Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in candle-making but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Emma Liles, Owner of Little Wing Candle Co., located in Tatum, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My name is Emma Liles, and I own a niche candle business in East Texas! My candles are made with a coconut blend wax and wooden wicks—the best part is: I offer refillable vessels! All of my tins are reusable and refillable, and I also source containers and vessels from thrift and antique stores all over the region. The vessels I sell to my customers can be refilled and enjoyed over and over, making them a staple and an heirloom in your home.
All of our fragrances are unique to the brand and hand-blended, I often take fan favorites and put my own spin on them or create completely custom scents that can’t be found anywhere else. My customers and I enjoy naming the fragrance blends after pop culture, movies, novels, and music—we also have Book of the Month scents, and sometimes we even release limited-edition candle lines based on your favorite books; movies, and shows!
I also offer two different types of wax melts, two different types of sprays, perfume oil, and car fresheners. Little Wing Candle Co. has a reputation for really soft, buttery wax that throws a very strong scent.
Tell us about yourself
Before COVID, I taught 9th grade English at a public school. When I became pregnant with my son, I also started my mental health recovery and began attending therapy with a counselor. My counselor helped me realize that teaching wasn’t my true calling.
I decided to resign and go back to school to become a mental health counselor myself. My husband is a teacher and coach, so I started this business as a “side hustle” to help supplement our income and make ends meet while I was staying home with our son and taking grad school classes. Now my son is two years old, and my family is what drives me to keep going. I have also made so many friends and connections through this business that I would never have; otherwise, my customers have become my family.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Definitely the relational aspect. I have made so many valuable friendships and connections with some truly incredible people who have enriched my life far beyond what I do business-wise. Without being sappy, I also want to say that I owe all the growth and quality of my business to God. All of my best ideas were His.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
To use the words of Brené Brown, I am a recovering perfectionist and an aspiring good-enough. When you own a small business, it’s hard to find a balance between caring what people think and then trying not to care what people think. I tend to be my own worst critic, and I also tend to take things personally or worry about how people perceive my brand or me. It’s a paradox; I have to remember that I can’t control other people’s perceptions of me… it’s not my job. On the other hand, though, when you have a small business, you need to know what they think about you, and you SHOULD care, or you’ll work yourself out of a job. It’s a tightrope.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have healthy boundaries. You can only do so much in one day. The rest will be there tomorrow.
- Be kind. Love well. Be open to making real relationships and finding real allies who will enrich your business and your life.
- Just get started. Stop waiting around and putting it off. Do it. Get started now and stick with it.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I am always open to requests and ideas! I may not be able to do them all, but I love hearing from my customers and making things happen for them.
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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