Spotlight on Wick Candles
Everyone appreciates a scented candle, be it at Christmas, for Birthdays, or as a self-gift as we head into Winter, so it's the perfect time to be looking at Wick Candle Boutique which sells a carefully created set of scents for you and your home. It’s time to Hygge up for Autumn, to create that cosy glow on these darker evenings, so go and read the story behind the brand and hop on over to their amazing online shop to choose something.
Wick Candle Boutique is an independent candle + scent boutique in Hove East Sussex, that opened September 2015 and an online shop which launched earlier this year. You can find out more here.
The shop is co-owned by Anna + Roxanna, childhood friends from Australia who both ended up with British men (one a fiercely English Ginger and one a Tall Handsome Scot). They are joined twice a week by a very doleful Irish Terrier named Bertie.
Wick has a splendid selection of things that smell wonderful including candles, incense, home fragrance, bath and beauty sourced all round the world, combining new exciting artisan independent makers and bigger established brands. The shop and website are a calm gentle haven away from the pushy high street with the same old, same old, where you can find unique products and gifts and have them lovingly wrapped and delivered for you. Simple but lovely.
1. What was the reason behind you starting your business?
Like many before us I suspect, to work for ourselves and be in control of what we do and how we do it. The hours are never ending, you are always working essentially and it’s hard but you are doing it for yourself and you make the decisions (good + bad!) for yourselves. As friends, we wanted to work together – that was a part of it too. We had worked in high pressure industries where you advanced other people so we wanted to do something independently and it had to involve something we loved and were enthused by so we would be interested day in and day out.
2. How did you start up? kitchen table? Mum’s garage, renting premises?
We had talked about it for ages but when both of us were suddenly able to take the leap at the same time and were in the same place and we saw retail premises that we could afford and fitted the bill we just took a leap of faith! And we knew that we wanted to really experience a local independent brick and mortar shop and truly understand our customers and our specific retail world before we took the business online.
3. How did you fund your business?
Ourselves from savings as we are not really into asking people for funding - we worked very hard to make everything look and feel more luxurious than it was! The stock was the biggest outlay because we curate wonderful things from all around the world. We wanted to use what money we had saved to make our range fabulous and unique and our products top notch. We also feel strongly about sourcing as many quality niche brands as we can from smaller makers who need to be paid fairly and not just lots of mass produced stuff, so that was and is always the biggest outlay.
4. What was the most difficult part of starting up your business? Access to money, advice, finding people to buy, marketing etc?
The money aspect was tough. You read so many stories about small businesses failing that you’re made to feel like you are literally throwing money into the ocean but you just have to face that fear. It can also be hard to get stockists and suppliers to trust you when you are first starting out so you need to be thorough and reliable to convey your professionalism and make them feel they can trust you.
5. What help was missing for you?
Decent legal help that doesn’t cost a fortune seems hard to find. That would have been helpful for us when we did our commercial lease. Even though we did research and used a recommended firm they were dire. Legal assistance and property advice designed to support small entrepreneurs would be something we really could have used. That period was made so stressful by poor legal help and useless advice.
6. What went wrong in your first year?
Lots. You will make a plethora of mistakes along the way. I would say our biggest mistakes were in terms of what to do and when. Learning how to schedule and plan better and do things far enough in advance. Our first Christmas was very busy and we were under prepared.
7. What have you learnt?
So much. You learn a lot about how resilient you are. That people can be both fabulous and awful. That not everybody thinks the same way you do! Most importantly that research and communication are key. And that just because somebody says they know better than you, for you, they don’t.
8. What is the most important piece of advice that you could give others thinking about starting a business?
However hard you think it will be... times it by ten! If you still want to do it, go for it. Listen to your inner voice and trust yourself. We made silly mistakes in the very beginning listening to what other people said we should do rather than what we thought instinctively. Do lots of research and try to understand as much as you can before you act and then listen to your gut.
9. And what do you enjoy the most?
Sharing the experience with suppliers and customers who really get what you do. When somebody falls in love with a design, or is reminded of somebody by scent or finds a card they adore – these are little things but we believe life is about the small things. Making your home a little bit nicer, cheering up a sick friend, saying thank you; those things matter. And creating a space and a feeling that is unique to your own business and personal style. That bit is great too. It’s really rewarding when it all works.
10. On a scale of 1-10 how hard do you find it to run your own business?
It must be a ten at the start. It’s hard and slow and you’re always working, but eventually it’s a deeply satisfying ten.
Nicola says, "However hard you think it will be... times it by ten!" is a quote that resonates with nearly everyone who features on the blog. Don't be put off as 100% of people also love what they do and wouldn't change it for the world, BUT be realistic it always takes longer to get to where you want to be. Finding decent advice and knowing which to trust is important, here it was finding good and reasonably priced legal advice. You will always make mistakes, it doesn't mean you are bad at what you do, you are human, don't let them put you off going for your goal"
Thanks so much for sharing!
The Girl with The Green Sofa