I'm all for hard working ladies, juggling children, study and business, so I'm more than happy to help promote small business's that encompass my way of life.
As summer approaches and their long balmy evenings we often spend nights outside enjoying the extra daylight hours. I love these nights, but loath the mosquitos that the warm days bring out, buzzing and biting me and my family.
I will not put mosquito repellant on my children- if I don't know an ingredient, I'm not going to lather my little ones' skin in something unnatural that will possible be rubbed off by their little hands and popped into their mouths.
Cue Cara and her homemade soy candles and melts.
Tell us about your business and why you started
- I think it’s fair to say I ‘fell’ into business rather than ‘went’ into business! My daughter has chemical allergies, and being on a farm with the wet year the mozzies and blowflies and bugs are CRAZY, we were going through a stage where we couldn’t even be outdoors and the kids were being eaten alive at night. I decided to make some natural mosquito repelling candles and melts to use myself, which I’d dabbled with in the past, and had wonderful success. After painstakingly experimenting and perfecting the balance of essential oils for several months, I started selling to a few Facebook friends, and it just snowballed! A week later I had a nearby business call me asking if I could make them some fragranced melts, and I thought why not? Through word of mouth the wholesale enquiries kept coming, and I took on what I could at the time. I have 3 young children and so the idea of working from home is hugely appealing. The business is still in its infancy at only 3 months old and I’m just going with the flow and seeing where it leads. Currently I have an online store, five stockists, and will do my first market stall on the 30th November.
Why soy (why are other waxes inferior?)
- Soy wax is sustainable, renewable, 100% derived from vegetable oil and is not tested on animals. It’s also superior in that it burns slower, cooler and cleaner, making it safer in the home and around children. The scent throw is strong and clean, and soy wax is water soluble, making spills easy to manage.
3. How do your products differ from other products?
- Candles can be labelled as ‘soy wax’ even if as little as 25% soy wax is used. There is a huge lack of regulation in this area. Also, many ‘100% soy wax’ candles contain chemical additives. Although I do make fragranced candles as well as essential oil candles, my soy wax is pure, of the highest quality, and contains no chemicals or additives. Also, I use 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils. Yes, I could order ‘pure essential oil blends’ made especially for candles for half the price, but I honestly believe the quality and effectiveness of the end product is worth the cost of sourcing the best quality oils and perfecting my own, unique blends. I use cotton wicks, and the jars are so gorgeous they are able to be reused as a vase, tea light holder, you name it.
4. Who can your products help?
- In the next month I will be launching a range of pure essential oil candles and melts that are separate to the ‘mozzie’ range. The therapeutic benefits of pure essential oils are well documented, and, having studied nursing, I personally wholeheartedly believe in the benefits of aromatherapy, as do many in the health field. Many medications are based on natural remedies and extracts. Also, lighting a gorgeously scented candle is enough to make anyone feel better after a long day!
5. What is your typical day like?
- I don’t have a ‘typical day’! But generally, I’ll get my daughter off to school, then get the boys ready for the day. We play and I try to get some work done in the morning, be it housework, study or candles! After lunch we often go into town to do errands or otherwise the boys have a nap and I get some more work done. After school pick up it’s homework, kids tea, baths, reading and the whole bedtime routine with the 3 kids. After that I try to get some more work done while my hubby cooks tea if he’s home from work, then we eat and I’ll pack lunches, sometimes do some study and then fall into bed! I honestly could not be a housewife, mother, University student, employee and candle maker without my incredibly supportive husband! We really are a great team.
6. What inspires you?
- In terms of this business, the overwhelming support and feedback I have received is what has inspired me. It’s what’s given me the courage to pursue it and to have faith in my product and my values. Seeing my products sitting on the shelves in store is a massive thrill, I must admit! It goes without saying that my young family are my main inspiration for everything in life, they are why I’m working so hard to grow something that is successful, flexible, and ultimately a brand that has integrity and substance.
7. Future business goals
- As I said, I’m just going with the flow and riding the wave right now! I will be launching the pure essential oil candle and melt range very soon, which is really different to any other candles I’ve ever seen personally so I hope they’re well received. To my utter surprise, the business seems to be growing toward the wholesale market, so I think getting a few more stockists on board in the next 12 months would be amazing. I have just invested in eco-friendly packaging for the Mason Jars to enhance their retail potential. I would also like to eventually expand on the candles a little bit, and produce a chemical free sunscreen. My daughter is allergic to the myriad of chemicals found in commercially made sunscreens, and I’d love to share the beautiful, chemical free sunscreen I am making for her on a larger scale... But one step at a time! Growing the Facebook following is always a priority, as the business is essentially based around that. I try to keep it fun, and I have had a great response so far. Fingers are crossed for the future, and if I crash and burn, I’m proud that I had a go!
Cara's business is partly named after her first husband Brett who was tragically taken when their daughter was only 1. Cara's amazing zest for life is an inspiration. She has found love again in Josh and together brought two more little cherubs into the world.