Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in candle making but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tina Dixey, Founder of Mystical Dragonfly Candles, located in Barrington, NH, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I create wickless candles for anyone, but I mainly focus on those suffering from depression and mental illness. Wickless candles are candles with no wicks, which means no open flames, no soot, and no smoke. They melt on candle warmers, which can also be used to keep coffee, tea, and cocoa warm in those cold months. Each candle comes in a beautiful vessel with lids decorated with gorgeous crystals and stones, dried herbs/flowers, eco-friendly glitters, and micas. I started my business to be a voice for those battling every day to feel loved, wanted, appreciated, normal, and enough.
The stigma of depression is different from that of other mental illnesses and largely due to the negative nature of the illness that makes depressives seem unattractive and unreliable. Self-stigmatization makes patients shameful and secretive and can prevent proper treatment. Each candle has a positive mantra on the label to speak the words most people suffering from depression need to hear they're not alone, perfect just the way they are enough. With each sale, I donate 10% to S.A.V.E, Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, and other organizations to help those who suffer alone and give them the support they need and are so deserving of to want to continue through this thing called life.
Tell us about yourself
I started my business back in March 2020. I found myself unemployed, single, and damaged by toxic people I had in my life who really beat me down. I was trying to heal and decide what I would do next. Having battled my own depression for many years with no help and having hit bottom due to all the toxic situations I had been stuck in for far too many years, I needed to do something that calmed my awful thoughts and gave me something to be proud of. Therapy never really works for me, even though I keep trying. I needed to create my form of therapy. I started making candles and loved it. It helped put my mind at peace and kept me busy, so my mind wouldn't have a moment to even think about past trauma I had suffered. As I created them and began showing them off, I realized they made people smile. The beautiful scents and designs made people pause for a moment and be happy. I then started putting happy thoughts on the labels, saying the words most suffering people never hear. Some simple words can do so much for someone on the edge of despair. I've had people tell me they read these labels to remind themselves they are not alone and that so many of us battle each and every day. That they are seen. They are heard. They are loved. They are Enough.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
To me, each sale is a big accomplishment. The fact that I created something out of nothing, that my candles make people smile. That I create wickless candles, which is unique in itself. Battling depression myself, knowing I can make someone feel good about themselves, is wonderful. I know I can't take away their pain, but if I can help them see they are someone worth loving and thinking about for a moment, that's something I can be proud of. I hope my candles are one small step to their healing.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Many people don't understand what a wickless candle is or overthink it. The simplest way to explain it is that they are large wax melts in reusable vessels. That's truly what they are, except because they are larger and can hold more fragrance, wickless candles can last so much longer. It's not as confusing as some think.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be prepared - Whether it's being prepared for the cost of starting and continuing your business, the hard work you have to put into your business to be seen, heard, and sold, and your failures will have. Every failure is a lesson, not a bad thing to learn.
- Stay Positive - Every business slows down; it's inevitable, especially in this day and age. You will succeed if you truly believe in what you are creating and doing. It may not be as quickly as you imagined it would be, but you will get there. It's hard work, but it'll be worth it if you love what you do.
- Pat yourself on the back - You did this. You started your own business from nothing. It did not exist before you brought it to reality. You started with a thought and turned it into a business. Be proud of that. Even small sales are a success, be proud of them. Give yourself the recognition you deserve for making your dream a reality.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Never give up. Dreams will only come true if you work hard and make them. No one will hand you anything; the road will not always be easy; it will not be paved in gold. It would take work to make things happen; if it all came easy, everyone would be doing it. You will fail, and that's OK. It is with failure that we learn; that is not a bad thing. It's good to learn new things every day; that's how you keep moving forward. Even if it seems bleak, don't give up if you believe in what you are creating or doing. You're the only one who can make it happen, never give up on yourself.
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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