I started my candle business off the proceeds I made from selling flower seeds in 2011. Long story short – I love to garden, and I always harvested my flower seeds so I could plant them in new gardens. One day my husband said: I am surprised you don’t sell some of those since you have so many”. Planting that seed in my head, I ran with the idea, and packaged them up and sold them on Ebay.
At that time, I was working for Missouri Engineering Company full time, managing Gilmores Commercial Properties part time and working in obtaining my master’s degree. The money from my Ebay sales was purely extra income, so I saved it and then bought candle making supplies with it. My intentions were to make candles for myself.
I am and have always been a candle addict. It really frustrated me to buy candles, and to have them only smell halfway through, or to burn them and then have half the candle wasted because they just burned down the middle.
I called my mom who has been making soap and candles and selling them at the farmers market for years, and she came over and spent the day with me showing me how she made hers. I then tweaked the way she showed me how to do it until I had the strongest candles that I could make.
I then created labels and started selling my handmade candles on Ebay as well. I never dreamed people would love them as much as I did.
Still working on my master’s degree in business, I got lucky and my professors allowed me to use my business on many of my assignments. This allowed me to develop a marketing strategy, compare my products to competitors and create a business plan for my business.
Marketing being the Key to everything, I kept improving the appearance of my products, and then slowly expanded Etsy and Bonanza. I changed my business name from Mels Gardens to Mels Candles & More. Working two jobs didn’t allow me much time to concentrate on my business as much as I wanted to.
I kept working on increasing sells, and once I got approval to sell on Amazon it was a game changer. I had enough income to quit both my jobs and work for myself.
In 2013 I rented a commercial building and opened a store front. I quickly realized I didn’t have enough products to draw in local customers, so after a year I closed my store front, went back home for a year and regrouped.
In 2015 – my product line expanded from just being candles, to selling candle making supplies and soap making supplies.
I kept reinvesting my proceeds to expand my products, we currently have a boutique section, tons of incense, spiritual candles, flowers, over 400 different types of fragrance oils, and general gifts. We relocated to a much larger storefront and continue to add more items when finances allow.
I was blessed enough by my repeat customers increasing, that I was able to bring in both my daughters to help me. Making magic, everyday with my 22 and 23-year-old daughters is truly a dream come true.