WHILE Eco-Soy Candles, based in Ardee, Co Louth, may have been born out of a hobby, it is now a family business.
Emma Jane McGuire established the firm, which produces alternative candles, fragranced with only pure essential oils, back in 2010.
The products do not contain any paraffin, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances.
The business was soon growing quickly through word-of-mouth and she was regularly selling out Christmas markets, etc.
Then, when her husband Dave, a brand manager and sales professional, was made redundant in 2012, he brought his skills-set onboard and the range of products has now evolved to include 50 hour boxed glass tumbler candles as well as 20 hour tin candles and wax tart melts.
"My aim is to bring these healthy alternative home fragrance candles to people all over the world, as more and more people are raising concerns about what chemicals and additives are in their foods, cosmetics and cleaning products, and what dangers these may pose for them and their families," she said.
Here are her top tips for success in business:
1: Meet the people: whoever you are selling to and whatever your target market, find every opportunity to meet them, to converse with them and to find out what it is they want and need from a product or service. Emma’s has grown from the need for a natural alternative to a widely available product, that it turns out so many people are looking for and are happy to have found in Emma’s Candles. Trade fairs and shows are great for this.
2: Keep it local: My graphic designer is 20 minutes’ drive away, as is the label producer and the box manufacturer. So many people seek cheaper bulk packaging and services from abroad – but there is so much value in being able to meet with producers, get to know them, look them in the eye, chat over coffee, point to and describe your requirements and talk about things in person.
3: Spend your money wisely: wherever possible try to grow your business organically from a financial perspective. Do budget, take time and think carefully how you are spending your budget and stick to your budget.
4: You can’t do everything yourself! I went to a course in DIY PR, and the most valuable lesson learned was that I learned I could not do everything myself! Know your strengths and pay others for theirs. Enter point 5!
5: Invest in Branding, PR and social media: some of the best money we have spent is in these areas. Branding is nothing without PR and social media is the quickest way to keep ‘on brand’!