You've hopefully arrived here because you need a little inspiration. Perhaps you're at that early testing stage in your venture, maybe you're in the very infancy of your business venture and you're struggling. We've been there, and we hope we can help spur you on.
Today marks exactly three years to the day from when we began our business venture. We wouldn't make our first sale for around six months, but a little digging back in time told us that this was the date three years ago when our wax melt and candle venture began.
We were in a supermarket - the blue and red one - and in spite of shelves and shelves of candles, wax melts and associated products, we couldn't find much beyond what you come to expect in mass produced home fragrance. Lavender, Vanilla, Strawberry, something floral. Back then, it was a disappointment, today it's the same story. Some products in the supermarkets have fancy names - the quality just wasn't great.
Could we do it?
We began researching suppliers of fragrances, waxes, candle jars, wicks - all the basics. We read through no end of forums, watched YouTube videos, developed a basic knowledge of CLP, read back through forums, read stories from others already in the field and eventually made our first purchase of raw materials.
Back then, the level of testing we were doing at times felt ridiculous - but does eventually pay off. We both worked full time, so we'd return home, make candles with numerous different wicks, waxes and fragrance loads, then test others from the previous week. That is if we could find them.
It would be June 2019 when we decided we would definitely launch a product, set up a website, all the socials and make our first sale. We've followed the stories of some candle businesses who've taken two years or more to launch. We applaud that.
The time to launch is when you believe you know what you are doing and have a belief in your products. Though launching too soon could mean you start out incorrectly labelling your products, or haven't achieved relative perfection. We'd definitely consider making sure you have a grasp of your product, customer and everything in between - even down to how quickly your suppliers operate.
Today, we both work full time for our business and employ five members of staff. We have moved out of the kitchen, then moved again. We wholesale and white label our products to some well known and lesser known brands, and have an extensive customer base.
Getting to this point takes a lot - and in the last paragraph we skipped two and a half years. Until January 2021, we plodded along - working full time, then focusing on our business in the evenings and on days off. Undoubtedly, things were easier without pressure of having to make a living from our venture or without masses of customer orders to deal with. Slow and steady wasn't going to win the race, but it gave us 18 months of progression, which enabled tweaks to our products, built our confidence in our products and helped us learn the legal side, such as CLP (Classification, Labelling & Packaging).
In January of 2021, we decided we'd kick on. We focused heavily on building a social following, took better presented photographs and lowered our prices. We were aided in the fact that for the second time in six months, we were both placed on furlough. For three months (January, February, March), we each worked around eighty hours a week, constantly making, constantly packaging and constantly updating.
By March, we'd decided upon our first premises and just rolled with it. We'd also agreed to push on with a national magazine advertising campaign. By June 2021, we'd both left our jobs and were working roughly 60 hours a week on our business. A month later, we'd moved to our second premises where we run our business from today.
July also saw us take on our first member of staff full-time, followed by two more a month later. One of the most daunting decisions you take is the staffing one. What if you can't afford to pay them? What if they aren't suited? In truth, we could have done with staff three months earlier, but was our business consistent enough? We had to see the ins and outs repeated for a long enough period - and we had to find the right people.
Today, we have five members of staff - it often feels like a little family. We try not to apply pressure to what they're doing, as we believe in happy people. It sometimes feels rewarding, enabling people work opportunities yet supporting them where you can. And we wouldn't be without our team today.
In spite of being further along in our journey than we ever imagined, we still believe we have some way to go to ensure long term stability of what we still refer to as our project. It is our belief that you cannot continue growing forever, because you'll get to a point whereby your operation implodes.
We're happy where we're at, and we've long been firm believers in the idea that there's room in this market or any market for newer, fresher brands - we actually enjoy following the progress of some of them.