About Our Founder

I'm Melissa Marie, the founder of Cali Meets NYC where we specialize in creating a one-of-a-kind experience with elevated fragrances. I've been making candles since I was 12 years-old, and since then I curated a keen sense for complex fragrant notes.

Together with research and entrepreneurial spirit rooted by my maternal grandmother, I started relearning and perfecting this beloved trade.

As an avid candle collector my intuition was to create a brand that is as unapologetically black and as authentic as I am.

I have a BFA in Advertising Design and a MA in Fashion Journalism, which lays an excellent foundation for my extensive research skills and my minimalistic design approach. This coupled with my candling skills from my childhood is how Cali Meets NYC was born.

I cannot wait to be apart of your self-care, one candle at a time.

Cali Meets NYC Owner, Melissa Jagessar holding candle

Our Inspiration

Clara Mariah Ferguson, my maternal grandmother inspired my dream to become an entrepreneur. For over 20 years she ran and owned a convenience store called 'The Roundup' located in The Bronx which served many neighboring children as well as working people with her famous egg creams!

As one of the only black woman owned businesses in the area she faced many hardships such as racism about the color of her skin or unwarranted threats, break-ins and arson; yet these difficulties did not stop Clara who worked tirelessly alongside her husband James and five children. 

Clara herself was determined not just to survive but also thrive by being successful⏤ something that can be seen today among her children and grandchildren who are always striving towards greater heights.

Her unwavering determination is rooted in me. Her entrepreneurial blood runs through my veins and has made me what I am today.




hand-crafted products