Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Affton Coffelt, founder of Broken Top Brands, located in Bend, OR, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Broken Top Brands is a lifestyle brand of affordable luxury. Founded in 2015 as a candle company, we have grown past our name, offering an array of home and personal care products, including candles, linen sprays, lotions, soaps, car fresheners, diffusers, and perfumes. Every scent in our collection has been developed to have its own unique expression; notes blended from a personal catalog of family traditions, then evolved and expressed in a modern context—both familiar and unexpected.
Broken Top Candle Company hails from the Pacific Northwest and provides the ultimate gifting experience. Broken Top Brands is a woman-owned and giveback company partnered with 1% for the planet to help ease the impact on the environment through planting trees and volunteering. All of the products in our collection are gluten-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, and vegan, loved by men and women alike.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Affton, founder of Broken Top Brands. If we were to meet in person, I would tell you the following... I am a mother of three; I LOVE tacos, paddle boarding, getting up early to hit the gym, traveling, and spending as much time with my family and friends as humanly possible.
The flame (pun intended!) behind the launch of Broken Top began (circa 2015) in my tiny kitchen in Bend, Oregon, and has ignited (yes, another pun— we have LOTS around here) over the last few years. With the passion behind family values, I brought my Dad, Steve, on as my production guru back in late 2016, and together with our amazing team, we have taken the company beyond that tiny kitchen to our now over 10,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Bend, Oregon.
I believe sustainable, eco-conscious products should be affordable yet luxurious and healthy to fit into my family's lifestyle. Every day I get to support these beliefs through my role as CEO. Company culture, sales, and design are the true passion for me in my day-to-day life behind the brand, working tightly with the marketing department and even taking a hand in some of our design pieces. The real driver of the ship is my tribe, the people who show up every day to support the goals and values I have put behind the brand... KUDOS B|T TEAM!!!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment by far is the knowledge I have grown. Having no formal college or high school education, becoming a business major through the "school of hard knocks" takes the win. Every day is a new opportunity as well as a new challenge, and my favorite thing to do is share the journey with up-and-coming entrepreneurs through non-profit work and public speaking.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Boot-strapping! The constant juggle of cash flow in the earlier years was trying to say the least. Getting to the point (financially) of sustainability was a rocky road and one that never seemed to completely go away. Saying "we did it on our own" is pretty rad, though.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Hire slow and fire fast. This is such a cliche but SO TRUE! This goes hand-in-hand with hiring the right people. I know I am never the smartest person in the room, but I can always hire that person.
- Don't pay too much attention to the noise. There will always be competition in every industry, but don't let it cause analysis by paralysis. When I started my brand, there were a million other candle companies in the market space. It is productive to be aware but not to compare, as every brand, business, and journey is different.
- Hire a good bookkeeper/CPA!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
A little more about our giveback. We're very passionate about the planet here at Broken Top, and living in Bend, Oregon, feeds our love for the outdoors. We're working to spread our passion and see what we can do to reduce our impact on the planet.
This year, we took the leap to join 1% for the planet and committed to giving back 1% of our annual revenue to the environment. Although we're still growing as a business, we feel it's important to give whatever we can back to the planet.
We also joined 1% for the planet because we believe businesses should be accountable to an "earth tax" and 1% for the planet to oversee that process.
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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