The NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies aren’t the ones who have adopted the catchphrase, “BELIEVE MEMPHIS.”
Bluff City entrepreneurs Howard Branch III (Squirt), Terron A. Person (Tap), Damon West (D. West) all have essentially taken the emphatic, two-word mantra and have applied it to their daily living.
Each of them is a native of Memphis or, as Branch III said, “we’re from three different parts of Memphis.”
Yet through a life-enhancing vision, a newfound look on life and, above all, perseverance, the trio managed to strategically join forces to delve off into the world of entrepreneurial ship.
To their credit, it seems their venture has landed them on the road to success.
How ‘bout that for three Memphians who, as they tell it, have defied an array of odds to the point whereby their business is not only flourishing but, most importantly, it appears to have a taken on a national presence.
Back to BELIEVE MEMPHIS…
“Coming from a city like Memphis, Tennessee, you’re not looked upon to make it, let alone make something of yourself,” Branch told longtime journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “We’re three black men and fathers that have and planned to continue to make nonbelievers believe. There’s so much our city needs and it starts with us.”
Because of their steadfast commitment to placing their egos and their proverbial there-is-no-I-in-team persona by the wayside for a common ambition, of sorts, it’s safe assume this booming business venture of Branch III, Person, and West will be around for some time, thus constantly drawing rave reviews in the process.
This trio are owners and chief executive officers of My Scented Flames, a blossoming, progressive Memphis-based handcrafted candle company that appears to be taking not just the Bluff City by storm, but the nation.
A successful new business that has afforded these three Memphians the chance travel abroad to promote and enhance their product — most notably to as far as Puerto Rico — Branch is quick to acknowledge that as it pertains to My Scented Flames, “there are no limits,” particularly with regards to meeting the needs of consumers.
In a nutshell, when it comes to their thriving, mesmerizing candles, whatever kind or brand you want, chances are they will meet your expectation.
“We want to provide the world with a real handcrafted, elegant product that not only sets the ora of your home, but transforms the vibes of your thoughts as well,” Howard said. “We mean it when we say, ‘It’s not just a candle, it’s an experience.’ Our candle company and musical gifts will put us on a platform to make positive changes and help our youth. We’ve only just begun.”
And because Memphis is known nationally as a basketball-crazed town, the My Scented Flames owners thought it necessary to pay homage to the daughter of former University of Memphis basketball coach Larry Finch.
In what the crew describes as “our most sentimental and personal candle,” the “ShanaeForever21” candle was named in honor Shanae Finch who, in September 2014, died after collapsing during a cheerleading competition.
A notable and beloved Memphian because of her tireless efforts to aspiring cheerleaders throughout the Mid-South and nationwide, Shanae Finch was 39 at the time of demise.
On Friday morning, Branch reiterated that he and his crew is looking to contact former NBA All-Star and current East High boys basketball coach Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway to inform him about the candle that has been assembled in Shanae Finch’s honor.
Hardaway, a former Treadwell High star who played 14 seasons in the NBA for four different teams, played for Larry Finch at then-Memphis State from 1991-93.
“She represented the epitome of what an angel on earth was,” Branch said of Shanae Finch.
In assessing the strides they’ve made since the inception of their business, Branch, Person, and West credit their mother for instilling in their business-minded principles.
“We had a few inspirations,” Branch, Person, and West said. “Terron’s mother, Gloria Person, who kept us grounded. Damon’s mother Jennifer Davidson, who kept an encouraging word, Howard’s grandmother, Therese Branch, who always believed in our product…and the late and beautiful Marie Noel, grandmother of Terron, who was our biggest supporter and knew we’d one day make it in music and whatever we set our minds too.”
Most importantly and what has been especially beneficial is that Branch, Person, West, and their other constituents decided to place their egos and their proverbial there-is-no-I-in-team persona by the wayside for a common ambition, a trend that has benefited them mightily since their company’s inception.
“Our team as a whole is our inspiration,” Branch said. “We push one another to keep our dream and visions alive”
Just the way Shanae Finch would have wanted them to.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, athlete, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.
Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.