Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in candle-making but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jacqueline Phillips, Co-Founder of Lonicera Candle Co., located in Shiloh, TN, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Lonicera Candle Co. is a small boutique-style candle design business. We do all our own fragrances and mixes here in-house so we can differentiate ourselves from other businesses. Each is one of a kind and is essential oil infused. We create our own concrete vessels here as well.
Tell us about yourself
As far as my candle business goes, I started it in 2019 in my kitchen, wanting something for myself and to build on as my own. For me being a candle maker, it wasn't exactly about making the candle as much as the science of creating some amazing fragrances that haven't ever been on the markets before. I wanted something different that lasted. Knowing how many of the fragrances to use to create different scent profiles and strengths, as some of our customers don't like "kick in your face" strong fragrances as others do lol.
We just started making our own candle vessels in all shapes and sizes, using a specialty concrete mix and concrete dyes we are using. But my inspiration to start all of this was moving down to Tennessee from Michigan after meeting my husband and smelling honeysuckle for the first time and pondering if I could bottle that scent correctly. Our signature fragrance candle is now Tennessee Spring Honeysuckle.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is having large-scale hotels buying our candles in the first year wholesale and getting recommendations to other companies needing such products. Word of mouth is the best form of marketing, I say! Lol. The other accomplishment would be me running everything from design and fragrance build to labeling and packaging, photo shoots to all marketing aspects, social media managing and content creation, and still being in business as a solo female business owner in today's world. I see that as a huge mark for me.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things for me to deal with a lot is having the time not only to run this business but run the household and kids as well. This business requires about 10-12 hours a day nonstop, and still having the time to clean, cook, and care for my stepchildren and all their needs, husband, and outside duties as well.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- KNOW YOUR MARKET!!! Research, research, and research some more. Look at numbers, demographics, and start-up costs. Do you have the time? Does the industry need you? And what can you provide that others are not to your customers?
- Know your customer. What they need, what they want, and who your customer will be.
- Have a good budget for marketing. If I could have taken one piece of advice to the bank, it would have been to HAVE A MARKETING BUDGET. Even if you don't have large sums of money, starting out $5 a day marketing is better than nothing. I learned this the hard way. Know that it's going to take lots of time, effort, and money.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Don't quit! If you believe in yourself and your brand, you will make it one day. And be authentic as possible. People can spot a fake a mile away.
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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