9 min 21 sec

Oklahoman Spreads Light, Sells Candles, and Shares Profits

A project manager for an oil & gas company burns the midnight oil and makes eco-conscious candles for profit and charity.
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What It's About

A candle company that sheds light on important causes.

Business Model
Skills Required
Candle Making & Experimentation
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Nicole’s advice for people who want to do similar side hustles—aside from getting business insurance—is to perfect one product or side and then slowly expand. If she decided to offer all the scents that her vendors and suppliers do, she’d have well over 1000 to choose from. She says it’s a bad idea to dive in and try to sell 1000 different scented candles. Instead, she recommends starting with 10 scents and expanding from there.

Fun Fact

The orphanage that Nicole helped her mentor, Noah Elias, raise money for when she started making candles for charity is called the Ingane Forever Home through Acres for Love. It has recently opened its doors. Each child accepted into the home receives medical care, therapy, education, siblings, and an extended family support system. The home also has a garden and a chicken, so the family gets fresh eggs every morning.

Notes from Chris

Episode 301

Today’s side hustle story comes from Nicole Nichols in Moore, Oklahoma. By day, she’s a project manager at an oil and gas brokerage, but in her spare time, she’s burning the midnight oil running her social good, handcrafted candle company Lux Illume

When one of Nicole’s mentors was working on raising money for an AIDS orphanage in South Africa, they realized that people are generally more likely to give more when they get something in return. While they were trying to think of something they could offer for donations, Nicole thought of candles.

She already knew how to make them, and it was something they could easily make in bulk. So, Nicole ordered supplies from a variety of vendors and started testing. While it’s an easy business to get started, to get it right requires a delicate balancing act with lots of different variables.

Nicole started testing out different candle options from the comfort of her own dining room and part of her kitchen. After a few months of lots of trial and error and hot wax, she felt that she finally had a batch of candles she felt comfortable selling—100% soy wax candles with cotton braided wicks and fragrances that were infused with natural essential oils; perfect for the eco-conscious.

They did a fundraiser for the orphanage and sold out of 50 candles in a couple of weeks, earning $600 for the orphanage! She loved that she was able to make a difference in this way and sought out more fundraisers and charity events that she could share her light with.


  • Lux Illume: Find a cause (and scent) you can get on board with on Nicole's website!
  • Cratejoy: The subscription box based e-commerce platform that Nicole used to create her Circa 1955 subscription box line
  • St. Baldricks Foundation & Make-A-Wish: Learn more about the visual page building Wordpress theme that Anja and her team kept in mind when creating their UI kits

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"I'm a simple person who just wants to leave the world a little brighter than it was before I got to it. All of the positive emails from my customers tell me that I'm on the right path."
—Nicole Nichols #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau