Small Business Spotlight: Anna-Bradley Schoenfeld ’11 ’13MNM ’20EdD

BradLee Candles

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Photo of Small Business Owner Anna-Bradley Schoenfeld

Photo credit: Tamra (Crystal) Brayton

This year has been particularly hard on our UCF alumni small business owners, so leading up to Small Business Saturday, we’re spotlighting a few Knights from our Business Directory!

Meet three-time alumna Anna-Bradley Schoenfeld ’11 ’13MNM ’20EdD, owner of BradLee Candles:

What inspired you to start this business?

I started BradLee as a creative outlet for myself. Fresh off of the dissertation journey (EdD circa 2020!) I found myself yearning to put my energy into a project. I have an entrepreneurial spirit and have dreamt about ideas for products (like a shoe where the heel can be removed and transition into a flat – good news for us consumers, this is patent pending).

But the issue is, I love my 8-5 career and I am not willing to give that side of myself up. So what’s a girl to do? She’s going to make some DANG good candles on the weekends! Truly – that was my thought process. Need something to do + loves crafts + yummy smells = home grown candle company!

What’s the story behind BradLee Candles?

BradLee is a brand born from a joyful and enthusiastic enjoyment of life. More than candles, the BradLee brand is reminiscent of humid summer nights spent listening to the crash of waves by the Gulf of Mexico. It’s cool autumn breezes flowing through your kitchen window while a loaf of pumpkin bread cools on the counter top. It’s days spent snuggled in a chaise lounge with fluffy socks, a good book, and a warm cup of aromatic single origin French press coffee. It’s a romantic evening finishing off your favorite bottle of vintage Cabernet listening to big band records and slow dancing with your beau. It’s a shot of whiskey with your sister before Christmas Eve church. It’s a moment.

BradLee represents those moments in life when for just a few minutes, the beauty of the world is unmistakable in the brilliance of stillness.

More than candles, BradLee represents our dreams, our passions, our desires, and most importantly: our moments. 

The name BradLee is an ode to my family. Bradley (the second half of my name, Anna-Bradley) is my late grandmother’s maiden name. Lee is my mom’s middle name. Naming my brand after the two strongest, most inspiring, trailblazing women in my life seemed like a natural choice.

What was the biggest thing you learned during your time as a Knight that you apply to your life today?

UCF made me. I often tell people I “grew up” on UCF’s campus since I literally lived in UCF’s on-campus housing facilities for 10 years between undergrad, graduate school, and working for residence life as a young professional. It is hard to pin down one moment or one thing I learned.

I would say UCF taught me that I can literally do anything I set my mind to. No status quo is too great to change and every person is worthy of your time, energy and love. I learned how to be a part of a community. I learned how to think critically, ask questions, and be a good friend.

Why did you sign up for the UCF Knights Network Business Directory?

I wanted to share my business with other Knights! I also make a custom UCF-themed candle called “Charge On” and I wanted to share that with the UCF community.

How has the pandemic affected your business?

I started my business during the pandemic! I found myself with a lot more time on my hands being quarantined at home!

Why is it important to support small business owners?

Small businesses are more than just a place to exchange money for a good or service. When you support a small business, you are supporting someone’s dream. You are saying to them – I see you, I support you, and your dream is valuable to me. Supporting small businesses means supporting your community.

Find more Alumni-owned Businesses on UCF Knights Network​!

UCF Knights Network is our alumni professional networking platform that promotes career and professional development, entrepreneurship, job opportunities, and mentorship. Once you’ve signed  up (it takes only a minute to do if you sign up with Facebook or LinkedIn!), you can access the official UCF Alumni Business Directory via the platform.

This service is offered at no cost to our alumni, it’s simply a perk of being a grad! So, join today to reconnect with fellow Knights and expand your professional network.

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