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Episode 258: How Melissa Launched A Latina-Themed Candle Business | Melissa Gallardo | Bonita Fierce Candles


Episode 258 highlights Latina-themed candle business owner Melissa Gallardo of Bonita Fierce Candles. Listen to her inspiring episode now!

Episode 258: How Melissa Launched A Latina-Themed Candle Business | Melissa Gallardo | Bonita Fierce Candles

Melissa Gallardo is the Founder of Bonita Fierce Candles, a premium heritage-focused home fragrance brand. Her mission is to revolutionize the toxic and generic home fragrance industry and create better-for-you products that cement a space for diverse, nuanced Latina voices and stories.

In 2020, Melissa realized the scents she grew up (Cafe Con Leche, Coquito, Horchata, and more) were not represented in the home fragrance industry. She set out to create fragrances that celebrate, honor and represent the cultural crossroads of being Latina and American.

As Founder & CEO of Bonita Fierce Candles, Melissa oversees product development, content strategy, marketing, and community growth. Melissa believes being Latina and American is not a linear experience and that feeling of belonging, of finding your place, of being home is an experience to be celebrated.

Melissa is the youngest and first Latina Founder to participate in the Ulta Beauty MUSE Accelerator and is the first Latina-owned candle brand to launch at Nordstrom, Barnes & Noble, and Urban Outfitters.

Melissa shares her journey as an entrepreneur and the challenges she faced in building her Latina-themed candle brand. She discusses the importance of storytelling and marketing to acquire customers, as well as the transition from a nine-to-five job to full-time entrepreneurship.
Melissa also highlights the support she received from her family and the opportunities she found in retail and corporate gifting. She shares her experience in the Ulta Beauty accelerator program and her thoughts on taking investor money. Melissa’s future plans include expanding her product line and focusing on self-care as an entrepreneur.


  • Master storytelling to connect with customers and stand out in a crowded market.
  • Build a strong support system and surround yourself with people who believe in your vision.
  • Diversify your distribution channels to reach a wider audience and ensure sustainability.
  • Prioritize self-care and find a routine that allows you to recharge and show up as your best self.
  • Don’t let imposter syndrome hold you back; believe in yourself and your ability to succeed.


  • 00:00 – Introduction and Background
  • 02:51 – Starting Bonita Fierce Candles
  • 06:12 – Challenges in Selling Products
  • 08:31 – Marketing and Acquiring Customers
  • 11:22 – Transitioning to Full-Time Entrepreneurship
  • 13:44 – Balancing Nine-to-Five and Side Hustle
  • 15:32 – Support System and Family
  • 24:21 – Ulta Beauty Accelerator Program
  • 27:33 – Considerations for Taking Investor Money
  • 30:29 – Future Plans for Bonita Fierce Candles
  • 36:30 – Self-Care as an Entrepreneur
  • 40:42 – Advice for Aspiring Founders
  • 41:38 – Building a Self-Care Routine
  • 44:26 – Where to Find Bonita Fierce Candles

We absolutely LOVE what Melissa has created. It’s beautiful to see us, la comunidad, represented in a way that we’ve never been able to connect with brands before. It’s because of incredible founders like her that is adding a level of culture and relevance to products we use and love every day.

It’s so exciting to witness and we LOVE to see it! What Melissa is doing is making a mark on what the future of entrepreneurship, especially in America, will continue to look like as more and more Latinos get involved in this world. We’re sending all of our well wishes and the most success to Melissa and everybody who’s contributed to her dream. Make sure to keep us posted because we know this is only the beginning!

Visit Bonita Fierce Candles today to get your hands on her fabulous products!

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Until next time, stay empowered, stay inspired & #staypoderosa ✨💎

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