Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Luis Garcia of Milan Candles Is Helping To Change Our World

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Have a good relationship with money and take financial literacy classes. Understand that money is a tool that can be used to make more money. When I made my first million, I blew it because I didn’t have a good relationship with money. I felt like I wasn’t supposed to have it, so I spent it. Then when I made my second million, the same thing happened — I learned to invest in my businesses, but I didn’t learn to stop spending it. Now, I’m investing my money and putting it to work for me.

As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Luis Garcia.

Luis Garcia is a self-taught entrepreneur who defies convention and challenges stereotypes in his approach to business. A Philadelphia native and US Army combat veteran, Garcia has turned his street smarts and military knowledge into business strategies, tactics, and tools. With his unique methods and a relentless commitment to his goals, he has carved out a space for himself in multiple industries.

Garcia is CEO and founder of three companies: digital marketing production company, Red Wolf; entrepreneurship development service, Law of Ambition; and most recently social impact candle company, Milan Candles. Inspired by Garcia’s determination to make the world a safer place, Milan Candles is a social impact enterprise that will use proceeds to fund Milan’s Mission, an initiative to rescue and rehabilitate sex trafficking survivors. While Milan Candles is distinct for its softer tone and heart-centered mission, behind the scenes, Garcia operates the business with the same tactical approach that underpins his other brands. Though his ventures are diverse, his overarching vision is singular: to build businesses that drive change and leave a lasting positive impact on the world.

Born and raised in North Philadelphia, Garcia joined the U.S. Army in search of better opportunities for himself and his family. He understood that there was little for him at home, without any positive role models to turn to or aspire to. He saw first hand that the cycle of poverty meant he would very well end up working a hopeless minimum wage job, in prison, or worse. His struggles and exposure to the economic inequalities of the world instilled in him a tireless drive, as well as gifted him with a keen emotional intelligence and ability to read people and what drives them.

Growing up in a life of poverty made Luis incredibly resilient and able to withstand the rigorous training and harsh conditions of military training. He excelled in his field and quickly adopted the army discipline and mindset that would later form the foundation for his entrepreneurial success. In 2014, while on military deployment to Afghanistan, Garcia began building his first business. From his mobile phone with a limited signal, he discovered Instagram and forever changed the course of his life. In the few hours he had between operations on tour, Garcia built an Instagram audience of more than 6 million followers collectively. Using every break and spare moment he possibly had, Luis started connecting with CEO’s and Fortune 500 companies, and networking with influencers, putting in double and triple shifts to learn from mentors, and building his online businesses.

When Garcia returned from his deployment, he later launched Red Wolf, a digital marketing company leveraging data with military precision to push companies to the forefront of their industries. With his second daughter on the way, Luis envisioned building a company and a future in which there was no limit to success and anything was possible. His rapid growth and effective tactics, all of which he incredibly achieved while on duty a world away, soon attracted the attention of high-level entrepreneurs and executives who were eager to have Garcia replicate those results for their businesses. It wasn’t long before Garcia secured a roster of notable clients, including NBC Universal, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, BMW, Vayner Media, Rolls Royce, Peninsula Hotels Beverly Hills, Haute Living, and more. Garcia also landed features on and a contributor role on

As the success of his first business endeavor grew, Garcia set his sights on a new venture: mentorship. He understood just how important it is for young, ambitious and underprivileged people to have support and examples to aspire to in order to break free of their circumstances. Knowing how important his mentors had been to developing his business acumen and building Red Wolf, Luis was determined to pay it forward. After self-publishing his story and hard-learned lessons in his debut book, Law of Ambition, Garcia founded an entrepreneur development program under the same name.

Since 2018, Garcia has personally mentored hundreds of people through Law of Ambition with his signature military-inspired business style, coaching them on mindset, leadership, discipline, and execution. Under Law of Ambition, Garcia has also self-published two more business books (Law of Ambition Quotes and Entrepreneur 101) and launched online courses and programs for both aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs. Many of Garcia’s mentees have reached significant milestones, including publishing books, earning 5- and 6-figures in monthly revenue, and securing funding and partnerships.

Outside of his current ventures, Garcia is exploring new business avenues, including music management, web3, and real estate development. As he expands his portfolio of businesses, he remains committed to his mission of creating high-impact businesses and leaving a legacy for his three daughters.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I grew up broke in North Philadelphia. As a kid I was always acutely aware of money (or the lack of it) — I would see my mom selling all kinds of products from Avon — candles, home interiors, frames, etc. She would always be trying something new to make sure we had enough food on the table and I guess somewhere along the line the idea of hustle and taking control of your own income became subconsciously embedded in my mind. As I got older I was always looking for ways to make money and eventually became a hustler. After I watched my brother get arrested I joined the military to build a better life for myself.

