Holiday Gift Guide

Posted by Yvette Gayle on

Black Enterprise feature sitota

Small Business Holiday Gift Guide

The sitota Collection all candles

By Aneisa Williams 

The commercials and ads for holiday shopping are in heavy rotation. You’ve made a list of who to shop for and some of their favorite things. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone and you still have a lot of shopping to do. However, before you spend all of your money at “big box” retailers, consider shopping with small businesses that offer quality items that are sure to please everyone on your list.

Here’s a list of great items to match with your friends and family members on your list as you get prepared for the 2015 holiday shopping season:


Gifts for the home make great presents. Set the mood with candles from Sitota.  Candles are not only fitting for the holiday season, they’re useful year ’round. The Sitota Collection includes soy-based candles infused with deep, invigorating, and lasting aromatics. Each candle is hand poured in small batches to add to the luxuriousness of the scent and the feeling the candle produces.

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A Luxury Travel Blog reviews The Sitota Collection

Posted by Yvette Gayle on

Luxury Travel Blog Sitota Candles review

Luxury candles from The Sitota Collection

Like to have something to soothe and relax you when you get to your destination? Inspired by a love of travel the Sitota Collection has an excellent range of luxury candles. Go for the the, Petit Excursion Candle Quartet - small and compact, these make the perfect travel companion and yet still have a burn time of 18+ hours. It also gives you the opportunity to try them all out before buying one of the larger ones with a burn time of 55+ hours. Our recommendation: the Aigyptos scented candle with notes of amber, sandalwood, musk and vanilla, smoothed out and balanced by jasmine, lavender and orange. Infused with essential oils including copaiba, balsam, orange and layandin.
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Adrienne Bailon Approved

Posted by Yvette Gayle on

Andrienne Bailon Approves the Sitota collection
Adrienne Bailon is OK!’s style contributor! The multitalented actress, singer, and host of The Real is sharing her favorite fashion, beauty, and entertainment picks for her column, “Adrienne Bailon Approved,” every week. Read on to find out what’s catching her eye these days.
“I’m obsessed with candles! They are my favorite thing EVER! They come in amazing fragrances, and I love the sleek matte-black look.”
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Posted by Yvette Gayle on

Making It Work: Adoption Made Us Stronger 

By Sherri McGee McCovey

Yvette Gayle of Sitota Collection and Family

For more than a decade, music industry veteran, Yvette Davis Gayle, has helped elevate the careers of artists like Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, and Keri Hilson, as Vice President of Publicity at lnterscope-Geffen-A&M Records. Her husband of twelve years, Colin, has also made a mark as a former music manager to artists like Jazzy Jeff, Jill Scott and Kenny Lattimore.

These days Colin owns a successful branding company that requires travel to Africa several times a year to bring artists to the motherland to perform. The eleven-hour time difference combined with a busy family life that includes seven-year-old Mekhi and three-year-old, Kirnani, keeps the Los Angeles-based power couple on the go. Yvette and Colin (who called in from Uganda to speak with us) shared how they make love and life work in a busy industry and why choosing to adopt was one of the best decisions they ever made. You both have such excit ing careers.
How hard is it to balance marriage and hectic careers with two small children.

YVETTE DAVIS GAYLE: I don't travel for work as much as I used to. Colin and I arrange our schedules so that one parent is always home and that's important to us. I'm able to pick and choose when and where I travel and I've gotten better at delegating duties.

COLIN GAYLE: Being away from my family is tough, especially with the eleven-hour time difference. When I'm awake, they're asleep. It's about cherishing the time we do have whether it's five-minute phone calls, a few days together, or family getaways, especially to Africa. There are a billion people here. It's where our strength is. llf more of us did business in Africa, we'd be so much stronger. How did you and Colin make the deci sion to adopt?

