Our dedicated series, Booked x Busy, is all about shining a light on the entrepreneurs and brands that embody Black excellence.

With millions of online followers, Jackie Aina — an entrepreneur, activist and popular beauty mogul — is loved for serving up the best in skincare and makeup content. Now, she's venturing into the lifestyle and wellness space with her new self-care brand "for the regular-degular girl," FORVR Mood.

Inspired by her passion for collecting perfume, FORVR Mood debuted earlier this year with a fruity and tropical scented four-piece candle collection that sold out within minutes. The former Army veteran has since launched a new range of FORVR Mood candles, with playful names like "Hey, Big Head" and "Grown Folks Business."

Each candle is eco-friendly, free of parabens and sulfates, and burns for more than 65 hours thanks to a 100% coconut soy wax. With notes like vanilla, whipped cream, coconut, sweet toffee and more succulent scents, you can set the perfect mood to treat yourself. "I wanted to create candles that would be perfect for the fall season," Aina says.

PAPER caught up with Jackie to talk about the power of fragrance, why representation matters for Black women and what's next in her plot for world-domination.

Photo courtesy of Brandon Lundby

What makes this line of FORVR Mood different from the one you dropped for your first launch?

I wanted to create candles that would be perfect for the fall season — for Thanksgiving, intimate holiday parties (COVID-friendly, of course), cuddle weather and more. Even though our core collection is great for year-round, I wanted to create scents that were a little more appropriate for the season. However, most of the time when you think of fall candles, you think of your typical, expected scents like pumpkin and cinnamon. I wanted the elements of those scents in our collection without being too obvious. So, our collection is definitely elevated and a bit unexpected.

What does it mean to be a Black-owned business, especially when the Black Lives Matter movement is getting so much attention?

To me, right now, it means empowering our Black employees through what we create and hiring Black as frequently as we can. We want to show that we're just as talented and capable. A lot of times, unfortunately, Black creatives create great things and others end up taking the credit for it. So, being a brand owner, I have the ability to put a stop to that directly because I'm making all of the decisions. That's something I'm really proud of.

You've been very vocal about representation in beauty. Would you say the lifestyle industry needs the same?

I think so, I think that's reflected in a lot of different industries. There's no such thing as too much representation because we've never seen that before. I'm really glad to be entering a new space and also reframing the conversations about Black womanhood. We don't often put at the forefront the importance of taking care of ourselves and putting ourselves first. I'm glad that I'm able to do that with the brand. We're having a lot of conversations that as Black women we don't typically get to have, so that's a pretty integral part of the brand identity as a whole.

Photo courtesy of Naadine Koi

How does your heritage inspire you towards success?

I think a lot about what my parents had to sacrifice to be where they are. I have one parent who's an immigrant and one parent who's African American. I'm constantly defying the odds through that. The odds of being the daughter of an immigrant, the odds of just being a Nigerian living in the US. I almost feel like the antithesis of where society says I'm supposed to be as an African living in America.

You and Denis Asamoah are lovebirds running a business. What's it like leading FORVR Mood together?

People tell you not to work with your significant other and for the most part I would agree, but Denis and I really have become the exception to the norm. Everything just makes sense with him. I am the risk-taker and creative, and Denis is all about numbers and knows a lot about forecasting and budgeting. Those are things I've never done before because I've never had to. The other great thing is that we're both very solution oriented. It's incredible and I'm glad to have done this with him.

We're living in a time where Black women need to be protected at all costs. What advice would you give Black women looking to protect their spirit and peace?

I would tell all Black women in order to protect your spirit, don't be afraid to say "No." I think this is one that we're not often taught and actually can be shamed for. It's okay to put yourself first. There are so many moments in my life that I've had to and will continue to be selfish... and unapologetically selfish. If something comes at the cost of my well-being, I have to shield myself from it. I think people in general — and Black women specifically — should set emotional and personal boundaries. You know how they tell you on a plane to secure your own oxygen mask before helping others? It makes sense to make sure you're okay in life before you overextend and try to help someone else.

Photo courtesy of Naadine Koi

What musician would you love to have light a FORVR Mood candle in their studio to set the vibe?

Definitely Sade and the City Girls. They're all about Black girl empowerment. Sade is more chill and City Girls are more hype. There are definitely candles in this new collection for both vibes.

If you had a candle modeled after you, what would it be?

The scent would be on the sweeter side — something with vanilla and sandalwood. Maybe even slightly spicy. I like really feminine, sweet candles. The one in the fall collection that I'd say represents me the most is "Hey, Big Head." This one is actually a coffee shop scent. This scent is the one that's meant to lure someone in. I have a really approachable personality and this candle reflects that.

Why do you think fragrance is just as important as great makeup?

Fragrance is the one thing in the beauty category that can emotionally take you somewhere that you've been before. Fragrance is one of the most memorable things we experience. I was recently telling my best friend that one of the most habitual things I've done during quarantine is still wearing my favorite fragrances because I still want to feel how I do when I'm wearing my favorite scents.

What are some tips you can share for fellow entrepreneurial bosses like yourself?

Outsourcing when and where you can. If you have the ability to hire people to help you get the job done, take advantage of that. From an emotional standpoint, don't expect everyone that knows you to support you. I think if anything, you should expect the opposite and be prepared and okay with that. Starting a business or going down a road that other family members or friends haven't may be a bit of a shocker for them. You have to believe in yourself even when other people are doubting you.

Photo courtesy of Naadine Koi

Where do you see FORVR Mood in the next 5 years?

Definitely as more than just candles because obviously we started this as a hub for lifestyle. More products that make life easier for people and make them feel good. There will also be other forms of fragrance that aren't candles.

Fill in the blank: My Black is...

My Black is BEAUTIFUL.

Thanks to you, the world can indulge in more lifestyle practices and self-care. What's next for FORVR Mood?

We are working on our entire lineup for the next year, so we're looking at some more seasonally appropriate candles and other fragrance-category products.

Keep Jackie Booked x Busy by following @FORVRMOOD and visiting forvrmood.com.

Photo courtesy of Brandon Lundby

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