That’s where I learned about discipline, integrity, and leading a team. I was good at my job but I had a daughter at home, and another one on the way. I was determined to help create a better life than I had for them, so I started to think about what I could do after my deployment to secure their future. I started looking for mentors to guide me so that I could reach a higher level of success. I found that anyone who had the level of success that I wanted to achieve all had one thing in common — they had some level of philanthropy attached to their companies. I began to realize success was more than just collecting money, it’s about creating a big and REAL impact. It was fulfillment. So I shifted my perspective from money to the biggest impact I could have.

In order to do so I thought a lot about the types of people that needed help and were in my opinion, actual victims. Meaning they were completely helpless and needed real help in their situation. That’s when I made the decision to devote my life to helping victims of sex trafficking.

I want to help these individuals rebuild their lives away from the horrors that they’ve been subjected to.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

The company is still fairly new, but one of the most interesting things I’ve seen so far is the amount of support and love we’ve received from our community and partners already — at all levels.

One of the companies who supported us early on is a company that has always inspired us — Rolls-Royce — and getting their support was incredible. It was such a universal alignment that they released their Black Badge Ghost on the same day we launched Milan Candles (11.11.2021) and them loving our Black Coconut & Cashmere Wood candle. They reached out to us and asked if they could showcase the scent at select launch events that week — it felt like a sign telling us that we were doing the right thing, and most importantly, we were on the right path.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The first thing that pops into my mind is testing the candles for shipping. I had a friend who sent me her candles and they arrived broken, and I remember thinking the number one thing our candle had to do was not shatter when it arrived at our customers homes. So I spent months testing different vessels, boxes, foam wrap, peanuts etc.

I even have a video of me kicking one of our packages around like it was a soccer ball and throwing it 20 feet in the air a few times because I wanted to really battle test it for durability and security. After a couple of rounds we got it right, and that’s actually something our customers comment on a lot. We often get told we’re the most securely packaged candle they’ve ever received, which is great.

Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

Milan Candles is a mission-driven business. Our goal is to support victims of sex trafficking through our 3R strategy: Readiness to raise awareness, educate, and provide preventive strategy training, Rescue those who have been trafficked and provide Rehabilitation support victims of sex trafficking through Operation Haven.

That’s why we donate proceeds from every candle sold to fund our non-profit, Milan’s Mission. We want to give these individuals a real chance at rebuilding their lives free from judgment and stigma, and know that they’re seen, heard, and valued as much as anyone else in this world.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

Everyone we’ve come across has been impacted by our cause in some way. It’s still very early on so we haven’t been able to build out our mission side fully. Instead, we’ve been focusing on building strong foundations. But we’ve had women in our community sharing their stories of abuse with us in the hopes that it will help others. Just this weekend, we posted a story that one of our community members shared, and instead of us taking the lead and responding, we invited our entire Milan Candles family to send her words of love, support, and encouragement. It was beautiful how everyone came together to help her start her healing journey. Milan Candles is a safe space for them and we’re hoping to have more of these stories as we continue to grow and spread awareness.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

In terms of society — the biggest thing is understanding the psychology of someone who’s actually trafficking. Who are they and what types of things would cause someone to do something like this? Addressing these issues early on — before someone even gets into the mindset of getting involved and spiralling into sex trafficking — is important.

The community needs to be more alert and cognizant of these signs. The more educated and aware they are, the more they can do to help. This is what we’re trying to do through our 3R strategy and Operation Haven.

And politicians can lobby for more extreme laws and sentencing for traffickers. There also needs to be less red tape when it comes to rescuing individuals on an international level.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Leadership is being able to influence people for the betterment of others. As a leader, my job is always to help you make better decisions that positively impact yourself and others.

Every great leader has been able to move society, an organization, or their team forward in some way. I’ve experienced good and bad leaders. I had a leader who used to be a Commander of my unit — and he had a hard time leading. He couldn’t inspire his men or do great things. Then we got a Company Commander from the Ranger Regiment (Captain Lyles). He was able to communicate and inspire a sense of trust in his team that created and boosted morale. I remember having conversations with him about my personal goals and what I wanted to do after the Military, and he always supported me and my ideas. He didn’t try to sway me for personal or professional motives, like others did. I believe he’s a Major in the Army now. But his advice always stuck with me — it’s really powerful how simple words can inspire someone to take a different path and be great in their own right.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Have a good relationship with money and take financial literacy classes. Understand that money is a tool that can be used to make more money. When I made my first million, I blew it because I didn’t have a good relationship with money. I felt like I wasn’t supposed to have it, so I spent it. Then when I made my second million, the same thing happened — I learned to invest in my businesses, but I didn’t learn to stop spending it. Now, I’m investing my money and putting it to work for me.

