The LTK Connect Visionaries Series spotlights and celebrates visionary DTC businesses that are successfully changing industries on their own terms and have leveraged LTK Connect and LTK Creators to drive sales, traffic, and brand recognition in inspiring ways.
Born and raised in the South, D’Shawn Russell founded Southern Elegance™ Candle Company when she was stationed in Germany with her military husband and feeling nostalgic about home—sipping sweet tea under the shade of a pecan tree, catching lightning bugs at night, and enjoying the simple life.
The hand-poured candles of North Carolina-based Southern Elegance™ are designed to capture these moments in scents inspired by and named for Southern cities and themes, like Peach Mimosa and Southern Sass. It’s D’Shawn’s hope to spark a sense of community and share a little bit of Southern hospitality with everyone who lights one of her candles, regardless of where they call home.
D’Shawn pursued a direct-to-consumer business model for Southern Elegance™ because it was an easier path for a business-world novice, and helped her avoid some of the obstacles that minority-owned businesses have faced on more traditional routes to market. Still, growing a brand from scratch wasn’t easy, and Southern Elegance™ didn’t have a large marketing budget. But it did have a large network—and D’Shawn knew she could use the power of community to get her new brand in front of as many eyes as possible.
Southern Elegance™ joined LTK Connect in March 2022 with the goal of collaborating with a diverse roster of Creators who could authentically share the brand’s unique blend of Southern charm and modern values beyond the local community and the limitations of word of mouth. As a small business owner, D’Shawn didn’t have the bandwidth to spend hours scouring social media to find and interview potential partners, evaluate pricing, and negotiate partnership details. LTK Connect is making it easy for her to quickly connect with the right talent for her brand and develop meaningful relationships, while giving her more time to focus on other essential aspects of the business—like dreaming up the next nostalgic scent that will whisk her customers away to another time and serve as a reminder of a shared history and collective cultural experiences.
Up next for Southern Elegance™? “World domination,” says D’Shawn with a smile. And by providing access to Creators around the globe who represent all lifestyles, LTK Connect is adding fuel to the fire.
“Although our brand is Southern, it’s not exclusively about working with Southern people or selling to people who live in the South. At the core of what we do it’s about faith, family, and community. And it really doesn’t matter where you’re located—those types of things resonate with people everywhere.”
Interested in learning more about LTK Connect and how to scale DTC brands with Creator Commerce™? Reserve your spot now for the webinar on June 21.
About LTK Connect
For more than a decade, thousands of brands have worked with LTK to help drive billions of sales through its platform. LTK Connect, the new self-serve platform, opens the door for many more brands—especially direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies—to tap into the power of Creator Commerce™, many for the first time.
With a Beta launch in 2021, and now released globally, LTK Connect enables brands of all sizes to directly build, manage, and scale influencer marketing campaigns by providing tools for contract negotiation, Creator communication, reporting, and more. There are risks and challenges inherent to running DTC businesses. We launched LTK Connect to provide the content, technology, and resources DTC businesses will find most helpful to execute influencer marketing strategies and start seeing results, right away.