How I Started a
Candles and Wax Melts Business
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
I’m Charlotte, a mother to a 4-year-old girl and founder of Oh So Scenty – handmade soy wax melts. When it came to returning to work in my 9-5 job it filled me with dread. I knew I wanted to spend as much time with my daughter as possible before she started school so I took the plunge and started my own company, Oh So Scenty.
Balancing business with mum life isn’t easy but I love it!
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
When I finished school I didn’t particularly know what I wanted to do. I went to college on a hairdressing course and quickly realised it wasn’t for me. I got a job at a local Costa Coffee, which I enjoyed – I love the smell of coffee and loved making cappuccinos and lattes! Following that, I moved on to a laundry factory where I remained for the next eleven years!
During this time I’d decided I wanted to make candles. Candles aren’t easy. It’s not as a simple as taking a wick, melting some wax and pouring in a jar. It has to be a jar approved for candles for starters, then wax specifically for jars, to begin with and there are many types, and then the wicks, oh god the wicks! There’s so many to choose from and come in a variety of sizes. Some suitable for vegetable wax and others better in paraffin!
At the time I was living with my partner in a shared house which meant minimal space to even consider making candles, but I tried and produced a half-decent candle. I also made my first batch of basic bath bombs! When I was pregnant with our daughter we moved to our current home and mum life took over for the next two and a bit years! I decided that was it, time to knuckle down.
I gathered up lots of old belongings, bought second-hand furniture, gave them a refresh with some paint and sold them on for profit! Soon I had a nice wedge of money to blow on supplies! At this point, I decided to make and sell some rather good wax melts.
Wax melts weren’t a thing when I was growing up, it was mainly scented oils that you add into water and candles. The attraction to wax melts, because there’s no wick burning off fragrance, means it gives off an almost instant scent throw! Just one cube of Oh So Scenty wax melts can fragrance the whole room (and upstairs according to customers). Fragrance is a wonderful thing and everyone likes a nice smelling house!
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
So with the wax melts, I had no issues, making wax was my favourite thing to do of an evening, packaging up orders and darting to the post office was my idea of fun!
My main customer base is on Instagram. As I used Instagram anyway, I created a business page in 2018 and spent the next 7 months practising my craft to the point I was happy to sell. In this time wax melts had blown up; everyone was making them! But I decided to carry on with my plan.
My candles were taking forever to perfect as each fragrance has to be tested. What works for one fragrance doesn’t necessarily work for another. I will never sell a candle that doesn’t have a hot throw or burns incorrectly and too quickly. We can’t rush perfection. Candles are coming soon though as well as lots of new and exciting bath bombs! 😉
Who is your target market?
My market is a mixture of a lot of types of people. But I’ve noticed a lot of women particularly enjoy my wax melts. In my opinion, there’s nothing better than having a nice relaxing bath using a new bath goodie before sitting down with a nice brew and popping a new scent in the wax burner and I think my customers would agree.
Building a rapport with customers is crucial and in doing so I have made so many friends since starting my business including with other wax vendors. There is enough room for all of us!
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
When I reopen I’ll be using the ads on Facebook and Instagram to get my new products out there.
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
When I launched I was using plastic clamshells. I then watched War On Plastic and realised that I couldn’t continue using them due to the environmental damage plastic causes, so I went plastic-free.
This attracted my customers because all my products are plastic-free and I don’t ship any plastic. I use all biodegradable, compostable and recyclable products right down to the tape. I don’t send order slips so I don’t waste paper either.
If I know the person who’s ordered (name/email) I will send them a quick dm to ask what they think and if they’re happy. My inbox is always open!
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
I work from home, on my own, and I’m responsible for all creative and administrative things. I love it! I’m always hitting ideas down in my notebooks and have so many things I want to start making.
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
To keep costs down I use a good old fashioned pen and paper and Word/Excel. My accountant is also a family friend who I trust with my personal business information.
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
When I first started I didn’t know what CLP regulation was until my younger brother asked me if I was compliant haha! I was flabbergasted as I had never heard of it! That will teach me for not researching everything!
I thought it was something I wouldn’t manage to figure out but I did, praise be. To be honest, I wouldn’t change anything. I’m happy with all aspects of my business and can’t wait to launch my new products.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Absolutely being my own boss. Not having the pressure of getting something done on someone else’s time frame. I’m more relaxed and I’m genuinely happy.
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Least favourite part is the admin! That’s the first job I’ll be delegating when I get a unit and staff haha!
What books, podcasts or other resources have inspired and influenced your business journey?
I didn’t read any books or listen to podcasts. I just decided to start my business as it was something I was good at. The making aspect.
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
In my visions, I see my business open in a little shop with a factory at the back where I manufacture the products with another member of staff. I don’t envision being a massive company with lots of staff, but who knows! I would love to pass the business down to my daughter when she’s older; if it’s something she’s interested in.