Shop small this holiday season with D-Luxé Creations, a Vanderbilt Black-owned business

How first-year student Dawn Efionayi began her startup boutique, D-Luxé Creations

Dawn+Efionayi%27s+products+range+from+lip+glosses+to+festive+scented+candles.+Screenshot+from+%40d.luxecreations.+%28Hustler+Staff%2FEva+Pace%29

Dawn Efionayi’s products range from lip glosses to festive scented candles. Screenshot from @d.luxecreations. (Hustler Staff/Eva Pace)

Oghosa Omobude, Staff Writer

While people on the more fortunate end of the quarantine spectrum this year dealt with boredom and restlessness, others missed loved ones, important life milestones, and lost employment. For Dawn Efionayi, a Black first-year engineering student at Vanderbilt, quarantine, despite its losses, was an open opportunity to chase a dream deferred. 

“I had just always wanted to start a business. One of my biggest inspirations is B Simone,” Efionayi said. “Over quarantine, she had this goal where she was trying to be a millionaire by her birthday. She was grinding [and that] was what I needed to tell me to start.”

Efionayi officially launched her online boutique D-Luxé Creations in August after months of preparation. The boutique showcases handmade lip glosses in various, shimmering shades, hand-crafted candles in a range of scents, hair products and all-in-one beauty boxes. Efionayi used her own funds, resources and time to prepare the website. She said it was important to her that her products were handmade, so logistics required teaching herself everything from scratch.

“I tested a lot, especially for the candles and lip gloss consistencies. I had to learn, on Google and Youtube. It’s about finding consistency and sticking with that recipe,” Efionayi said. “But Google really didn’t have too many resources about things like candle making. It was very frustrating, I would have this problem with my candles. I’d look it up, and Google just would not have anything.”

Although she was passionate about the business, she admits that she had to work to keep her spirits up, especially in the beginning when success seemed far away. 

“I had been working on it since June. All this money that I spent, it could not go to waste. There were so many times that I was like ‘You know what? People aren’t buying, I’m done with this,’” Efionayi said. “But then I remembered I spent money on this. There was no way I was going to be done until I made my money back 10 times.”

@dluxecreations

Have you shopped for your glosses yet? 😍 shop with D-Luxé Creations at dluxecreations.com #foryou #fyp #smallbusinesscheck #blackbusiness #lipgloss

♬ original sound – D-Luxé Creations 💜

Another obstacle that she has had to overcome as her boutique grows is balancing the needs of the storefront with her academics. Although her parents initially supported her endeavor, running the boutique simultaneously while in school concerned them.

“I have to do a lot more research and school has not let me be able to do that, so I’m really looking forward to the break,” Efionayi said. “Finding the time to make promotions and then post them, that is something I also struggle with because I’m so busy. I don’t have enough time to make new things, even though I have so many ideas that I would love to put out.”

Currently, Efionayi’s plans involve rebranding and holiday product launches, like an autumn-themed pumpkin spice scented candle and a “Frost” lip gloss shade that she recently released. She said she also hopes to upgrade her candle sizes and product options.

Despite the challenge of balancing the business with school, Efionayi is confident about the trajectory of her boutique and its performance in the future. This holiday season sets the stage to prioritize supporting small businesses, and where better to start than with a fellow students line of affordable, hand-made goods. Efionayi’s products can be found on her website, @d.luxecreations on Instagram or @dluxecreations on TikTok.