My Woman-Owned Small Business: A Backstory
If you had asked me when I was a kid or even a few years ago what I 'wanted to be when I grew up' or what I thought I'd be doing with my time as an adult, I never in a million years would have said "small business owner."
Becoming a Female Founder
I never really felt the call to start a small business and become a female founder until fairly recently. Even when I started Scented Designs, my small candle business in San Jose California, I didn't really feel like that's what I was doing. At the time, I was making candles for family and friends as a hobby, and I thought, "Oh, I can sell these at local craft shows, art & wine festivals...that kind of thing."
But even after attending my first, second, 50th craft show - and having lots of success with sales (turns out, you see, that people really loved my hand poured soy candles and people also really loved supporting a local woman-owned business) - I still didn't feel like a business owner. I actually had a woman owned and operated business, and yet...
An Entrepreneur's Journey is Complicated.
I wasn't working a regular 9-5 job when I founded my California-based candle company. In fact, I'd recently left my job as a high school English teacher. I had started teaching right out of grad school and I wasn't positive it was what I wanted to do for the next 40-50 years of my life.
So, I dabbled.
I took a few interior design classes at the local junior college, I spent a few months working as a marketing writer for a local start-up, I freelanced for a home design website, I tutored...
....and I founded Scented Designs Candle Co. (though at the time it was launched as Kate's Delightful dECOr and featured not just candles but a variety of upcycled home decor items, including our still popular upcycled wine bottle candles).
Female Owned Small Business
That was 5 1/2 years ago, in 2016, and the candle business has come a long way. And, perhaps even more importantly, I've come a long way.
In my belief in myself as a business owner.
In my belief that Scented Designs can be a viable small business, not just a side hustle.
In my belief that I've created a female-founded brand I can be proud of.
In my understanding that my story matters - people aren't just buying my soy candles because they smell amazing (which they do). People care about what makes my candles different than all the other scented soy candles out there, and a big part of that is me. My story.
In the connections I've made along the way with other solopreneurs, with other small business owners, and with all the fabulous people at local companies like PayPal and across the country who want to support my woman-owned small business.
It's hard to express what has changed or why I feel like the Boss Lady that I know I am! Yes, some of the confidence comes from the success of the business and some of my accomplishments recently, which I'll take just a moment to celebrate (because celebrating success is important!)
So, here are 3 things I'm proud of in my small business in the last few years:
Wholesale Candles for Resale
One of my huge successes in 2021 was that I launched the wholesale candles side of Scented Designs.
After aspiring to be among the candles wholesale suppliers on well-known wholesale platforms like Faire (and even newer platforms like Abound) for months, I was accepted in October 2021. (Yes, with COVID still looming its ugly head over lots of things, including the supply chain - yikes!).
In just a few months selling wholesale candles on Faire, I had numerous orders and even more leads.
Retailers started reaching out to me asking about our wholesale candles for resale, and not just the other way around (thought that worked too, sometimes!).
We continue to grow our wholesale candles offerings, and we'd love for you to check them out if you're a retailer. One of our goals for continued growth for Scented Designs is to continue partnering up with retailers across the country!
Candles for Corporate Gifting
We've teamed up with some awesome companies to create corporate candle gifts for their employees.
Some of our first candles for corporate gifts were for PayPal in December 2020. We were so excited to be able to provide such a big-name company with over 3,000 candles for employees holiday gifts that year!
It was truly an opportunity that opened our eyes to a whole other way we can reach people and bring them some well-deserved rest and relaxation through our scented soy candles.
Since then, we've made thousands of candles for Xmas gifts for local and nationwide companies, and we hope to forge many more corporate relationships in the months and years to come!
Small Business Collaborations
We're also loving working with some of our favorite local small businesses!
Not only do small biz collabs give us the opportunity to get creative, but we also get to meet amazing new people, learning alongside them...setting goals, discussing challenges, and becoming friends.
Being a small business owner - especially one who works from home - can get lonely, so developing collaborations and relationships with other small business owners is so important!
Check out our mug candles in collaboration with Shane Tarkington Art!
Are you a small business owner looking to collaborate with our candle company? Other makers, retailers, gift box companies...we'd love to hear from you!
So, don't forget to
in March 2022 for International Women's Month, and every day!
Let us know in the comments...who are your favorite female founded brands?