YVETTE: In the 90s, I traveled with The Fugees to Haiti and visited an orphanage where I met a little girt who stole my heart. I wanted to take her home but I was in my 20s and not in a position to adopt then but the yearning stayed in my heart. I had a difficult first pregnancy that left me severely ill and hospitalized three times. At six months, I went into premature labor and lost the child, a girl. We decided to try again. When I became pregnant with Mekhi, who I call my miracle child, the doctor sowed my cervix closed and put me on bed rest for six months. I was sick the entire time, gained sixty pounds, and developed diabetes. After he was born, my doctor and I agreed that was it. Colin and I didn't want Mekhi to be an only child and we really wanted a little girl. That's when we decided to adopt. Tell us about the adoption process.

YVETTE: I started researching adoption agencies and found Children's Home Society in St. Paul, Minnesota. We were able to meet other families that adopted through them and it fe11 like a good fit for us. We thought international adoption would be faster than domestic because international adoptees are wards of the state. Baby girts are the most requested and Ethiopia is the only African country that has a systematic protocol with U.S. agencies. We were told it would be a seven to nine month process but international celebrity adoptions became popular and what was supposed to be a nine month process turned into nearly three years before we received the dossier on our daughter. How has adoption changed or strengthened your family?

YVETTE: It has made us stronger, all three of us, to open our hearts in this way. I don't think the three of us could love Kimani any more. We deeply wanted her and were deeply committed to the process of getting her. Mehki would tell everybody my sister is in Africa, he loves her so much. It's been such a remarkable experience. When we went to, Ethiopia to get Kimani, we brought Mekhai along and then took a seven week vacation to South Africa to bond as a family. What kind of father is Colin? And Colin, tell me· about Yvette as a wife and mother.

YVETTE: Colin is a remarkable father. Sometimes, I'm spread too thin and feel I don't do enough. Colin pays attention to all the x's and o. If it's flower day at school he remembers to get it done, he's on time for school pickups, flag football and t-ball practice, everything the kids are into, he is engaged and a completely hands on father. I love that about him. It is interesting that we got Kimani from Ethiopia because Colin in Jamaican and Ethiopia and Jamaica have strong cultural ties.

COLIN: I knew I was going to marry my wife the first night we went to dinner. I needed a woman who understood my drive, having my son brought us closer together. God built her for me. She understands me better than I understand myself in most cases. Now that we have a daughter, I never felt a love like the love I have for her and Kimani. Having a daughter has made me realize the kind of man I am is the kind of man she will end up with . The love little girts have for daddies and uncles is priceless and from the moment she became my daughter, she's been glued to my hip. It is so interesting because Kimani has my mother's spirit. You recently launched a candle line called, the Sitota Collection, what inspired it?

YVETTE: Colin and I had been toying with the idea of creating a brand. I'd been making candles as a hobby for years. One day, Mekhi came into the kitchen and said he thought we should have a manufacturing plant where people help us make the candles and sell them in every country. I couldn't believe his insight. It gave me a new creative outlook. I asked what he thought about naming the company after his sister and he loved the idea. Our daughter's name is Sitota Kimani Nnenna Gayle. Sitota means, "gift." Kimani means one who travels. That's how the Sitota Collection came to be. For nearly twenty years, I've helped build the careers of so many talented artists. This gave me a chance to creative something that highlights our life and family. The collection features four pet ite hand-poured scented candles inspired by our travels: Aigyptos with aromas of amber and sandalwood. Havana with hints of
leather, tobacco, musk, and palmetto berries; Blue Nile, a blend of rich bamboo, wild grasses, bergamot, and red grapefruit, and Coco Noir, inspired by our travels to Thailand. I like to say we pour love into each candle. Tell us about Kimani and what you are teaching her about her Ethiopian heritage?

YVETTE: We are incredibly blessed that Kimani is a healthy, happy little girl and such a smart cookie. She recently tested just below profoundly gifted. The orphanage offered us a life book about her story. We've incorporated art from her birthplace throughout our home, dine at Ethiopian restaurants, and add cultural touches to her birthday celebrations. It's important to us that our baby girl grows up to be proud of who she is and where she comes from.

