Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in candle-making but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Celina Leon, Founder of LionHeart Handcrafted, located in San Diego, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
LionHeart Handcrafted is a product-based business that puts an emphasis on the importance of self-care and eco-consciousness. We specialize in 100% soy wax candles made with hemp wicks. We also make beeswax taper candles, reed diffusers, car diffusers, and room sprays, and we will soon be offering bath soaks, bath bombs, and more! All of our products are made with non-toxic ingredients and safe fragrance oils free of phthalates or any harmful chemicals. Best of all, one tree is planted in the Amazon Rainforest with every purchase through our partnership with @OneTreePlanted.
Our customers are individuals who know the importance of taking time for themselves to practice self-care. They care about what they use on their body and in their homes, and they care equally about our planet and make it a point to use Eco-friendly items and buy from sustainable brands, preferably small businesses.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Celina. I originally wanted to take up candle-making in 2015 when I was pregnant and wanted to make candles for my baby shower favors, but it ended up being too much for me at the time. Being less than a month away from my due date, so the wax just sat in my garage. Fast forward to 2020 and our first lockdown caused by COVID-19, I needed to find something to focus on to get my mind off of the pandemic while we were stuck in our houses. I found the wax in my garage, grabbed some of the essential oils I had in my house, and decided to make a few candles out of it. When I was out of that wax and realized those candles were a failed project (Pinterest proved NOT to be the best source for candle-making instructions), I decided to do some research. While looking for supplies and instructions for my new endeavor, I realized how common harsh chemicals are in our everyday products and how easily overlooked they are by consumers. From there on out, I was on a mission to create products with intention, no harsh chemicals, and educate our customers about the toxins that are often found in candles and other home and body products while also being sustainable.
I currently work three jobs. I am a full-time independent contractor working from home, I am a notary public/loan signing agent, and I am a small business owner. On top of these three jobs, I am a mother to the most amazing little boy. HE keeps me going. My desire and goal to grow my creative business big enough to be my only job keep me going. I'd love to have more free time and a more flexible work schedule so I can spend more time with my son (and future children). Of course, support from the people I've met on this journey and my customers is also a huge motivator for me.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is making products people love, recommend, and come back for a while, staying true to what I believe in and envision for my business without giving in to the pressure of what is in high demand by most consumers. I am also extremely proud of my partnership with One Tree Planted, where we plant one tree in the Amazon Rainforests with each product sold to help fight climate change and deforestation.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest part about being a business owner is knowing all final decisions fall on you. When I feel stuck on what to do, I know I can get advice from others, but ultimately the decision is mine to make. This also happens to be very rewarding when I see how my hard work and choices have paid off.
Balancing time for work, myself, and my family has been extremely hard. I need to remember that I need to take care of myself so I can show up for my business and, most importantly, my son. This is hard when all I want to do is work on my dream and get things done as soon as possible as someone who doesn't really use social media for myself, creating content and posting online to build an engaged audience has also been very challenging for me.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do it! It's going to be hard, and it will get overwhelming but DON'T GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAM!
- Research your ideal customer, so you know what they're looking for, and you learn how to market to them. It took me two years to realize how important this part is, along with branding, and once I started putting in the time for this, so many other things fell into place for me. I wish I had done this sooner!
- Pace yourself, create a plan, and do not be afraid to ask for help. Make friends in your industry. Follow them on social media, join Facebook groups, and introduce yourself at markets. Other makers in your specific niche are NOT your competitors; they are your friends and can teach you great things.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
When you support a small business, you're supporting a BIG dream! We're currently redesigning our candles and plan to relaunch this fall 2022. Follow us on social media to stay updated! @lionhearthandcrafted
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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