Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in candle-making but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Yui Kobayashi, Founder of Yui Brooklyn, located in Brooklyn, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I make candles from natural Soy wax in Brooklyn, NY. My colorful and abstract pillar candles are a mix of my hometown's Japanese Kawaii culture and the Brooklyn art culture where I live now. I have a diverse clientele ranging from large corporations such as Urban Outfitters to small local grocers. I also accept custom orders from individual customers.
Tell us about yourself
I am Yui, and I am the founder of YUI BROOKLYN. I was born in Japan and grew up in Japan until I was 29 years old. Then, I moved to NYC for my husband's work. As a non-English speaker, I could not find a place to work or friends in this city. But while living in Bushwick, Brooklyn, I had the opportunity to come into contact with many artists and their work. I felt like I could have a dialogue with their works though they and I can't communicate well. I started making candles at that time because I wanted to express my favorite colors and shapes.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The deal with Urban Outfitters has been finalized. While I was still making candles in the kitchen, my husband pretended to be a reporter with a microphone and asked me. What are your goals?" I said, "Sell at UO!". This was really a joke. Then a year later, I got a call from UO. They helped me when I moved to the US and didn't know where to buy clothes, furniture, and any stuff. My house was full of UO stuff, so I thought the American dream existed.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
My challenge is how to communicate my vision to everyone on my team. My company encourages people to work whatever hours they want to fit their respective lifestyles. However, we see each other infrequently, sometimes leading to communication errors.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I value three things: having fun, taking it easy, and making money there. I also believe the order of the three is important. I think it is important to make money, but most importantly - to have fun. I believe that if you are passionate about what you enjoy doing, the money will follow.
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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