“The one thing that always sticks with me is that it’s not a sprint,” Hart said. “It is a marathon, so it is going to always keep going, and it’s not over until it’s over.”
The idea for Candles from the Hart started in 2016 when Hart was on a trip to Washington, D.C., with his family. During a tour of Howard University, parents Michael and Staci Wilson saw a change in their son.
“It hit us then,” Michael said. “He had never been this way about something like that.”
When the Wilsons returned home, Hart told his parents he wanted to go to Howard. Then after more time, he told them he also wanted to pay for his own tuition.
Hart started off with different ideas—a cookie business and a lemonade stand—and continued to rattle them off until he got to candles, which brought its own set of challenges, the main one being learning how to make them.
After countless YouTube videos, articles, experiments and over 50 attempts at making candles, Hart and his family perfected the craft of candle-making and launched the business in July 2020.
“I think he gets it from his mom because she is wired that way,” Michael said. “She has really done well for herself, and he is just following along.”
Once Candles from the Hart began to pick up steam, Hart’s business made national news and earned him appearances on ABC News and the “Kelly Clarkson Show” as well as celebrity customers, such as NBA guard Josh Hart; Keena Ferguson from Tyler Perry’s “Sistas”; and Inda Craig-Galvan, a writer from “How To Get Away With Murder.”
Now that Hart is over a year into his candle-making business, his goal has slightly changed. Instead of wanting to raise $100,000 to cover his own tuition, he now wants to raise double that—a total of $200,000—to cover the costs of college for his younger sister, Paige Wilson, as well.
“It’s way more successful than we ever thought it would be,” Michael said of Hart’s goal.
Michael has seen his son grow in many areas since the business began, time management being one of them, Michael said. Hart cares about when things get done, even regarding his homework.
When Hart gets to Howard, he said he plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mathematics then attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to get his master’s in robotics.
“It’s time consuming,” Hart said of his business. “But it’s fun. I like it.”