You don’t need support from others, you just need to support and believe in yourself. Back to the Army, when I told everyone I was leaving, they all thought I was crazy. Everyone, including my peers and leadership kept asking me “why would you leave a job with a stable pay check? You have daughters”. Even my own family was negative so the whole transition was one of those scary moments for me. All I really knew how to do was “close with and destroy the enemy” which was my job description as an infantryman. How was I supposed to translate that in the civilian world and make good money? So I had to believe in myself and tell myself that I was already equipped with all the skills and tools I needed to succeed. All I had to do was change my mission and jump. I would think to myself: I’ve already done the hardest thing I could do — go to war — what’s the worst that can happen now? I told myself, as long as it’s not life and death, I could figure it out. And I have been doing so ever since.

Integrity is everything — in order to do anything significant in the world, you have to have integrity. Growing up in the hood taught me a level of finesse and gave me the “every man for himself” mentality. But it was during my time in the Army that I started learning the importance of integrity. Integrity helps you build trust and without trust you have nothing — no relationships, no credibility, and no discipline. Integrity starts with yourself — you have to commit to and tell yourself that you’re going to do whatever it takes to accomplish your goal. In starting my life as an entrepreneur, I found myself falling back into that same survival mindset I had growing up — scarcity. That’s when you have to really lean in on your values and non-negotiables because the survival mindset puts you in compromising situations. And I had to learn to maintain my integrity all the time because when I compromised it, that’s when my businesses and relationships started collapsing. Once I started to implement and maintain my integrity again, that the army instilled in me, my quality of life, discipline, and relationships started to improve drastically.

Learning how to be resourceful can take you places money can’t. While I was in Afghanistan and transitioning back to the States, all I had was my cell phone and a Rohan box for wifi to begin building my life after the Military. To put things into perspective, an E4 soldier in the US Army would only make about $2000 a month. With BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) that would increase to $3250 a month to raise my family, pay bills and start a business when I got back home. But I started my business while I was deployed in Afghanistan — with no money, advice or people who I could ask for support so I had to be resourceful and use the little bit of wifi I could get, along with all my spare time, to build and grow my business. That’s when I turned to the internet to find mentors, read books, and network with people. I used “YouTube university” to learn how to shoot video, edit, and do marketing and sales myself because I couldn’t afford to pay anyone. I would only sleep for 4 hours because I worked 16–20 hour days and so on. If you’re reading this right now and have the internet, you have more than enough resources to get it done.

There’s always more than one solution to every problem. Most people get stuck because they think there’s either no solution or only one way to do things, but that’s not the case. The key to this is to understand the problem and create a PACE (Primary, Alternative, Contingency, Emergency) plan. A PACE plan allows you to mitigate mission failure and you build it out by going from the most logical and effective way to deal with something to the least effective in order to complete your task. For example, if I have a meeting with my team to onboard a new client, my PACE plan would look like the following. Primary — get my team on zoom and go through all of the information so we can onboard the client successfully. Alternative — Use FaceTime to connect with my team. Contingency — Send messages back and forth on whatsapp to make sure we’re still communicating in real time. Emergency — send my team and the client an email to communicate all of the same things. This way if Zoom went down or stopped working, my team knows our emergency protocol and is still able to continue on so that I can mitigate mission failure. Now, instead of one solution to my problem, I have four. I wish someone would have told me that early on — it would have saved me a lot of time.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

My movement is to shine a light in the dark for people who need it most. And that’s why I’m so passionate about Milan’s Mission to end sex trafficking. I want to help create a safer world where every individual has the fundamental right to freedom and safety, not just in name, but in actuality.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“This too shall pass”. I love this quote because it teaches resilience and optimism. As an entrepreneur and a human being going through life, it’s important to understand and remember that whatever you’re currently dealing with is not your end state. It doesn’t matter how dark it gets, the sun will always rise tomorrow. It’s important to know that things will get better with time, AND that you have the choice to make them better. It instills a sense of hope and optimism and helps when you have to be resilient during tough times. When I was at war, that’s what I used to say to myself, this is going to come to an end — just keep moving.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

Elon Musk — I would love to talk about how we can utilize Starlink’s technology to track down and rescue sex trafficking victims.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

They can follow my company @MilanCandles and my personal page @LawOfAmbition on Instagram

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Luis Garcia of Milan Candles Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.