Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in candle-making but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Bia Antunes, founder, and owner of bia candle co., located in Sarasota, FL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Manufacturing, online sale, and wholesale of premium quality scented candles. We make the best possible candle with the highest quality ingredients that are both luxury and clean/non-toxic. Our clients want affordable luxury. They buy our candles because they smell amazing and last a long time, and they don't have to worry about toxicity in their home. All our scents are IFRA certified.

We perfume homes as we do our bodies with sophisticated and safe aromas and ingredients. We extensively test our candles, so they don't get too hot, don't smoke or soot, and have no risk of fire (exploding or cracking). Our candles are all handmade from start to finish.

Our fragrances are infused with essential oils and free of parabens and phthalates. Our soy wax blend is kosher, vegan, and cruelty-free. Our wicks are natural and do not contain metal. Extensive research and testing are done for every new scent. Positive energy and calming music are present while we hand-pour in small batches to deliver fresh candles.
We scent our candles with a high percentage of oil to really travel in your home without becoming overwhelming or cloying.

Our business also focuses on sustainability, and we are registered GREEN BUSINESS by Sarasota County. We don't offer boxes because they usually go straight to landfills. We strive to REDUCE, RECYCLE and REUSE.

Tell us about yourself

I was living in Brazil and could not find quality scented candles. Like most Americans, I decorated and scented my home with candles. On my trips to the US, I fill a suitcase with scented candles for my home and gifting. I noticed my Brazilian friends loved the scented candles and didn't light them to preserve them as treasures! I realized there was a hidden demand for scented candles in Brazil and soon started experimenting with candles in my kitchen. After a year of researching, testing, and asking the pros for advice, I was able to make a beautifully scented, clean & slow-burning candle and started selling to small boutiques and friends & family.

In 2018, I moved back to my hometown of Sarasota, Florida, and started analyzing the very competitive US candle market. With so many indie brands to compete with and large companies with competitive prices, it was daunting. I was scared I would not compete! After a closer look, I realized companies shorted on fragrance quantity to keep costs down. Some only scented the top layer of wax instead of the whole candle. Some candles burned very fast; others had a very high, dangerous flame. Some had soot and smoke or a lot of wax left over. Some used toxic or low-quality wax. In conclusion, many companies are selling poor-quality candles while others are selling great candles with a very high price tag.

I set out to produce a superb candle with the best available ingredients at a reasonable price. Affordable Luxury. Marketing and packaging are very costly and don't aggregate value to the candle itself. The cost of a box can range from 1 to 4x the price of the candle, and most will only end up in a landfill or in our oceans. Our packaging is a minimalist, beautiful amber glass jar that should be recycled or reused. The gold metal lid keeps dust out and protects the scent. The narrow label is positioned so the flame can glow visibly. The customer pays for quality ingredients and craftsmanship.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

So far, my biggest accomplishment is staying sane. As a start-up and new business owner, there are new challenges every single day. It can get very overwhelming, exhausting, and quite scary. You fear failing, losing your savings, rejection, or not pleasing your customers. It's not easy. You really have to have faith in God and the Universe and do what you can every single day. You also have to be patient and understand yourself and celebrate the small victories. Celebrate all the small steps towards your goal. Which, by the way, you should set a goal! Keeping the focus on the big picture is also key. There are so many small things to get done that it's hard to keep the focus on growth and where you want to go. It's very challenging, and the greatest accomplishment so far was having a profit in my second year. Hopefully, this year, that profit will double. Baby steps!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

You are the center of it all. You have to motivate your employees. You have to inspire your marketing team. You have to please your customers with service and quality products. You have to keep your numbers organized for your accountant and your livelihood! The hardest thing is having 100 jobs and having to do them well so your business grows, and you lead your employees. And everyone has to be happy; otherwise, what's the point?

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Make sure you enjoy your business.
  2. Hopefully, what you choose to do will make a positive difference to someone.
  3. It's a learning process. You will make mistakes, so when you do, make sure you evaluate them and learn from them and do better next time. Do not stop beating yourself up!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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