Small Business Success - Breeze Candles
Breeze Candles is owned and operated by entrepreneur Dominque Newburn, who started making candles just 3 years ago and is now the biggest candle maker on the Isle of Man. Dominique kindly agreed to start off our Customer Success series and join me for an e-interview.
Can you tell me a little bit about your candle making journey?
I started 3 years ago, having had to leave my life long career in the police due to illness. I was at home, fed up, watching too much Jeremy Kyle and burning too many candles, so I decided to get off my sorry backside and do something fulfilling. I've always loved the link between fragrance and memory. I wore a specific perfume only on my wedding day so that every time I smell it now it brings back memories of that day. Although I hadn't initially intended to start a business, I think that association really helped fuel my passion to create really good products. I had also studied design at school so I like to think I have a bit of an idea of what "looks good". Candle Shack, specifically Cheryl, has been with me from the start. I remember Cheryl ringing me in the early days when I asked what the marks were on the side of my jars (wet spots!) and she gave me about an hour of her time. I now consider her a friend, although we are yet to meet.
How did you come up with the name 'Breeze Candles'?
The name Breeze Candles was right at the time I chose it. I'd read marketing materials and a common theme was to make sure your customers knew what your product was from the name. So whilst I had lots of ideas, including the word "candles" was a must. That was the easy bit. Coming up with the other part was trickier. I had all sorts of ideas. Should I incorporate the "burn" part of my name? Probably not. Plus I had to consider what was already on the market in terms of trademarks. I live on the beautiful Isle of Man so I wanted something coastal, island like. But it's a crowded market for those kinds of names. Breeze kind of fitted in, plus I liked the idea of the "life's a breeze", relaxing tone of it. So Breeze was born. Would I choose it again 3 years on? I'm not sure, but I don't dislike it.
Do you operate solely online?
I don't have a store, but I do have local stockists. I also get customers via my website, via Facebook and also telephone orders. I have a seasonal brochure every 6 months which has all my contact details. I like to cover all bases. Some people still like to ring you up to place an order and I love having a chat with them and advising them when I can.
Which scents do you find are the most popular with your customers? Which is your favourite?
I find fragrance popularity changes through the year. In the quieter, summer months scents like Tropical Lime and Mango, Strawberry and Rhubarb and Oriental Bamboo are the most popular. Then in winter, fragrances with musks, cinnamon, clove, and winter fruits really take hold. Cranberry is a really popular one. But then there are fragrances that hold their own all year round, which I offer throughout the year, such as Lemongrass and Ginger, Pear and Vanilla, Clean Cotton and Damson Plum, Rose and Patchouli. My favourite is Rock Salt and Driftwood. I'm not a fan of the fruity fragrances, I love the freshness of this one.
What do you see for the future of Breeze Candles?
I'm at a point now where I am happy with what I've achieved and where the business is at. I got too busy for a while and had to evaluate whether I continued to expand or whether I could find a sustainable model on my own. It's sometimes easy to get carried away in the momentum and before you know it you're in a mess and you're not sure whether this is what you want. I decided I would drop some less profitable areas of the businesses and make best use of the time I had. Expansion wasn't for me given my health limitations and busy family life, but that's not to say it isn't for everyone. I want to continue to enjoy creating lovely products for my fab customers, anything else is a bonus :-)
Do you have any advice for the aspiring chandlers?
Keep sight of what you want to achieve and what your goals are if you're going into candle making as a business. Re-evaluate where you are frequently to check things that are important to you aren't starting to suffer. Never sell yourself short. Anyone without candle making experience has no idea how hard it is to develop a good product. Remember this when you think of dropping your prices. Follow the legislation - Make sure that you have followed all due diligence, regulations and have kept records. That way, if anything goes wrong (as it can do!) you have done all you can and you can show that is the case. Don't just make what you like. I've already said I'm not a fan of fruity fragrances, but many people are, so make sure you cater for a variety of different tastes. Just as everyone has different tastes in food, they do also in fragrances. Be patient - with testing, with customers, with yourself!!!
To find out more about Breeze Candles, visit www.breezecandles.im
If you would like to be featured in our Customer Success series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org