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Model turned entrepreneur DayNa Decker breathes in the sweet smell of success.

DayNa Decker

It pays to dream if you’re DayNa Decker. One night, the Laguna Beach model turned entrepreneur had a vision about a wooden wick for her line of candles. Waking up the next day, she started testing various materials in her kitchen.

“It took two years to get it right,” Decker says. “It was a lot of trial and error.”

Initially, Decker dreamed of being a model. She began that career when she was all of 6. By age 16, a competition had landed her a contract in Japan. And for five years, she modeled around the world before settling in Los Angeles with the Ford Models agency for a decade.

But entrepreneurship was in her DNA. Her father owned women’s fashion stores, and her mother operated a health club. “I always knew I wanted to have my own lifestyle company,” Decker says. “I am a Taurus, so I love nature and beautiful, luxurious, sensorial things. I wanted the brand to be all about eco-luxury products.”

The 43-year-old started DayNa Decker in 2001 and spent five years creating, designing and patenting her technologies and products, including candles, diffusers, and washes, lotions, sprays and creams. Her EcoWood Wicks are said to burn cleaner than traditional cotton ones, and they also produce a soothing crackling sound.

To date, the company has generated a dreamy $800 million in sales. Her products can be found in high-end stores, including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, and luxury hotels such as the Montage, The Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons. “We can take a scent that we develop for a property and implement it into ambient scenting, amenities, spa treatments and retail products, creating multisensorial memories of the hotel,” she says.

It’s the sweet smell of success.  

Decker’s Hots
Bruno Mars, green drinks, neuroscience, Monika Chiang

Decker’s Nots
Discouragement, dairy, clutter, toxic cleaning products, driving in L.A. traffic