516
8 min 11 sec

Trip to Target Inspires Aromatic Hustle

While browsing the candle aisle at Target, a social worker discovers an illuminating opportunity to make money.
Arts & Crafts Branding Manufacturing Product

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What It's About

A candle company with lots of attitude lights a new path for this social worker.

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Candle Making & Brand Development
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Since there are a lot of different candle companies out there, the trick to being successful is branding. What’s different, what’s unusual, how can your candles become somewhat of a statement piece? This is also going to determine your market.

Also, a reminder: if you’re bored with something, move on! Tay could have kept making soap, but she was bored—so she washed her hands and moved on. That’s okay!

Fun Fact

Tay had an idea journal years before starting Posh Candle Co. She looked at this journal shortly after launching her candle hustle and realized that she had had a candle idea many years before—except all her candles were shaped and smelled like food.

Notes from Chris

Episode 516
Tay Watts is a full-time social worker in Los Angeles and a part-time seller of candles. But this story doesn’t actually start with candles—it starts with soap. Tay’s first product line was aromatic soaps she made at home. She did this for a few years and enjoyed it, but it lost its luster… so she washed her hands of that idea and moved on.

Still, the idea of earning money apart from her job was appealing. As a mother of two, Tay often went to Target to get things for her family. When she did, she found herself stopping by one aisle in particular. It was an aisle of peace and solace: the candle aisle. In this sweetly scented world, the stresses of motherhood and diapers dissipated and she found herself enveloped in calming lavender, sweet vanilla, and earthy eucalyptus.

On a whim, Tay began making candles and experimenting with scents. She already knew how to do it—she had made a few before for family gifts, and the knowledge from the soap making venture helped her estimate costs and work with different materials.

Tay wanted to launch her candle brand with four scents, and the inspiration for those initial scents came from things she already loved: books, tea, and women’s empowerment.

This R&D phase was all about capturing a feeling. That feeling of wonder and comfort at the smell of a good book. The assertive “go get it” attitude of women hustlers. The sophisticated, calming presence of a cup of tea. By November, Tay had her four candles: Boss Girl Magic, Dear Book Hoarder, Carpe Diem & Coffee, and Big Cozy Sweater.

She built her store with BigCommerce and launched Posh Candle Co. on December 27, 2016. She immediately started reaching out to influencers on Instagram. She targeted accounts with 5-10,000 followers and send about 20 pitches asking about exchanging a product for a styled shot. Over the next month, she received about 10 responses and sent off 10 candles. Many followers of those influencers ended up re-posting those images, which began a trickle of word-of-mouth marketing.

Her first order came in a couple weeks later on January 6th, 2017. She was ecstatic—and she screamed. Though, she honestly can’t remember if she did anything to celebrate because she was so busy with the rest of her life.

In fact, Tay was so busy those first few months that she can’t remember when she made her first $1,000, which is normally a big milestone. She does, however, know for certain that she broke $10,000 in sales that June, just six months after launching.

These days, Tay’s excited to partner with other women entrepreneurs to create scents for their businesses. She’s also looking for ways to finally move her business out of her house so that she can have people over on the weekends without it being a minefield of soy and wax. The journey is still in its early stages, but she is lit up with enthusiasm over her decision to get started.

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Posh Candle Co.: Learn more about Tay's unique line of candles over on her website!
  • BigCommerce: The website building platform that Tay used when she first started Posh Candle Co.
  • Shopify: Tay used Shopify to set up her store for Posh Candle Co., and they're offering a 21-day trial and exclusive discount for all Side Hustle School listeners!
SEE ALSO:

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
"My best advice for others in similar situations is to identify your most productive hours of the day and stick to it. Even with great time management and support, there’s going to be good days and bad days—just remember to stay patient with yourself and the process."
—Tay Watts #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau