Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in candle-making but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jennifer Jane, founder of Bittersweet Candle, located in Charlton, NY, USA.

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

I am the creator of Bittersweet Candle Co, a small batch, hand-poured, home-based candle business focused on non-toxic ingredients and celebrating the beauty of nature. My home and candle studio sits on 5 acres of woods in a rural area which provides endless inspiration from nature, especially for the detailed candle labels I individually create for each candle scent. The popular trend recently for candle labels is simple and plain, but I love to create a little work of art on each label to make every candle unique and beautiful. You’ll find birds, flowers, leaves, ferns, herbs, bees, small animals, trees, and other representations of my studio’s surroundings that I love, which I feel add to the enjoyment and relaxation. I create candle scents and labels that represent things that I find relaxing and nourishing for my soul: nature, art, books, music, coffee.

Complementing the nature-inspired appearance of my candles are the non-toxic ingredients I use to create them, starting with all-natural, plant-based, renewable soy wax made from U.S. grown soybeans. Plant-based wax creates a much cleaner burning candle free from toxic gasses. Many popular commercial candle brands use paraffin wax, which is a by-product of gasoline production, and fragrances containing phthalates, which are chemicals that bind to wax to make a very strong smelling candle. These chemicals carry shocking health risks, definitely not something we want to be inviting into our homes, polluting the air we and our families breathe. I am a registered nurse, so this is especially important to me. I also make concrete candles, and the concrete sealer I use is free from toxins and is safe for people and the earth. We only use clean, non-toxic ingredients that are free from any dangerous chemicals.

Many of my customers tell me that my candles are the only ones they’ve found that they can burn without getting headaches. I’m proud of that. My customers are people who value a clean-burning, non-toxic candle that doesn’t risk their health, with a thoughtful, unique, nature-inspired look.

Tell us about yourself

I started my business a few years ago after a difficult period in my personal life. I had gone through a very painful breakup. To occupy my mind, I immersed myself in learning something I knew nothing about, something creative and useful I could make with my hands that brought peace to my spirit. The process helped take my mind off my troubles. It helped me begin a journey of change, simplicity, being kinder to myself and prioritizing my health and peace. Of taking whatever bitter I needed to leave behind me and transforming my life into something sweet. People have used candles for hundreds of years to light their way. Making candles was my way of lighting mine. I wanted to share that light, warmth, and peace with others.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I’d say my biggest accomplishment is to stay true to my heart and vision, even though the trends, like plain labels and humorous or snarky candle names, are much different from the candles I create. I enjoy and appreciate the fun, but for me, I want to focus on health, beauty, nature, art, and serenity.

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

Learning the business side of things has been the most difficult part of being a business owner for me. I’m more of a dreamy, creative type, so keeping track of the taxes, receipts, expenses, inventory…it’s something I have to work on getting better at every day.

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

  1. Learn the business side of things thoroughly in the beginning, so you don’t have to play catch up. Find a mentor, take a course, know your numbers, have a good understanding of the back end of your business.
  2. It’s hard to do it alone. Find your people. Join a Facebook group, find a partner or helper, people to offer support, advice, bounce ideas off of, to lift you up when things get tough.
  3. Do something you LOVE. Something you believe in. Then share it with others to help make their lives better.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Be true to yourself. Express what’s in your heart and what you believe in, and help make the world a better place with it.

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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