12th & Viv candles
12th & Viv candles

The luxury boutique bears the family matriarch’s name and carries on her regal legacy with lush home goods.

Editor’s note: Where you spend your dollar during the pandemic counts. The ‘Gander is featuring unique, independently-owned shops across Michigan, sharing their stories of struggle and triumph during COVID-19 and what you can expect when you support these local businesses. We hope you keep them in mind for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28 and throughout the holiday season.

MICHIGAN—From the start, 12th & Viv has always been a family business, held together by strong women.

Creator and owner, Darian Cook, started out as a young esthetician who was tired of spending her money on candles. 

Cook began small, growing her skills, working with candle making kits from craft stores, and taking inspiration from the body and shea butter at African festivals. With her mother and daughter at her side, Cook’s business quickly began to grow. 

Cook’s late grandmother inspired her in every way, so it only made sense to honor her in the business name. 

“She was the queen of our family,” Cook said about her grandmother. “She was very regal, and everything about her was just fabulous.”

With her grandma’s name, Viv, and the name of the street she lived on—12th—12th & Viv aimed to create products just as sophisticated as her. 

Each candle is hand poured and inspected by the 12th & Viv team. Their products are all organic, all natural, and yet lush and sophisticated. 

“I want people to have a natural feel but a luxury experience,” Cook said. 

Gone are the mason jars and twine that one may expect from handmade, organic products. Instead, 12th & Viv products allow for an upscale design while maintaining a natural, safe formula. 

Safety is one of 12th & Viv’s greatest concerns, so their products can be used by the whole family. From candles, to shea butters, to lip scrubs and soaps, 12th & Viv products encourage a spa experience for everyone, even as spas are closed.  

Many small businesses have felt the pressure of the pandemic, but the community has surrounded 12th & Viv in an incredible way. 

“A lot of people are focused on Black business, and supporting Black businesses this year,” Cook explained. “While we are in a pandemic, we’ve been getting a lot of love.” 

During this year, 12th & Viv’s social media accounts have experienced more traffic than ever. After a shout out from actress Tika Sumpter, the brand was even recognized in VOGUE

While they have had a productive year, 12th & Viv is only continuing to grow and bring their nourishing products to wider communities. 12th & Viv can be found in Detroit Is the New Black Marketplace and other Michigan locations. And starting this year, their products will also be sold in a shop in New York.  

As the holiday season approaches, 12th & Viv products make the perfect gifts. Their smaller candles burn for 30 hours and are the best stocking stuffers, while body butter gift baskets provide a luxurious present. There are even candles with more masculine scents and beard balms as well.  

12th & Viv products can be found online at 12thandviv.com.

12th & Viv owner, Darian Cook, and daughter.

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