Tell us a bit about your business?
The Scentsational Candle Company first started operating in January of 2011. At the time I was a full time primary school teacher, so I had to make my candles at night after work and sell them at markets on weekends. Over the last 2 years we have quickly evolved from being solely a market seller to having an online presence and an expanding direct-selling (party plan) business.
Why did you start up your business?
I first had the idea of making candles 7 years ago….it just took me 5 years to actually do it!! It started because I had been teaching for 14 years and I just ‘knew’ that I wanted something more out of life. I wanted to be my own boss, I wanted to do something that I felt I really was good at!
What are the major hurdles you experienced when starting up your business?
I chose a terrible time to start up – we were in the process of building a house, plus renting a ridiculously over priced property, so every spare cent was spoken for. Luckily I squirelled away a couple of hundred dollars over a few weeks and used that to start up – it really was that quick. To this day, 2 years later, I haven’t put in more than 00 of our own money, the business has been self funding almost instantly.
What tips can you give other SavvySME members that are thinking or in the process of starting up their business?
I’m EXTREMELY impatient, I want everything NOW. What I have learnt is that just isn’t going to happen if you want it done right from the beginning. So my advice is be patient – do it properly, don’t take unnecessary risks, treat customers like you want to be treated, and most importantly – LOVE what you do!
What made you decide to take the jump and focus on your business?
I have only recently completely taken the jump from teaching to work full time in my business. To start with I went part time, now I’ve taken leave without pay for the remainder of 2013 – after which I’ll reassess how the business is travelling. So far the signs are extremely positive – with more time on my hands to actually ‘work’ the business I have doubled my sales from the same period last year!
How did you family and friends react?
My friends and family have always been very positive about my candles – they love them. In regards to leaving my ‘safe’ job as a teacher I kept it to myself for quite a while, I only told my closest family and friends. I haven’t even posted it on Facebook yet….isn’t that what we are all supposed to do when we have a life changing event!?! J
How has your life changed?
My life has changed in so many ways – I’m much happier for starters! Being my own boss is what I’ve wanted all my life, to finally have it happen is extremely rewarding!
What success have you experienced since starting your business?
I feel like every sale, every market, every online order, every candle party is a success. It is AMAZING feeling to know that people out there all over Australia go out of their way to seek out my candles that I’ve designed – it is a very surreal feeling!
What is the vision for your business going forward?
I aim high – in 2 short years my business has made its presence known in Sydney. In another 2 I’d like to look back and say that we are Australia wide and one of the leading players in the candle market place. I know it will happen – our candles are simply too good not to be out there in peoples homes!
What tips can you give other SavvySME about motivating yourself to push through the challenges that rise up while building your startup?
One big tip I would give is seek advice from a qualified accountant right from the get go – I didn’t and still regret it because I have ZERO knowledge (or interest!) about the ‘business’ side of business. Put me in my studio pouring candles and I’m happy J