Sherri McGee McCovey is Los Angeles-based Television Producer, New York Times BestSelling author, and Journalist.

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My Person of the Week: Yvette Davis Gayle

Posted by Yvette Gayle on



*My Person of the Week is PR star and global traveler Yvette Davis Gayle. Her story of family, adoption, entrepreneurship, commitment and dreams continues to inspire those near and far.

Gayle is the founder and CEO of the Sitota Collection, a luxury brand of candles inspired by family and her international travels. The Sitota Collection—named after her five- year-old Ethiopian adopted daughter, Sitota—is a family venture. She is joined by her husband, Colin, with whom she is celebrating 14 years of marriage.

He is an international marketing, branding and advertising entrepreneur, who focuses on connecting American companies with South African and East African companies to partner and develop business opportunities throughout the African continent.

Gayle’s nine-year-old son, Mekhi, is the heart and inspiration behind the Sitota Collection. Gayle was making candles as a hobby for her family and friends. Mekhi encouraged his mother to open shop and expand globally.

At six years old, Mekhi walked into the kitchen where his mother was and said:

“Mom, I think you need to have a manufacturing plant.” He continued, “You should have stores in every country and sell your candles, and we can open a store in Los Angeles that you and I can work out of.” Gayle could not believe her son knew those words. Amazed, she said, “Let’s do it together.” Gayle took that moment to demonstrate to her son she could do something out of character and out of the box and become an entrepreneur. “Mekhi really takes joy in knowing that this is his company,” says Gayle. “When a candle is sold and he wants to know, ‘where is my cut?’”

Gayle said, as she reflected on that moment, that it started out as his dream and eventually became her dream. She suggested to Mekhi, they name the    candle collection after his sister and make it about their journey as a family. For Gayle, that’s what it is. She does something she loves, and something they love, and they work hard at it together. Gayle explains that when it’s time to produce a 60 pound bulk order of candles, the family pulls together. The process of making candles takes hours of cutting up coconut wax and all the different properties; blending it all together and melting it. “We do it all,” says Gayle. “We label, sticker, Sitota even joins the assemble line and hand us the tops. My brother-in-law also is very instrumental and he is just as meticulous as I am. I have two other people that work with me as well.”


And three years later, the Sitota Collection is making inroads internationally with business opportunities in hotel chains in Africa and high-end spas in the United Kingdom. The Sitota Collection is also sold at Regalo, a popular retail outlet in Nigeria. Somewhere down the line, Gayle plans to open a store in the U.S., but for now, she is focused on developing partnerships with retail outlets in the states and expanding her online boutique, as well as exporting products abroad.

The Sitota Collection was also created out of Gayle’s adoption experience. She believes that African Americans don’t consider adoption for a variety of reasons. Next month, [November] is National Adoption Month. Her goal for that month and beyond is to raise awareness and, hopefully, encourage people in her community to consider adoption as a viable option for building their families. At the time, Gayle decided to pursue an international adoption because she felt that process was more in line with her immediate goals. She also felt that Ethiopia meshed greatly with her husband’s Jamaican background, and culturally it made sense. Gayle has partnered with Adopt Together, a nonprofit crowd funding agency that helps families raise money and cover the exorbitant adoption expenses.

“[Adoption] has brought so much joy and happiness to my family,” says Gayle. “I’m extremely proud to be able to give back and that’s what this is really all about.” A portion of every candle sold is donated to the agency.

Gayle’s newest addition to the Sitota Collection is the Body Candle, just in time for the holiday season. She was inspired to make the Body Candle by a group of ladies from Regalo in Nigeria. The women were using the Sitota soy candles as a body lotion. Although Gayle doesn’t promote the soy candles as a body lotion, she thought, why not create a candle rich with nutrients to hydrate and moisturize the skin. “The Body Candle acts as a true candle and body oil,” says Gayle. “When you light it, it will scent your environment, in your room and in your home, just like a regular candle. The candle wax melts into a body oil. It’s made with 100% coconut wax, soy oil, shea butter, aloe vera, vitamin E, jojoba essential oil and other skin-loving essential oils.”

