Founder & CEO
Chesapeake Bay Candle
Mei Xu’s a-ha moment came in a New York Bloomingdale’s store, where she couldn’t help but notice the scarcity of home décor products compared to amount of apparel the store sold. This was a market she thought she could crack.
Using Campbell soup cans as molds, Xu began to produce her own line of candles. Two decades later, Chesapeake Bay Candle is a nationally recognized brand sold in Target, Kohl’s, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Hallmark.
“I have always been a leader with a global vision – from creative inspirations to making sure we understand the best and most economical way to make things,” Xu said. “The vision is further enhanced by my drive to enable my global team to do the very best they inspire to.”
A native of Hangzhou, China, Xu attended a language immersion boarding school to prepare for the foreign service. But the Tiananmen Square uprising in 1989 changed her plans and Xu earned a master’s degree at University of Maryland College Park and started work for a high-tech medical company in New York that exported equipment to China. What followed was her life-changing trip to Bloomingdale’s.
In 2011, Xu’s company transitioned all of their manufacturing operations from Asia to Glen Burnie and the facility produces more than one million candles a month.
“It is my vision to start a trend that is not only making economic sense, but helping meet a changing consumer attitude to buy American made products that stand for integrity and quality,” Xu said. “We lead, not follow, trends that are happening in our society and in our culture.”