Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in candle-making but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kalene Faricellie, owner of Central Park Candle Company, located in New York, NY, USA.

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

Central Park Candle Company is a local, woman-owned candle business based in NYC. Each candle is made in small batches and hand-poured by myself. It was founded to provide a luxury alternative to paraffin candles using all-natural ingredients inspired by the scents and essence of Central Park.

Our 100% soy candles are made from soybeans, not only making them a safe and natural alternative to toxic petroleum-based paraffin but also renewable, vegan, and biodegradable. We also work with local artists to create beautiful illustrations on our ethically curated gift boxes and hand-drawn cards. Our customers are people who are not only environmentally conscious but also enjoy the sleek, colorful decor and incredible seasonal scents. Our candles also make the perfect gifts, as they come already gift wrapped and tied with our signature branded ribbon.

Tell us about yourself

I worked in corporate events for about eight years and was laid off in 2020 due to Covid-19. During the pandemic, I would take my mini-husky Jack to Central Park every day, and that was my oasis. My apartment has always been filled with candles but passing the cherry blossom trees, blue spruces, and all the flower gardens in Central Park inspired me to take my career into my own hands and create something I love. I also believe it's important to be aware of the carbon footprint we leave behind, which is why everything I make is geared towards sustainability. People enjoying my candles and taking care of this world is what motivates me every day.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Getting my first custom order for a wedding. Call me a romantic but having worked in events for so long, weddings are by far my favorite. It truly is an honor to have something you made by hand and be a part of a couple's important day. I was also proposed to in Central Park, so it holds a special place in my heart. Getting an order for custom tea lights not only was a fun and creative endeavor - but it also led to other larger custom wedding orders.

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

Keeping up with the competition. Post Covid, the candle market has become very saturated. I began selling the 14oz candles at the Grand Bazaar NYC and soon realized there was a need to provide customers with smaller size candles. While it took months of testing, customers can now enjoy the unique scents of Maple Chai Latte and Applewood Honey at a lower price point which has brought in new customers. We need to be forward-thinking and listen to feedback to succeed.

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

  1. Just start. The biggest obstacle for most seems to be that they want everything to be perfect when they launch. Trust me, I'm a perfectionist, and I struggled with it myself. But it's near impossible to have a perfect product in the beginning. You'll grow and learn as you go. I know I did.
  2. Spend time on research and development in the space. This will help you not only create a high-quality product but will also help you understand the market and guide your selection of products, eventually creating sales.
  3. Collaborate and innovate. I am a terrible artist, but thankfully, I reached out to friends and family when I started making candles to help illustrate the design, logo, and packaging.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Due to the recent tragedy on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo’s East Side, I created a "Buffalove" candle, with 100% of the profits donated to help the families of the victims and those in the community. I grew up in the Buffalo area and wanted to express defiance of the violence and ideology expressed on that horrific day. The world needs more love and less hate.

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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