“Is it black owned?” is a phrase you will often hear around the black community as we continue to understand the power we possess in putting the money back into the businesses that reflect our people. Black owned businesses were the main focus during the pandemic as entrepreneurs took advantage of the surge in e-commerce business. One in particular business that thrived during the shutdown was ZiporaScents. After a viral video on twitter where her partner Marquis made an amazing advertisement video for the scented candle brand, the video took off gaining over 1.8 million views and over 90,000 likes!
If you know anything about then you know as an individual who is from DC born and raised that I will always uplift the individuals in my community and from it! So you could imagine my excitement to see that the owner behind Zipora Scents was from the DMV in Kanae Branch. As women’s history month continues I was able to sit down with the CEO and talk to her about her business ZiporaScents, Modeling, and more. Check out our Q&A below.
Q: Thank you for taking the time to be here with us today! To start things off as a mental health advocate I always ask. How are you doing? How is your 2021 been so far?
Kanae Branch: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate the opportunity! I’m doing good, I can’t complain. I’m really just in this dream-chasing stage of my life right now plus trying to balance everything including my mental/physical health. I hope yours has been well!
Q: For the people unfamiliar with you and your work where were you born and raised?
Kanae Branch: I was born in Washington DC but grew up in PG county mostly. I lived in so many different parts of Maryland growing up but Largo and Oxon Hill feel most like home.
Q: What was growing up in the DMV like for you?
Kanae Branch: I absolutely love being from the DMV! I love the seasons, views, diversity, opportunity, people, the talent that comes from here, the culture, the food! There’s so much progression and change happening here and I’m just excited to see what it will be 5 years from now.
Q: I understand that you are the owner of “ZiporaScents LLC”! Your company specializes in candles, apparel, room+linen spray and more. What was the inspiration behind starting your own business?
Kanae Branch: Ever since I had to clock into my first job, I knew I wanted to work for myself and to find a passion where I could create my own schedule plus create something I enjoyed doing. When I got furloughed from my job at the time, LA Fitness, I was chilling at home and ran out of candles and saw an opportunity in the fragrance industry. I did some research on Google and Youtube on how to make the products but then I had to learn how to actually run a business. There is soo much that has to be done and there’s constant change that you have to keep up with. It’s sooo important to pace yourself or you’ll go crazy!
Q: With any business comes its challenges. There was a viral video that happened when you were making a promo video for a raffle on your Instagram where your partner Marquis stepped in after several takes from yourself and gave an amazing promo for all that your business offered which everyone loved! What was that day like?
Kanae Branch: That day the video went viral, I was just in shock honestly. The power that social media has is astounding plus the amount of support from strangers was amazing!
Q: Besides owning your own business you also model too as well! At what age did your love for modeling start?
Kanae Branch: I started modeling in 2016 and fell in love with the whole art of creating a vision. I’ve been on and off with it for a while but recently have been working to get myself out there more by applying to different agencies. I’m committed to growing because modeling is work lol. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to create a great picture. I tend to feel overlooked in this industry so my goal is to be overlooked to overBOOKED and work with brands who value me as a model.
Q: Are there any brands or people as a model you haven’t worked with that you would like to in the future?
Kanae Branch: There are so many I can’t choose. Whatever is for me will work itself out with time. There are endless possibilities.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner?
Kanae Branch: My biggest challenge as a business owner is probably neglecting my health. Since I work from home and it’s a pandemic I feel very lazy being at home all of the time. I’m in the house a lot and not very active. I eat a lot of snacks plus I lay down longer than I probably should lol.
Another challenge is feeling like I’m not where I want to be. There’s so much that I want to get done and I sometimes feel like I have to get it done in a short amount of time or I’m behind which can give me major anxiety. I need to learn how to pace myself, give myself props for all that I do and have accomplished, and take it day by day! I definitely don’t want to burn myself out.
Q: The pandemic turned out world upside down and affected everyone. How did you stay inspired during such a hard time?
Kanae Branch: I’m inspired every day by almost everything! There’s so much motivation right at the tip of your fingers if you direct your energy there. I always just want more for myself and picture what life would be like years from now if I continue to grind now!
Q: As we focus on women’s history month who are some women that inspired you in your journey?
Kanae Branch: Honestly, I don’t like singling anyone out. Everyone inspires me in their own way. I get inspired by so many people and things. If I had to choose one, it would be Ronne B. When my business went viral, I was working so hard every day, and having Ronne’s videos to entertain me and motivate me was perfect and right on time. I feel like a lot of her business practices I can relate to as well so it’s all very inspiring.
Q: What does women’s history month mean to you?
Kanae Branch: There are so many impeccable women who make such a difference in people’s lives. To have a month dedicated to women is special and very informative. It’s very important to shine a light on the way women make people’s lives better in their own way! Women are soooo inspirational and strong especially because we have our own obstacles and struggles. People tell us what we should be or how we should act but I feel like a lot of women are not confined to the stereotypes which definitely takes courage.
Q: For the women and girls out there who look up to you and want to follow in your footsteps, what is some advice you could offer them?
Kanae Branch: My advice would be to think outside of the box. I believe that’s how you expand and stand out. I would tell them to use your resources before asking anyone for advice because their advice may not be what you need for your experience. This is your journey and you’re going to go through your own unique trials and errors. Learn from those and push forward. Never stop. Put yourself out there every day so people can know who you are and what you do!
When you get discouraged, pick yourself up by finding little things that you could be working on to enhance your life and get you closer to your goals. There is ALWAYS something that can be done but be sure to pace yourself and try not to get overwhelmed. You have to put the work in to see results. Be a visionary!
Q: What can the people expect next from yourself as a model and business owner?
Kanae Branch: I honestly just want to perfect what I have now because I am still new to this entrepreneur life + modeling industry. I’m learning new things every single day. New scents at ZiporaScents will be coming soon as well! As for modeling, hopefully, I will be signed to a mother agency this year, fingers crossed. Lots of photoshoots have been happening for me this year already so stay tuned.
Q: Lastly if you could use three words or less for how you envision your 2021 being for you what words or word would you use?
Kanae Branch: Peace, Health and Abundance!
Q: Thank you so much for taking the time to be here with us today!
Kanae Branch: Thank you so much for this interview!
To keep up with Kanae Branch and everything ZiporaScents related please follow her socials and website below.