This season of The Real Housewives of Potomac is fraught with controversy. Most recently, Mia’s husband was being weird. Otherwise, Candiace has been mean about the relative largeness of certain foreheads and feet, and the supposed wide-bodiness of at least one postpartum ass. Gizelle’s foot is hurt, and Robyn is having a hard time meeting consumer demand for her hats.
But in all the shadiness, there are two bright lights. They are the first-ever candles from recently crowned home goods purveyors Karen Huger and Wendy Osefo, and I need to know where they are — immediately.
Talk of these candles has gone on throughout the current season, which filmed earlier this year, and yet no evidence of either candle seems to exist online for a viewer like me to misguidedly purchase. Will they ever exist? Will we ever get to smell Karen and Wendy’s disparate takes on luxury for the home? Let’s take a closer look at their evolution, and see if we might find some clues.
July 18: In season 6, episode 2, Johns Hopkins professor Wendy Osefo announces a new business venture while hosting a family dinner. It’s a candle. In response to the news, Wendy’s mom says: "It's a candle." It is difficult to tell whether she is impressed. "I'm gonna need you guys to really support me," Wendy says, "because I'm branching off from my profession."
And indeed she is.
Wendy explains the candle is actually meant to be part of a home essentials line called Onyi Home Essentials. “My middle name is Onyi and it means 'gift from god,' so Onyi is my gift to the world.” But she hasn’t gotten particularly far in candle production. "I haven't done any of the business side,” she says. “I've done all the fun stuff, like, I picked out the color of the lid, I mixed different scents."
July 19: Gizelle appears on What What Happens Live and takes a fan question about how successful she thinks Wendy’s new candle line will be. She says: “Not that successful.”
July 24: On Instagram, Mia announces her company Amilleon London will also offer candles. (Amilleon London offers a collection of goods from non-Mia creators.) These "statement candles," featuring slogans like “DON’T FUCK WITH ME,” are made by Thompson Ferrier. One could not be faulted for assuming the statements, and the timing of the release, were meant as a dig at Wendy, with whom Mia is, in general, beefing. The candles, which have not (yet) been mentioned on The Real Housewives of Potomac, are currently available for purchase ($38).
July 25: In season 6, episode 3, Wendy seeks out Karen’s advice. Wendy, who was not Karen’s fan last season, says she has a “newfound respect for anyone who has started a business.” Because of this newfound respect, she reaches out to Karen for help with her candle. Wendy tells Karen that she wants to become the black Martha Stewart; i.e., “towels and pillows and throw rugs.” She is starting with candles.
Karen asks if she has a partner (her husband Eddie) and whether she has a business plan (she has a paragraph of a business plan). Karen explains that she needs more of a business plan than that, and that she should double whatever she imagines is her budget. Wendy shows Karen her candle, and Karen asks why someone would choose this candle rather than another candle on the market. Wendy collapses in agony at the difficulty of the question.
July 25: Candiace appears on Watch What Happens Live and, in response to a request for thoughts on Wendy’s candle, says: "I have her candle. It smells really good."
August 8: In season 6, episode 5, Eddie and Wendy discuss whether she is wearing too many “hats” in life. (Professor, commentator, mother, wife, and now the candles.) Eddie thinks yes, Wendy thinks no. He brings up the candles and asks if she even checked whether the name she’s chosen for them (Onyi Home Essentials) was available. “Oh so you have to, like ... register?” she asks. “Yes, you have to register your business,” Eddie says. He adds that she probably should have figured that out before buying all those candles and having Onyi Home Essentials written on them. Eddie explains that her company should also have a business plan, some sort of financial plan, and a mission. “I need a mission?” she asks. “The mission is to sell candles!”
She concedes that she did not consider the business side of things, but that she is not willing to walk away from the candle, because that would be “walking away from [her] dream.”
August 15: Wendy appears on Watch What Happens Live and is asked what she thinks about Mia’s candle release. "You know, they say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery," she says. "So I'm flattered, and I'm glad that I was able to help expand her business."
August 29: In season 6, episode 8, Karen Huger is sworn in as an ambassador to her hometown of Surry County, Virginia. After giving an ambassadorship acceptance speech to the five or so people there to hear it (including Wendy) Karen Huger’s husband Ray takes the mic. It seems like he is going to propose for a second time, as a reminder of their forthcoming vow renewal ceremony. Instead, he announces that they have an announcement related to Karen Huger’s perfume line La’Dame.
“There will be an expansion to La'Dame,” Karen says to, again, about five people, including Wendy. "We are installing candles and aromatherapy for the home."
In a talking head interview, Wendy expresses confusion. "I'm a bit confused. She did not mention her candle line when I was at her house." In her own interview, Karen explains that she and Wendy are, actually, not really doing the same thing. “There's a little difference in what Wendy and I are doing. The La'Dame candle is a three-wick candle, and hers is a one-wick candle. So mine can cover the area of a larger space, if you will."
August 29: Karen posts a message on Instagram about why she didn’t tell Wendy about her three-wick candle. “The truth is … everyone knew I was coming out with a home fragrance candle and gift set, doesn’t surprise me at all that Wendy forgot but that’s ok.”
September 19: In season 6, episode 11, Wendy shares a candle business plan with Eddie (she explains that she’s sought out his help because he is an attorney who oversees big corporations and their taxes). He has some difficult questions. “What do you plan on selling these candles for?” he asks. “That’s a great question,” Wendy says. “How much do the candles cost to make?” he asks. “I’ll circle back to you on that,” Wendy says.
September 26: In season 6, episode 12, Karen receives a delivery of La’Dame candle prototypes, and hands out La’Dame candle gift sets at the launch party for Gizelle and Robyn’s new podcast “Reasonably Shady.” Ashley smells the candle, the scent of which is “Bohemian Fire,” and says, “Oh, that’s fresh.” Wendy looks displeased. Karen says the candle is “headed to major retailers.”
October 3: At the beginning of season 6, episode 13, Robyn redelivers Ashley Darby’s candle gift set to her, explaining that she had forgotten it at the party. “A lot of people did, actually,” Robyn adds.
October 6: Gawker reaches out to Karen Huger, Wendy Osefo, and Bravo PR desperate to know if there is a launch date for either the La’Dame candle or the Onyi Home Essentials candle. Karen’s PR loops in La’Dame management. Bravo PR says they will check. Wendy’s personal assistant responds saying her candle is “set to launch this Fall 2021.” Gawker asks if a description is publicly available, and Wendy’s personal assistant says it is not, yet, but that they would check and see if we might be able to run an exclusive.
October 7: Gawker is provided with a description of Wendy Osefo’s candle:
Our signature fragrance. “Onyinye” in the Igbo dialect means “God’s gift.” This fragrance is truly God’s gift to us invoking the sensual white tea flavor and aloe scents to bring us a feeling of euphoria. Onyi is a classic scent that is clean, fresh and ever so popular. It will leave you speechless each and every time.
A truly cleansing and revitalizing scent, serene white tea and healing aloe vera combine to create an uplifting aroma with a naturally pleasant undertone. Warm, earthy cedar welcomes your senses as they are greeted by luscious vanilla for a well-rounded aroma.
Top: White tea | Base: Aloe
And it does sound good.
October 8: Gawker reaches out to La’Dame management a final time about when we might see the La’Dame candle, and if a scent profile might be provided. We do not hear back.
October 9: Bravo PR responds.
Wendy Osefo’s candle will be released October 18.
Karen Huger’s candle will be released holiday 2021.