Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in candle-making but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jen Trammell, Founder of Rooted In Collective, located in Yakima, WA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Rooted In Collective is the name of my business. I'm a candle maker and sell candles in wholesale and retail markets. For wholesale, I sell my candles to about 15 businesses in my local community (Yakima, WA). I sell my products via my website and attend local markets and events on the retail side of things.
Tell us about yourself
I started making candles out of pure curiosity. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial itch but ignored it because my background was in education, not business, and I figured I wasn't qualified. I’ve always loved working with my hands: baking, cooking, playing the cello/piano, legos as a little girl, fixing things, it’s very relaxing for me. So out of curiosity, I tried making a candle (from a kit at the craft store). It was actually really awful. But instead of dismissing candle making, I started researching and learning more about the process, the ingredients used, different types of candles/wicks, etc.
As I was experimenting and getting even more curious, I started researching how viable candle-making could be as a business. I learned that candle sales have consistently increased over the last decade, and the 20+ year forecast continues to show the same trend. So I thought, why not? I’ll try selling them as Valentine’s gifts and see what the response is. From there, it quickly transitioned from hobby to business, literally overnight. I'm motivated every day knowing I have a high-quality product, of which I'm very proud. I'm happy with what I'm making, and my customers are happy that I've made it. It's a very motivating flow and definitely fuels me.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
This might sound strange, but my biggest accomplishment so far is pushing through my initial fears and serious lack of confidence. If I hadn't done that, my business wouldn't exist. As far as personal growth goes, starting a business from scratch with no experience has been off the charts. I remember giving myself pep talks throughout the day while stepping out into the community to share my product. I had zero experience and a massive amount of doubt and insecurity. But something in me, a knowing, pushed me along the way to get over every mental stall and just keep going. Remembering that helps me all the time as I face new challenges and what-ifs. If I did it then, I could do it again (and again and again).
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I’ve had a lot of good struggles. One was establishing a price point for my products. For me, there was a lot of crossover between my self-confidence and business confidence, like pricing my products, receiving money, saying no/yes, digging deep, and listening to my intuition over the opinions of others, etc. I’ve personally grown A TON during these last three years, and I am definitely more confident (in a good way).
Another challenge, as the business grows, is time management. Being my own boss is awesome in so many ways, but it also takes a lot of discipline. My brain is constantly coming up with new ideas and possibilities, which sometimes feels overwhelming. I've learned that "just because I think it up doesn't mean I need to make it happen." My latest solution is writing down all my ideas in a notebook so that it puts my mind to rest. And then, if I feel like revisiting my Big Idea Book, it's all there.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- If you have an idea that persistently comes up, that's your thing. Go for it.
- Plan, but don't overthink. If you feel overwhelmed, take baby steps until you feel ready to take bigger steps. And sometimes, it's good to take those bigger steps without feeling ready. :)
- Ask for honest feedback from friends/family and strangers and listen with an open mind.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I'm thankful for this opportunity, and it's so great to reflect in this way! :)
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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