The Body Candle is perfect for moisturizing the skin—especially the feet. It’s designed to soften the skin and sooth dry spots.  The Body Candle is scented with her top-selling, signature Aigyptos fragrance, which includes a blend of amber, lavender, and sandalwood.

The Body Candle collection is packaged in three sizes. The Body Candle Travel Tin (1.5 ounces) is listed for $12.00; the Body Candle: Au Natural (5 ounces) is listed at $35.00; and the Body Candle (5 ounces) is listed at $45.00. The Body Candle Travel Tin makes great stocking stuffer treats and is perfect for multiple gift purchases for co-workers, friends and relatives.

The Sitota Collection features other gifting treats, including the Petit Excursion Candle Quartet. The Quartet features four signature fragrances including the Aigyptos, Blue Nile, Coco Noir and Havana. The Quartet is another great holiday gift.  “If you are gifting someone and you don’t know what they favorite fragrance is, you may not know whether they like a feminine or masculine scent,” says Gayle.  “The Quartet has one of each of the fragrances in the line. What’s really special about the quartet is, even though it has four fragrance, you get eight fragrances out it of because the fragrances are meant to be layered. So you can burn all four at once, or you can burn two and two as well as multiple combinations, so that’s what’s really great about that particular product. You don’t have to figure out if this is too sweet for this person or too masculine for that person, so you get a little of everything.”

When asked what her favorite candle is, she responds, “It’s like asking me which child of mine is my favorite.” Each fragrance comes with a different story. One of her favorites is the Havana candle. She wanted to create a scent that was masculine, but something that women would love too. “Men and women love the Havana candle and are often pleasantly surprised,” says Gayle. “It’s very complex and layered.” The fragrance of the Havana Candle relates to Gayle’s travel and family. The Havana is an ode to her husband’s side of the family—the Gayle family.  His mother picked pimento berries in the fields of Jamaica, and the pimento berries are included in the fragrance. His great grandmother smoked a pipe on the back porch at her home in Jamaica. So there’s tobacco, leather, amber, musk, and teakwood in the fragrance as well.  “I’ve taken all the wonderful things that I come across in places I visited and just found inspiration in all of the stories, and that’s what kind of inspires me,” says Gayle.

Gayle’s family candle making business is just one part of her very full and busy life. Her first priority is taking care of her family, but she also has a demanding position as Vice President of Publicity of Interscope Records, where she has led numerous successful top charting media campaigns with platinum and multiple award-winning artists, including Mary J. Blige and 50 Cent, just to name a few. Gayle loves her job and enjoys breaking new and developing artists. What people may be most surprised to know about Gayle is that, with all of her family and business responsibilities, she manages to find the time to hand pour most of her candles.“I love to do it” says Gayle.

“I love that every time I sell a candle, I get to say ‘I made this with my own two hands.

’ I’m a stickler for perfection. So, I’m like, ‘No, it’s not right, it’s not going out the door with my name on it.’  I love to do as much as I can. So for right now, the Body Candle is hand poured by yours truly.”

Currently, her products are manufactured in California, where she and her family reside, but Gayle’s passion and long-term goal is to open a candle manufacturing plant on Ethiopian soil.  She wants to design a program to teach women there how to make candles. As her way of giving back, she would like to donate money to orphanages and other significant causes there. Her goal is to be part of building an infrastructure to help change the economy and be a catalyst for creating jobs and opportunities for Ethiopian citizens.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Gayle has traveled to Africa, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean Islands. Her desire is that the Sitota Collection will transport people to another place or help them recall some of their own personal travel and where it has taken them. The next stop for this global traveler is Kenya. This will be Gayle’s first trip to the East African country. She is looking forward to spending time with her family, exploring the thriving cities and beautiful villages, and getting to know the people there. Perhaps, her visit will inspire a new line of Kenya candles to add to the 2016 Sitota Collection.

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