When the world shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sailor Brinkley-Cook was looking for a way to keep busy.
The model and budding photographer started to feel her mental health take a tumble, so she sought an outlet of self-care. This was the start of what would become her Sacred + Divine candle collection.
"I decided I really wanted to create something that aligned with my passions and my beliefs and something a little bit bigger than just myself," Brinkley-Cook tells PEOPLE of how she came to be creative director of the brand. "I knew my whole career had just been modeling, and I hadn't really had the chance to open up to the idea of creating a brand or the idea of building something outside of myself."
While trying to manage her mental health in 2020 and 2021, Brinkley-Cook, whose mother is supermodel Christie Brinkley, would take walks to disconnect and calm restlessness. While on these walks, she says she started to see angel numbers, which are repetitive numbers that supposedly have different meanings, like luck and protection.
After learning more about numerology, Brinkley-Cook moved onto the next step of creating her brand: deciding on candles.
"I have this connection to candles because I always feel like they represent a moment of self-care for me," she says. "I'm never really casually lighting a candle. I'll light a candle with the intention of getting cozy and feeling calm."
Brinkley-Cook tells PEOPLE that the idea for combining angel numbers and candles was the "perfect avenue" to go down, primarily because she wanted these candles in her own home but also so she could help others. "I knew that hopefully they would bring anyone else that deals with a restless mind these moments of feeling grounded and feeling present and calm and setting your intentions. Each of these candles really brings a great, calm moment to my day."
Sacred + Divine offers 10 candles, with the triple angel numbers from 000 to 999, all retailing for $45 each. Each candle represents a different purpose and has a coordinating scent. The collection also includes angel number necklaces starting at $711 each.
Brinkley-Cook starts her day with her 111 candle, which is meant for manifesting. The white oud-scented candle reminds her to make each day into whatever she wants. "I think that the word 'manifestation' is so overplayed now, but it's genuinely a reminder that you create your reality," she shares. "When you wake up in the morning, you can either choose to look at it as just another boring day or you can think, 'Wow, I have this entire 24 hours where anything could happen.'"
She closes out her day with the 333 candle, which is for support. This rose pepper-scented candle helps round out Brinkley-Cook's day in a way that's all about comfort. "It stands for strengths during hard times and remembering your resilience," she says. "I always like that one at night because I can remind myself that I did it. I lived through today and I did my best."
Launching a brand with no know-how wasn't of interest to Brinkley-Cook, though — she wanted to make sure she understood every piece of the process. She took classes at Harvard Business School online, as well as at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. "Over the pandemic, I was sort of trying my hardest to retain as much knowledge about new things as I could," she tells PEOPLE.
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Fortunately for the 24-year-old, she had a support system around her encouraging her new venture, including her mom. Brinkley-Cook was especially grateful for that support, because she says she was starting to feel the pressure from social media, with people criticizing the way she spent her time during the pandemic. She admits that she shares "about 5%" of her life on social media but still garners hate from people thinking they know everything about her — and that came on full force during the pandemic when she says people assumed she was doing nothing with her time and living a privileged life as the child of a celebrity.
"Everyone had an opinion," she says of that time period when she was laying low on social media and focusing on building a business. "I was keeping to myself doing these online classes. I got a lot of hate for that because a lot of people online were like, 'Oh, look at you just sitting around in the Hamptons and not doing anything. It must be nice. What a privileged life.'"
It felt good finally rolling out her company to show off what she'd been working on, and she says her mom was especially proud of her. "She loves these candles," Brinkley-Cook tells PEOPLE. "She has them lit all over the house. Each room has a different one. Our kitchen has 111. Our living room is 444. Her bedroom has 888. Everyone's been really supportive and she's been really sweet to keep them lit everywhere in our house."
The current candle and necklace collections are just the beginning for Sacred + Divine, Brinkley-Cook teases. "I found something that I'm passionate about and a product and a brand that I'm excited to grow," she tells PEOPLE, adding that these candles and their corresponding angel numbers bring a sense of support to her life that she wants to continue on with.
"Through feeling supported by the universe, I find that I support myself a little better, and I believe that I can do it all on my own. I have a stronger sense of self when I feel connected to something bigger."