Featured photo: Christina Degreaffenreidt with some of her products. (courtesy photo)
Christina Degreaffenreidt’s dream of creating a one-of-a-kind candle for her mom suddenly turned into a nightmare when the burning creation burst into flames.
Degreaffenreidt had just begun making candles when she went to her parents’ house to give one to her mom. When they lit the candle, the wick fell sideways and burned the glass vessel, which shattered and caused a small fire on the kitchen counter. Degreaffenreidt finds it amusing that her mom was more concerned and upset about her candle than the potential house fire that could have happened.
“I laugh about it now,” she says, “but back then I was so embarrassed.”
Degreaffenreidt moved from Mebane to Greensboro in 2005 to attend UNCG. She graduated with a double major in 2009, earning two Bachelor’s degrees in Apparel Design and Business Administration. She works full time but realized one of her biggest fears in life is being tied down to what she called a “mundane 9-5,” so she became inspired to start a business. What if this actually works and I can quit my job? she asked herself. However, she was also afraid of the business being a success and not having the security of a guaranteed paycheck.
But her dreams proved bigger than her fears. She surveyed her friends to find out what others viewed as her talents. They agreed on home decor, design and decorating, and in 2019 she started and trademarked Multifaceted, a home-decor company specializing in custom scented candles, door wreaths, wall hangings and floral arrangements in wine glasses cut by Degreaffenreidt herself. She is inspired by everyday life and travels to name her candles. Her favorite scent, Chicago, is reminiscent of a boutique hotel she visited in the Wicker Park neighborhood in the city. She also has a light, babyish scent Kammie Kam, named after her nephew.
She has been described by her family as ‘multifaceted’ as she has many talents in different areas, so she used it to name her company.
She uses her company as a creative outlet to showcase her creative capabilities to the world, and to escape the stress of her fashion merchandising job and life in general. In the beginning, she flipped her own home and posted the before and after pictures on Instagram to gain a following from interior design aficionados. She wanted to show off the beauty of her home while influencing others to reach out to her for help decorating their own. She operates the business from her home in Greensboro for right now, but she hopes to someday open a Multifaceted creative collaboration space as an escape for other artistic individuals. Between her day job and Multifaceted, she balances her time by scheduling every activity of her day, including grocery runs, two weeks to three months in advance.
Establishing Multifaceted wasn’t easy.
This is Degreaffenreidt’s third time starting a business, but she stopped putting energy towards the other two when they didn’t fulfill the vision she imagined. It took Degreaffenreidt six months to perfect every aspect of candle making. She focused on every part of the candle, from the glass to the wax to the wick, until she found the perfect formula. Now, the larger candles are hand poured with a wax recipe she created and topped with a flower made from wax molds. The flower is fused to the base of the candle with heat creating a unique design.
In Multifaceted’s early days, she avoided showing her face on social media as she was afraid of racism and sexism potentially affecting sales.
“I didn’t want people to know I was a Black girl,” she said.
She also expressed difficulty in being taken seriously by other entrepreneurs who seemed to be stingy with tips for success.
It didn’t help that COVID-19 cases began increasing as Multifaceted began gaining traction. Degreaffenreidt took advantage of the time at home to advertise on Instagram, opting to show her face this time as she stopped caring about the opinions of her non-supporters. She realized that someone somewhere would support her dreams, even if she was a Black woman.
“Don’t run away from yourself,” she says.
She also sent social-media influencers gift boxes in hopes of positive reviews on her products. It ended up working out, as orders skyrocketed and Degreaffenreidt is now low on product, a problem she loves to have.
Degreaffenreidt’s ultimate goal is challenging the status quo of working a full-time job until retirement, and finding happiness for her and her dog Boots, a rat terrier mix.
“You don’t have to follow what society says,” she says. “I was raised to go to college, work, keep working there, move up, settle. My ‘why’ is to challenge that. Chase happiness and a more fulfilling life because we’re only here for a short period of time.”
She hopes that her hand-crafted, exclusive products will help her accomplish that goal.
“You need a cute little candle, I gotcha,” she says. “We’re all pretty much in the house all day so, might as well make it cute.”
Learn more about Degreaffenreidt’s company at her website or follow her on Instagram at @multifacetedgso and on Facebook at Multifaceted.