By: ANN BROWN
Monday, March 13, 2017
Candle sales are hot…no pun intended. But as the market becomes saturated, candle makers are looking for ways to stand out. Soyful Aromas, a small independent soy candle business in California, has found a way to be different.
“We chose soy wax because it is a natural source created from soybeans. It is non-toxic and burns clean with no petrol-carbon soot or toxic carcinogens. Soy wax is a little more expensive than other types of candle wax; however it burns slower and cooler creating a longer burning candle. Also the bonus is that soy wax produces a much stronger scent which creates an overall superb candle,” explains Janet Campbell, owner/candle maker, Soyful Aromas.
Campbell has long been a fan of candles. “It was birthed out of my love for candles and their ability to help create a calming and pleasant atmosphere,” she says. “I also love how sometimes certain aromas can trigger pleasant memories and how those moments can positively affect your mood. Therefore, it is my goal to provide each customer with an enjoyable candle experience.”
Campbell started making candles around December 2014, but didn’t start her business until April 2015. “I’m a huge advocate of self care and have always found the glow and aroma from candles to be very relaxing and soothing. Well in late 2014 my world turned upside down and I found myself going through a divorce,” she shares. “I found that I was ‘coping’ with the changes, but I began to notice that I was operating on ‘autopilot’. I knew that it wouldn’t be long before I broke down if I did not do something to take better care of myself. So one afternoon when I decided to light a candle and curl up on the couch for some much needed ‘me time’, I realized that I had burned my last candle over a week ago. My initial thought was to run out and buy a few candles (mind you I was spending quite a bit of money on candles every month), but then it crossed my mind ‘why not make my own candles?’.” And Campbell pursued her ideas. “So I decided to Google, ‘How to Make Candles’ and my thought was that I would save money making my own candles as well as it would be a good distraction from life…turns out I was right,” she recalls with a laugh.
Candle making is more than just a business for Campbell. “I chose candles because candles have always been my go-to for relaxation. Pleasant aromas are very comforting and enjoyable to me. They either bring an element of calm and relaxation or I love how certain scents can trigger memories creating a brief moment of escape into a place of zen and happiness. So when I thought about how much candles have played a big part of my self care practice, my initial thought was that I could make some for my friends and family to enjoy,” says Campbell, whose candles are all hand poured and made in small batches.
Her customers have responded to her personalized approach. “I believe that Soyful Aromas stands apart from other soy candle companies because the main focus is not just an amazing smelling candle, but on the importance of wellness and the practice of self care. I’ve worked for approximately 20 years in the social services field helping others and seeing the impact and effect that life events can have on the human body and spirit,” notes Campbell. “Therefore it’s my goal to encourage people to pause from their busy lives and take a second to ask themselves “what have I done to take care of myself lately?” I want my candles to be a nice reminder for people to take time out and pamper themselves ..to know that it’s okay to escape from the day to day hustle of life and recharge their battery.”
And her customers have their favorites. “My best sellers have been the Travel Tin and Aroma Shots; however I recently added Spa Jars and they are become a customer favorite. The top selling scent would have to be Tranquility, which is a floral fusion of Honeysuckle, Jasmine, and Musk,” says Campbell. “It seems like no matter what event I attend, customers LOVE Tranquility. A couple of other favorites have been Joy (zesty notes of orange, grapefruit, and lemon) and Getaway (a tropical blend of citrus and coconut).”
Campbell adds, “Another way that my company stands apart from others is that I’ve designed my candles to aesthetically draw women in with the sparkle and shine of rhinestone embellishments. What woman doesn’t love a little bling in her life right…but I haven’t forgotten about the men, and therefore each candle can be ordered with or without the rhinestones.”
Being a small business owner, Campbell looks for non-traditional ways to market her company. “I currently market my company by using social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well as I vend at various markets in the California East Bay area. I am also listed on bayareablackmarket .com, shopblackbiz .com, and Popupster. I have been featured in various subscription boxes such as Kolour Conscious, Calmbox, Bel Dam Beauty Box, and OURS by Blackjoy,” she says. “People can buy my candles online at www. soyfularomas .com. People can also follow Soyful Aromas on social media to find out about events and pop-ups.”
As Campbell has built her business she has had to overcome various challenges. “Some of the challenges I’ve faced as a small business have been finding the time to nurture and grow my brand. Balancing a 9-5 and being a business owner has been like working three full-time jobs. Also because I am not the most tech savvy person, drawing traffic to my website has been a bit challenging. However, I recently partnered with Elite Vivant to redesign my website and work on SEO, so I’m excited to see how this will help.”
Looking forward she has some new goals. She reveals, “Some of my goals for 2017 are to have my candles in a spa and boutique, release a print ad, and increase online sales. I’d also like to add a new product or two.”
And though owning a business has its ups and downs, Campbell has no regrets. “Other than my house always smelling amazing,” shes says with a laugh and adds, “I get the most joy from seeing and hearing how much customers love my candles! To know that I am making something that is bringing pleasure to others, is indescribable. When I heard for the first time that one of my candles helped someone relax at the end of a very long day, or that they were having a bad day but then smelled one of my candles and it helped uplift them…there are no words to describe that feeling. I take it all in as confirmation that what I’m doing is serving a purpose for others and all my hard work is paying off.”