Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in candle-making but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Amanda Fontenot, Owner of Leaving Lodebar Candle Co, located in Gueydan, LA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My name is Mandy, and I created Leaving Lodebar Candle Company to offer Eco-friendly candles that inspire others to never give up on their dreams and to keep me reaching for mine. My candles are made from cruelty-free, toxin-free, phthalate-free, carcinogen-free, biodegradable waxes and fragrances and come in recyclable containers, such as stoneware, vintage cups, bowls, and glass containers.
My customers love amazing scents that help them reconnect to a memory of the past, such as baking with mom or taking a walk on an early spring morning while displaying an interesting conversation starter.
Tell us about yourself
I started Leaving Lodebar Candle Co after almost dying from COVID-19. I spent 60 days in a coma and then 4 months in a hospital learning how to live again. It's a miracle I'm alive today and wanted to make the most of what I was given: a second chance at life! I lost most of my muscle mass, I'm unable to walk without assistance, I have limited use of my right side, I've been diagnosed with Long COVID, and most of my hair fell out. I am no longer able to work, and as a way to combat depression, regain my strength and mobility, and support myself and three kids, I started this journey. I've always been an inventor of sorts, creating things I needed or wanted but couldn't find in stores. Now, spending so much time indoors, I wanted something that created a cozy, enjoyable environment that I knew was made from high-quality, pure ingredients.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Starting this business has actually been my greatest accomplishment, both physically and mentally. While in a coma, one of the medical problems I faced was an intracranial brain hemorrhage, which caused stroke-like symptoms. Because of this, I have limited mobility on my right side, in addition to the other physical disabilities caused by COVID. The physical requirements of making each candle by hand is a huge accomplishment for me because I'm unable to stand for more than a few minutes and have little strength and endurance.
Starting this business has also helped me overcome severe depression and a fear that I'll never walk or be active again. It's given me an outlet for my creativeness and brings me so much happiness. I've loved learning how to build and run a business, as well as creating wonderful products that help me share my happiness and bring that happiness into someone else's home.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
This is the first business I've started and taken beyond idea, concept, and creation. One of the hardest things has been the business side itself. Knowing what to do, when to do it, and in what order. I struggle with depression and ADD, so staying focused, positive and creative to keep finding new ways to reach customers is challenging at times. I've been incredibly fortunate to have someone who guides, advises, and kicks me in the but when I need it. I'm blessed and very grateful to have him in my life.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Never give up, even when it feels like you can't keep going, mentally and physically.
- Always keep learning. Read and learn as much as you can about your industry and your customer's wants/needs. There's always something new to learn.
- NEVER let fear stop you. Ask questions, try new things, and keep searching for new ways to grow your business. Never be afraid to fail because even if you're unsuccessful, you've learned something from it, and that is not failure.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
"I'm thankful for my struggle because, from it, I have found my strength." Take advantage of each new day and the new opportunities that come with it. To read about my experience with COVID and my $2 Million medical bill, as well as my continuing recovery, check out my weekly blog on my website! Thank you for your words of encouragement and support!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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