Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in candle-making but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Veronica Gutierrez, founder of This Candle is Lit, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
"This Candle is Lit" is on a mission to create positive vibes through our handmade candles and carefully curated products. Whether it's personalized candles to make that celebration extra special or adding a unique decorative "retro avant-garde" touch to a space—our collection will surely bring all the happy feels!
Our candles are all original designs and are made to order. LIT is made for those who want to be bold and shine bright! Our customers love us for our personalized products, unique designs, and eco-friendly materials. We don't shy away from unique requests. We are always open to creating unique candle designs– we've helped celebrate birthdays, events, weddings, special orders for universities, fashion boutiques, jewelry brands, bakeshops, and even creating white label candles for retail shops.
Tell us about yourself
In 2019 I moved back to Canada from the UK. After being there for three years, my entire world opened up, and I fell in love with the idea of having my very own shop– like those cute little boutiques you see in the beautiful city of London.
My move back to Canada was due to my pregnancy; excited to receive our baby boy– like most moms, I also thought a lot about what I would do after Mat Leave. In my specific situation, I had no job to go back to. However, I knew I didn't want to go back to a Marketing role. I simply didn't want to work for someone else– since graduating from Uni, I was 100% sure of one thing, I never wanted to work for someone else. You can say, I don't like to be told what to do– it could be a positive or a negative, but it got me to where I am now!
The idea of my business happened organically. While planning my son's first birthday, I was unable to find the perfect candle for his birthday cake. I looked everywhere until I thought, "Hey, I'm on mat leave; why not learn how to make candles?" I made it a mission to create what I could not find in stores and online. The birthday was beautiful, and the candles were a hit– and soon after, I was creating more, selling, and opening up my very own e-commerce site. My dream of having a little brick-and-mortar is still pending–I've been in business for a little over a year. I have learned there's a long "To-Do list" that has to be accomplished first before taking the plunge.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Creating something unique and special from my hands that other people adore. Creating something out of nothing and others truly appreciating it and wanting to buy it is a magical feeling!
Also, seeing my business grow so much in the past year– I go back and look at initial photos I took of my product, or even my first candle (that I still have in my studio), and it blows my mind how much I was able to do– things I would never have thought possible when I first started.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing I have found about being a business owner is balancing work/life. When you have a business, it becomes your baby, and that's all you think about. People often ask me how long I work in a day, and I always reply with "I'm always working." This has been very difficult when having a toddler and a family to take care of– and of course, taking care of myself. Learning when to stop at 4 or 5 am in the morning because a 2hr sleep is not healthy is something I've learned the hard way. That includes saying "No" to a lot of events, family time, and friends – the first few years, the business comes first.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- If you believe in yourself and work hard, the possibilities are endless, and that initial fear you have about starting out and all the "what ifs" will fade. When your business starts doing great, it becomes a snowball effect.
- Just start; it will never be perfect. I didn't have a business plan until a year after I started– not to say a business plan is not a great way to start, but doing everything by the books or "just right" is not always the way to go.
- Don't cheap out on important things– for example, if you don't know how to create a proper website, one that will attract your target customer, then get the talent. Spend on a great photographer, website designer to showcase your business properly– your site is "the first impression."
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Just take the leap, give it your all; you never know where it will take you. As cheesy as it may sound, you only have one life : )
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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