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My experience starting a candle business

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

This is a short story about what it took me personally to create Lares Candle Co. and the struggles of being new into the business world.

To start, I do have to say that even though I had years of experience behind me creating luxury candles and working with high end brands like Cire Trudon, Fornasetti and Miller Harris, when I started working on my own it was a totally different story. Working for other brands was easy because the infrastructure was already built. I just came in and did my magic. Starting a new brand from scratch was something I never did before. With my vast knowledge of candle making, branding and tons of contacts from my previous jobs when it came to the business side and planning that was something I didn’t know much of.

After months of working on creating new unique scents, conducting hundreds of hours of burn tests and designing a brand image from scratch, I moved on to execute the launch. Not knowing much about pacing myself I started buying too much in one go. When 200kg of wax order arrived at the door of my bachelor apartment the shock was real. Finding a place to store that in a 400 sq. ft space where I also had some furniture, you know for sleeping and lounging, was the real challenge. Eventually I did find a space for the wax but then the glass arrived and that pushed me over the edge. 600 glasses on a pallet was insane. I had no where to store it, that was it. Until I found a storage space for it, every morning I would wake up and jump over boxes to get to the bathroom. That lasted for 4 months.

Starting a new business, it is an absolute challenge and I am sure everyone out there who had the courage to start something on their own can confirm. I have made many mistakes at the beginning, spending large amounts of money on things that didn’t pan out. Got very excited about shows and markets that were not the right fit. I failed to ask around different people who have done it and went on to think that it will work one way or another. Spend a lot of money on buying more supplies than I needed. It was all a chaos as I wanted to take advantage of the Christmas season as much as possible. Now that I look back a year ago, I could have done it with a quarter of the money I spent and definitely less anxiety.

The resilience and patience I acquired since launching Lares Candle Co. was the most incredible thing that happened, and I am most grateful for. Being on my own had also taken a toll on me. I had tons of moments when I didn’t think I can make it. Carrying 50lb heavy boxes on my own to having an apartment filled with boxes and packaging and glass and samples everywhere, was hard to see through. But I want to be honest that I would have not done it any other way. My passion for candle making and creating unique new scents was greater than the hardship of starting a new side hustle on my own. I didn’t know how to balance finances and budget, nor to keep a cash flow or worse to file taxes on both business and personal side but I did a lot of research and learned more than I expected.

If any of you ever think to take a similar road with any side hustle or full time business the best thing to do is to know that there will be many moments when you feel you’ve made the wrong decision but as long as you know to expect those moments and still want to do it, that is the moment you know for sure you are making the right decision.

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