Tracy Welsh has always loved candles. What Welsh didn’t know is one day, amid a global pandemic, Welsh would not only begin to make candles but would start an entire small business made from 100% natural products.
In this edition of our Small Business Spotlight series, Welsh joins us to talk about Litwickscandle, Welsh’s candle company based out of Miramar, Florida, and its wide range of beauty offerings, the lightbulb moment that inspired Welsh to start a business and the importance of educating people on the benefits of natural products.
What inspired you to start a business?
I know it sounds cliché, but I wanted to work just as hard for myself as I did for someone else. I would often think of what type of business I could be successful in and I started deep diving into my hobbies and passions.
I used to shop a lot at Bath & Body Works. When COVID-19 hit and we couldn’t go to the stores anymore, I had to figure out how I was going to get my supply of candles. The lightbulb went off, but only after I realized how much I was spending on candles! I decided to look into making candles myself and Litwickscandle was born.
Once you knew you wanted to start a business selling candles and natural soaps, how did you prepare yourself to enter this industry?
I prepared by doing a lot of research. YouTube was my best friend. I would watch countless videos on candle making. It became an obsession. I had many failed days upon entering this candle quest, but I didn’t give up.
I turned my kitchen into a candle clinic and my friends were the patients. I would try all different types of candle techniques and I received plenty of feedback. Eventually, I was referred to seek a mentor in the industry and I was put in touch with a young entrepreneur named Tiana. I watched her YouTube videos endlessly and studied her craft until I felt comfortable to fly solo.
Can you tell us more about your candle and beauty bar collections?
All of our products are 100% natural, starting with our candles which are made of 100% soy wax. Our additional product offerings include certified organic soaps, body butters, body milk, incense and lip balm.
We try to ensure the ingredients used are chemical-free and allergy tested so we can have outstanding results from our customers. As a Melanated woman, I struggled with keeping my skin moisturized. I fought to find products which would stay on for the duration of the day. Our candle wax can be applied to your skin — rubbed on just like oil — and our body butter base is made out of shea and almond oil creating lasting moisture barriers. The same applies to all of our other products. We want to make sure our customers are getting the best eco-friendly products available.
Some of our customer favorites include scented candles (raspberry, watermelon, refreshing spa, morning rain and citrus basil), body butters (cashmere cocoa butter, champagne toast and pineapple papaya) and body milk in honey oat and mango passion.
What were some of the challenges Litwickscandle faced and overcame amid the COVID-19 pandemic?
During COVID-19, I struggled to decide if I should have customers come to my house to pick up their orders. I struggled to get materials and products and support customer demand. There were times I thought Litwickscandle may no longer be a thing because I need a strategy to keep people’s attention.
I had to quickly turn the frown upside down and bring a positive mindset in an already sad world. I was determined to succeed. I started to regain momentum and view things as progressive. I switched our marketing strategy to focus on making people happy and providing sustainable products to our customers.
Our sales began to grow and our company started to become a local favorite. The only thing left was to become a household name. Although we still have roads to travel, we are seeing the benefits of pushing through and steering the course.
How has inflation impacted your business?
Inflation has taken its toll on our business. We fight to find low-cost material to support our growing business. We seek out ways to keep our costs low and our customers happy. Countless hours have been spent negotiating for lower cost candle supplies, cutting out tariff cost and freight fees.
By cutting out the premiums of doing business during the inflationary market, we can keep our product cost affordable. Since establishing Litwickscandle we have only had to apply one cost increase and it was very marginal. We are thankful to be sustaining during these volatile times.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a business owner?
To me, it’s knowing we are helping people learn about and understand how natural products work just as well as commercial products without the harmful additives. Educating customers on the benefits of natural products is very rewarding.
I remember the first time someone came back to give feedback on our products There was an elderly customer (roughly about 70 years old) who had an allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine. Her MD prescribed a topical cream to use on her arm and nothing was working. In fact, it was getting worse, I recommended our natural Aloe Body Butter and she tried it for seven days. After the seven days, not only did the rash clear up but her skin regained elasticity. She was so overwhelmed with joy! It is results like this that fill our hearts and keep us motivated.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business?
Never give up! Don’t just do it for the likes. Do it with passion.
Believe in yourself so you don’t have to wait for others to believe in you, I won’t lie: building a business takes time and dedication. If you can envision the end of the road, you can keep traveling it until you meet your desired destination. My biggest piece of advice is to find a great mentor, join small business groups and meet up with like-minded people and entrepreneurs.
What does the future hold for Litwickscandle throughout 2022 and beyond?
The future holds growth and success for Litwickscandle. We are currently in discussions with large retailers for product placement. We are focused on launching a few new product lines before year-end 2022. We will be offering natural liquid soaps, face cleansing wash and beard oils. Our goal is to offer a full line product offering of natural, chemical free, eco-friendly, sustainable products.
We want our products to remind everyone to stay grounded, centered and live a healthy lifestyle. The stars are aligning and there is only one way up, so the best way is to shoot for the stars.
Visit the Litwickscandle website to place an order and learn more about its products!
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