As A CEO, I Find Power In Creating Cigars—Here’s Why!

Embarking on the journey to create The Lady Love Cigars, I soon learned how much strength I would need to navigate the male-dominated cigar industry.

Candace Ford, CEO of Lady Love Cigars
Photos courtesy of LLC

In my opinion, smoking a cigar is an experience. I’ve always been drawn to the rich aroma and camaraderie surrounding cigars. I remember as a young girl, I would watch my grandfather and great-uncle smoke cigars while drinking their coffee. I fondly remember being amazed as the smoke swirled up into the air each time they puffed.

As I got older, I learned that smoking a cigar was more than just a pastime, it was a symbol of relaxation, celebration, and community. Much like the men in my life, it soon became a way for me to unwind after a long and busy day.

Why I’m The Lady That Loves Cigars

As the CEO and founder of The Lady Love Cigars (LLC), I am a woman who wears a lot of hats. My journey in the cigar industry has been anything but conventional, so as you’d imagine, that comes with stress.

To combat stress, some people work out or meditate. For me, I find relaxation in smoking a cigar. I often use that downtime to reflect; almost like having a conversation with myself with every draw of the cigar. It helps me to slow down. It also helps me to feel powerful. 

Candace Ford, CEO of Lady Love Cigars
Photo courtesy of LLC

Breaking Barriers And Setting The Cigar Industry Ablaze 

Embarking on the journey to create The Lady Love Cigars, I soon learned how much strength I would need to navigate the male-dominated cigar business. From manufacturers to retailers, the faces staring back at me were predominantly male. This proved to be a challenge when it came to securing funding, finding suppliers, and building a network.

Candace Ford, CEO of Lady Love Cigars
Photo courtesy of LLC

In a world where tradition and history reign supreme, being a female entrepreneur disrupting the norm was met with resistance. I admit that there’s been times when it felt like the odds were stacked against me, and the easy option would have been to retreat. However, I refuse to let the fear of failure hold me back. Rather than letting these moments deter me, I let the “nos” ignite a fire within me to challenge the status quo.

One of the greatest challenges I encountered was gaining respect and recognition within the industry. To combat this, I had to work twice as hard to prove my worth, constantly pushing boundaries and showcasing the quality and craftsmanship of my cigars.

Celebrating The Wins

Establishing a thriving cigar brand has been a challenge laden with both obstacles and triumphs. However, my unwavering passion for cigars has helped carve out my place in this male-dominated domain.

Amidst the challenges, there’s also been moments of triumph that continues to fuel my determination like seeing the smiles on the faces of customers as they enjoy our cigars, receiving positive feedback from seasoned aficionados, and witnessing the growth of the Lady Love Cigars brand.

Lady Love Cigars
Photo courtesy of LLC

I also find strength in the support of fellow female entrepreneurs who faced similar uphill battles in their respective industries. We’ve formed a tight-knit community of bosses, who light up a cigar to celebrate victories and achieving milestones. We use that time to provide each other with encouragement, advice, and solidarity. Together, we shatter stereotypes and pave the way for future generations of women in entrepreneurship. 

As I continue to expand The Lady Love Cigars brand, I hope to inspire other women to fearlessly pursue their passions and carve out their own paths, regardless of the obstacles they may face. 

Reflecting on all I have accomplished, inspires me to push for even more. After all, the sweetest victories often come from the hardest-fought battles. 

Editor’s Note: This story has been edited and condensed for clarity. The views expressed in this personal essay are the author’s own and do not directly reflect the opinions or perspectives of BrownStyle Magazine. Our platform values diverse voices and encourages individual expression, recognizing that each contributor brings a unique and personal lens to the content we share. It is important to note that the magazine remains committed to providing a broad range of viewpoints that resonate with our diverse readership.

Candace Ford is a Houston philanthropist, entrepreneur, and boss babe. Known for her work empowering young women through the Project Beautiful Me organization and her podcast “Champagne and Cigars.” 

She is also the owner and CEO of The Lady Loves Cigars (L.L.C.), a premium authentic cigar brand designed for women who share the same desire as men in the smoke world.