Running a small business
I wanna talk about what it’s like running a small business from my spare room, the pros and cons and the relative amount of chaos that comes with it. Exhibit A the chaotic organization of said room. Because I’m so busy I find it difficult to keep on top of it with a full time job and other things. I see loads of business owners running immaculate operations but maybe it’s just not in my nature haha. I do a big clean once a week and have a solid rest but it soon gets out of control.
But what do I mean by refining.. Well at the moment there is some research into what I’m doing but not as much as I’d like. I’m kind of just aiming blindly and hoping something will stick rather than a sniper hitting its target, don’t get me wrong I’m having success but it feels quite broad, I want to refine and hone my craft.
Upon my recent restart after having a break the initial idea was to sell what I've got stock wise and just get rid, make some money to pay for my tax bill but as I get further into it the enjoyment and fulfilment has come back creating something of my own. So It has to be more than just making some quick cash.
I feel like my current offering lacks identity, purpose and direction. So I’ve decided to almost go back to the basics and ask myself the following questions, questions I’ve borrowed from Paul Savage, who offers Amazon guidance.
How to build a brand
The questions are about brand building and people buy into brands, stories and narratives, think about some of your favourite brands and what keeps you going back. It’s that magic I want to create:
- Who are you going to sell ?
- What do they already buy ?
- What problems, what pain point is your product going to solve ?
- Where does your customer already hang out?
- Does your product have predictable sales?
So this got me thinking. The first thing I did was collect some reviews from my favourite candle suppliers on Amazon. I'm thinking about the competition and what are they doing that I’d like to strive towards.
Perfect Customer Avatar
So this is what I plugged into chat gpt to get a customer avatar:
Customer Avatar: Lucy, the Discerning Homemaker
Interests and Preferences:
Takeaways for Marketing:
What do my products need to offer
So from the above my candles need to be:
- Good quality, long lasting
- Eco conscious, good for you, no plastic
- Great customer service no issue is too small
- Good quality artwork, a story
- Makes people feel special
- Natural & organic
- Smelling notes
- Excellent descriptions
From the above I am already halfway there, I just need to refine and hone in on some of those key points.
I can provide smelling notes and better descriptions, something I’m lacking. Obviously you can’t smell a candle online so being as descriptive as possible will help get the buyer over the line.
Really emphasize the good points, what makes my candles stand out from the rest of the mass produced candles.
Building a story
The last thing I really want to improve is story building and creating a narrative for people to buy into, what makes them come back, what emotions do my candles instil ? I want to be able to evoke emotions and transport people back to a time or place with a fond memory. I’m working on a forest pine scented candle which instantly reminds me of beautiful walks in Suffolk or in the Peak district, it takes me back to the soft leaves underfoot and the fresh pine and moss smells you associate with a forest.
It’s that magic I want.
Anyone can make a nice smelling candle but can you evoke an emotional response.
The artwork needs to line up with the scent and the overall offering. The whole thing needs to be all encompassing so just by looking at you can imagine yourself walking in a forest and you can almost imagine the smell before you’ve even lit it.
To recap my current goals:
- Scents that evoke nostalgia
- Artwork that goes with the above
- Packaging that matches, thoughtful, recyclable & creative
- A small gesture that surprises people in a nice way
- Improve the scent throw of candles ( try new suppliers, adjust recipes)
- Provide the best possible candle & experience at a reasonable price point ( people don’t mind paying for stuff as long as it’s good).
That’s it for now, an insight into my mind and the current workings of a small candle business.