Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in candle-making but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Catrina Letourneau, Founder of Pillars of Throw, located in Minneapolis, MN, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I own a small online gift shop, with my main focus being on candles and cold process soap. As of now, my customers look like impulse shoppers, loyal shoppers, need-based shoppers, and close relationship shoppers with a focus on growing each category.
Tell us about yourself
I started Pillars of Throw in March of 2019 when I ran out of candles after cleaning our home in Minneapolis. My spouse and I were talking, and I mentioned that I should make the candles myself, and Joel challenged me to do so. This was a good thing for me. I went to my local library and checked out a book about candle making. In that same book, there were recipes for cold process soap making. I started creating with those recipes in the book and then got the courage and knowledge to create my own recipes. It gave me a healthy outlet after working at home part-time in the health care field behind the scenes to be able to sell what I create. It's like a reward system. I love it.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I was able to get some of my products into one of my favorite stores in Minneapolis: The Enchanted Rock Garden. I also was a feature on Fox 9 news live with the Minneapolis Craft Market for options on Mother's Day Gift Ideas. I have tracked my growth and my failure with Pillars of Throw, and after three years of being in business, I feel and see that I'm on the right side of the tracks now with some necessary adjustments.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Trying to hold all the cards. You need to ask for help, delegate some of your tasks, and try not to be all things involved with running a growing business. If you can find help with a task one person can always do, like clean vessels or affix labels onto them, but also trust your team to do so, each day will open more opportunities for your attention elsewhere to better your company.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Start small and purchase cheap. When you first start out, you may not want to stick to running a business long-term. Also, if you stick with running your business and you start to grow, you can then purchase the exact item and size needed for you to grow. This way, you will not have 2 or 3 of the same item in different sizes. You would, of course, then sell to family and friends to get honest feedback.
- Join your local farmers' market, craft fair market, or some local vendor to sell your items. The practice is great; you can get a wide variety of feedback on your products and have some revenue to replenish your practicing skill to become a successful business owner.
- Try to have someone in your corner that wants the same growth as you do for your company. This person will champion you and be there when needed. You can ask for help in the most unlikely of places. I have had co-workers help me out, and they loved it.
- Give yourself time away from being involved with your business and a pat on the back when you deserve it.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Take your growth one day at a time and enjoy watching it. Talk with other business owners about what helps them grow. Don't watch the growth of another business and compare it to yours and then get upset. Instead, learn from them, focus, ask questions, and take in new ideas; make them your own.
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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