For Business

Brand spotlight: Ella & Iris Home

The sweet scent of brand-building based on a family legacy.

Image of Iris founder Felicia Johnson next to products on display

The safest Felicia Johnson has ever felt was when she was a child living in the home her two grandmothers shared. Both her paternal and maternal grandmothers, named Ella and Iris, immigrated to the United States from Jamaica to help Felicia’s parents manage a growing household. Felicia credits much of who she is today to the values they imparted.

“Living with them and just seeing how they cared for me and my siblings, I always felt comfortable and loved,” says Felicia.

“They came from a culture that was very close to nature. And that came through in the way they would cook and clean the house.”

Her grandmothers would often take lemons, mint leaves, and other home-grown plants from their garden and use the scents to freshen up their home—leaving the space with a light and calming aroma.

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It taught Felicia the power scents can have in invoking peace and security. She wanted to replicate that feeling she enjoyed as a young girl.

“The world outside of your home can be so harsh, but inside your home, you can make your environment whatever you want it to be. Scents can help turn the home into a sanctuary.”

Finding a sense of purpose through owning a business

The pandemic-era quarantine provided Felicia with the clarity to seriously think about launching a business of luxury home fragrances. She wanted to name the collection Ella & Iris Home, after the grandmothers who created her sense of home.

“I was caught up in the rat race, working a 9-5 office job, but then the pandemic slowed everything down. I took a closer look at my life and realized I needed to get the most out of it. I wanted to build a legacy while honoring the legacy of my grandmothers.”

Ella & Iris Home launched with two signature scents, the Iris, a floral blend of iris, hyacinth, and violet, and the Ella, a citrusy combo of lemon, orange, and lime. The fragrances are crafted from nontoxic essential oils, and are available in both a room spray and reed oil diffuser.

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“Our mission is to offer unique, calming aromatic products that beautify the spaces you live, work, and travel in. People are busy, they’re overwhelmed. It can be powerful to be able to uplift your mood with a single spray,” says Felicia.

“Wellness starts in the mind. If your mind is calm, you tend to make better decisions for yourself.”

Growing an ecommerce brand through streamlined checkout

As her business grew, she not only sold on Amazon.com but also launched an ecommerce site. And she soon offered Buy with Prime as a checkout option on all her products. She was attracted to the trust that Prime branding can inspire in shoppers.

“There’s a credibility that comes with the Buy with Prime badge. When a new shopper sees Buy with Prime as a checkout option, it helps to communicate that it’s trustworthy. They know it’s going to get there, and they know they can easily return it.”

In addition, she implemented Reviews from Amazon for Buy with Prime, which pulls in star ratings and individual written reviews from Amazon.com and displays them on Buy with Prime product pages directly on her ecommerce site.

“It provides social proof for our products, so it was great to bring that in.”

The blessing of entrepreneurship

Since taking the entrepreneurship plunge in 2020, Felicia has had a steady stream of opportunities and wins. She was invited to join One Million Black Women, an exclusive cohort from Goldman Sachs’ Black in Business program. She received a Buy Black certification from the U.S. Black Chamber. She also had the chance to attend Amazon Accelerate, and she’s been featured in numerous gift guides and podcasts.

Felicia is continuing to scale her business and ramp up production of her fragrances while still ensuring that she’s offering nontoxic, eco-friendly items. She wants to expand into providing Ella & Iris Home cleaning products as well.

She’s grateful to be on the path she’s on—sharing the legacy of her grandmothers with the world.

“I love being able to bring my stories and my family’s stories into the marketplace. That is a blessing of entrepreneurship. It’s a reminder that there’s room for all of our stories and that they deserve to be told.”

Bring calm to your home with fresh scents from Ella & Iris Home.

Learn more about Buy with Prime.

Anita Little