Shop Local: Sol Brothers Candle Co.

Made in Arlington, these candles with affirmational messages celebrate the Black and African Diasporic community.
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Courtesy photo

Sol Brothers Candle Co.’s bestselling Shukorina candle blends notes of amber, vanilla, jasmine and musk. The name means “beautiful woman” in Eritrean, explains co-founder Nahom Petros, and is an homage to the uplifting women in his family and Northern Virginia’s large Eritrean and Ethiopian communities. 

During the doldrums of the pandemic, Petros and his best friend, Elliott DeBose, decided to start a business together. Several YouTube tutorials later, they launched their line of hand-poured soy wax candles ($5-$20) on Aug. 7, 2020, selling almost 200 in the first 24 hours. 

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Sol Brothers co-founder Nahom Petros (Photo by Cameron Evans)

The name Sol Brothers—a play on “soul brothers”—reflects the entrepreneurs’ friendship and commitment to the Black and African Diasporic community. Each candle comes with an affirmational message.

“Kindness is free and happiness is a choice,” reads the label on a fall scent called Equinox. 

“On a mission, your worst enemy is idle time,” says Clarity, a lavender-lemongrass-green tea blend, quoting the late rapper and social activist Nipsey Hussle. 

“We are definitely breaking the mold in terms of what it means to be a candle lover, and who we expect to purchase or make candles,” Petros says. “Black women are our strongest supporters.” 

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Sol Brothers co-founder Elliott DeBose (Photo by Cameron Evans)

Two years in, the duo has plans to expand their venture and its mission. Both have earned graduate degrees—Petros in business and pharmacy; DeBose in finance—and both work and travel for Johnson & Johnson while moonlighting on the side. 

The partners are planning to invest in Eritrea’s energy infrastructure and, with the help of a Comcast technology grant, they intend to hire and mentor other young Black entrepreneurs as marketing interns. 

In addition to selling their home fragrances online and at regional pop-up markets, Petros says they are looking into installing candle vending machines at Tysons Corner Center and Springfield Town Center.

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