stop believing until you see what you said.
As a business owner, what are you most fearful of? How do you deal with it?
Honestly… I had to let fear go. I think so many times we wonder if we are going to have the money for this or have enough stuff for that… I just removed the pressure off of myself to perform. We work with what we have, when we have it. If we sell out… I’m not apologizing for being popular and making a great quality product. Of course we don’t want to be rude or jerks about it, but it is what it is and we are where we are. I believe if you let go of the mindset to please people as a primary function you release yourself from the chokehold of their opinions and approval.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career and the way you approach your work?
I treat every customer like it is my grandmother. For the longest time everyone’s money wasn’t seen as the same. Specifically speaking to black people. Luxury goods have always been a product desired by many, but wasn’t always pushed and promoted in the same manner to all. And that’s what’s different about Tony Rouse International… we value people. Yes we are An American Luxury Goods Company. Yes, we offer high-end products… but this also comes with high-end service and high-end value to all people. Of course I’ve taken cues from so many artists and designers though. When I first started in fragrance, I studied Tom Ford, Clive Christian and Creed. Ralph Lauren has always created a decadent level of escape that I’ve admired and there are many countless other influencers along the way like Sean Combs and the like.
What are your favorite words to live by?
Not sure exactly. My life is peppered with scriptures that constantly run through my head. Like Psalm 1:1 – Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly. Or Matthew 6:33 – Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and all of these things will be added unto you. So I guess a better way to answer this is that I live by faith.
What advice would you give other emerging business owners?
Don’t Quit. Pause, but don’t stop. No matter what it looks like… You may need to pivot, but seek the answer that is already available as it may be hidden in plain sight.
Why are the majority of candles on the market harmful?
Cheap Ingredients. I just believe everything in moderation. Many candles are overly filled with synthetic elements and the like. And to be 100% of anything is a real challenge since there are so many necessary components, but overall make a quality product that people love and one that was made with them in mind.
Why do must candles have a hole burning down the center of the jar?
This effect is called tunneling and it results from wax that is not evenly set to liquefy. The downside to it is that it becomes a waste of money for the candle buyer in that they are not able to fully utilize their purchased product.
Why is it important to trim the wicks?
Trimming the wicks allows for and even burn and is also a function of safety so you don’t have a five foot flame burning off of a 5 inch candle.
For those who aren’t familiar, who is Tony Rouse?
Tony Rouse is the intersection of lifestyle, culture, business and entertainment. That’s the detailed ‘About Me’ answer, but in it’s most simplistic form, Tony Rouse is the guy everybody wants to know. The dude everybody is friends with and the person that will give you the best advice to remember how great you are. Best described as a bartender meets pastor serving non-alcoholic drinks and giving you insights on how to win in life.
What makes the brand’s candles unique?
The uniqueness is me. As mentioned, I design from imagination. I create from my mind. Our candles are beyond a product… They are just the result of one.
Who is your target customer?
Our target customer is guys 28-44. Sometimes single. Sometimes not. We appeal to that playa vibe for a guy to set his space. As a part of that transition to manhood to you get your own place and you look to create your own vibe as you notch out your place in this world. But in many ways we sell to women that sell to men. So our tagline is that we make candles that ‘Guys Like and Women Love.’
Is there a scent that’s proving most popular? If so, which one and why?
So it is a constant debate and battle. Overall ‘God’ is our number one seller across the board. It is a light and airy fragrance consisting of fresh mist and amber that appeals to many customers. (I also think many people buy based off of the name…). But ‘Savage’ is a real contender for the top spot with a very close number two. Ladies love the dark chocolate in it. Lastly… rounding out the top three is ‘Kingpin’ which is my favorite as it is the smell of a boss.
What is the price range for Tony Rouse candles?
The Tony Rouse Candle Collection starts at $25 for our travel candles and currently tops out at $100 for our illuminating, matte-black glass deluxe candle.
Where can people check them out?
What was your first candle sale? And to whom?
Our very first candle sale came in the form of two separate email payments via paypal. When I first started this I literally had no money. I sent an email to some close friends telling them the journey I was about to embark on and asked if they would be interested to purchase a $55 candle. I know it sounds crazy, but I heard from God and I was like what do I really have to lose if the goal is to get this hotel… So from that email I got two orders which gave me enough money to pay tithes and hire a graphic designer to make a flyer for me and then I was able to post that on Facebook and I grew from there. Not been a completely continuous process the entire time, but a journey I’m so glad to be a part of.
If you could have a dream vacation, where would it be and why?
I travel often so a dream vacation for me isn’t something I dream as much as I just go do. However… What I want to do is splurge on my family. Specifically my parents… and just let them see the world as I have seen it, but with fully paid expenses and flights to wherever they want to go. Thankfully, we grew up taking vacations so the good news is that we’ve been somewhere. Now it’s upping the ante on how we arrive and depart…
What are your goals for 2021 and 2022?
I haven’t really set a goal for 2022 just yet. My 2021 was to be featured in GQ and Esquire. Definitely one, but if we can get both… why not?? Other than that it’s simply to be the best selling men’s candle brand on the market. Expanding to different lifestyle sectors along the way. I will say that we did do a partnership feature with Aston Martin this past June which was really cool.
What is your favorite scent?
My favorite scent is ‘Kingpin’. Its different and exotic. It’s woodsy and strong, but subtle with heart. It is definitely a vibe.
What is your favorite thing to collect?
My favorite thing to collect is experiences. I’m not a hoarder or obsessed with action figures or anything like that. I just enjoy the great company of good people. Summertime winddowns… Epic Game Nights. Anything that is fun and a time to reflect and be thankful.
What are some important things you do when making your candles?
Packaging. We already make sure the product is amazing. But I also want people to feel as if they are gifting the best thing and option they could buy at this level. It should feel exciting to gift and give a Tony Rouse product. It’s a statement piece and literally embodies the words… ‘The Candle. The Lifestyle.’