Turning Scents into Dollars: FlickerCandleCo. Lights the Flame & Turns Hobby into E-commerce success
Updated: Oct 15, 2021
In August of 2018, Brooke and her business partner, Shanna, lit the flame on their candle business. The two friends started making candles for themselves purely as a hobby, which then turned into something more.
It started out as an idea that they wanted to create a clean product that they could feel good about using in their own homes. Both had a passion for home décor, and so they opted to try making a small batch of soy-wax candles to discover more about the process and explore the results. Turns out, they had a passion not only for candles, but also for entrepreneurship.
Brooke and Shanna began making candles whenever they could, testing a number of scents and materials, eventually developing a product that they were proud to brand as their own. They began gifting candles to family and friends to test the market and see what the feedback might be. The reviews came back positive, and it encouraged them to keep creating, with the hope that this could be something more than just a hobby some day.
After a year and a half of candle making, Brooke and Shanna participated in their first pop-up market at The Fringe Festival in Saskatoon. Thinking the turn-out would only be a handful of attendees to their booth, they made a batch of 100 candles to sell. “We instantly sold out, and we weren’t prepared for that,” recalls Co-founder Brooke. “From that moment on, we were like… let’s make it a business.” Thus, Flicker Candle Co. was born.
Flicker Candle Co. uses 100% soy-wax and lead-free cotton wicks to create a clean and safe burn. Each candle is carefully hand-created by the two founders – from the crafting of individual scents, to hand-pouring each candle into custom jars, to then printing and placing the labels onto each vessel. It truly is a labour of love that is poured into each individual piece.
Brooke recalls that the pace quickened from hobby to business from there. They started investing in some promotional pieces, developed a website, and then began reaching out to local stores to gage if there was any interest in store fronts selling their products. They landed their first store – Dad’s Organic Market in September of 2019. “Ending up in our first store became the determining factor that we needed to keep going with it,” says Brooke. The founders hit the pavement, product in tow, and approached store after store to inquire if they too would be interested in selling their candles.
Sales were going well for the small business – and then 2020 hit. Brooke recalls that they knew they had to focus their efforts online, but there was concern with how viable of an option that would be. “E-commerce is a strange field for a candle business,” recalls Brooke. “You can’t smell the candles online, so we knew that would make it difficult for a new customer to want to purchase from us. So, we started marketing towards creating custom candles to certain niches to try and combat this.”
Knowing it would be harder for customers to make a purchase without seeing and smelling their products in-person, the business partners focused their efforts on marketing towards photographers, realtors, and clientele within the wedding industry. They wanted to understand every channel they could to penetrate the custom gift market, since they felt this would be a lucrative avenue for them to start getting the word out online.
As Brooke was set to graduate from the Business Administration Advanced Diploma in 2021, she discovered LEAP Junction at Fanshawe College. She applied to the LEAPIn Business Accelerator 2021 program thinking it would be a great learning opportunity and would bring her business to the next level, especially when it came to growing the company’s online presence.
Brooke was one of eleven participants accepted into the LeapIN 2021 program, attending online sessions over the summer for twelve weeks. She looks back on her time in the program fondly, commenting on a number of resources and undertakings that helped boost her business. Upon the completion of LEAPIn, Brooke received $5000 in funding that went towards a product re-branding that gave Flicker Candle Co. a more professional appearance. “That re-branding went a long way for our online marketing. Working with a marketing specialist gave us some really great ideas that assisted in our growth. We learned about writing and copy, design techniques… we then revamped and relaunched our website as part of our new marketing strategy.” Brooke also worked with a financial advisor as part of the programming to re-evaluate their company’s costs. With a rise in costs of supplies as a result of the pandemic, it dawned on Brooke that they weren’t charging a high enough price that would be sustainable for the company over time. Brooke credits LEAPIn for helping her and her business partner evaluate what would be a correct pricing strategy moving forward.
Brooke’s learnings over the summer were reflected in an increase in sales after their website re-launch. Flicker Candle Co. is now in fourteen different stores across Saskatchewan and Ontario, and is slowly expanding into Quebec as we speak. They had an exciting summer with a pop-up market in Project A in Canmore, Alberta and another at Hudson’s Bay in Oshawa in August. Flicker Candle Co. is thrilled that they are starting to see returning customers since the summer. They now have repeat orders for custom candles from customers, including The Benny Brave Foundation who use their candles to help raise funds for their charity.
The world of entrepreneurship continues to shift and change in 2021, but one thing is for sure: there is certainly opportunity for a small business to evolve along with it. Co-founder Brooke never thought she could shift so dramatically with her business to selling almost exclusively online, but now thinks this is the future for small business owners. A big pivot has allowed them to grow by leaps and bounds, and both founders are excitedly looking towards what’s next for Flicker Candle Co.
Ready to accelerate your business? Shoot us an e-mail and let us help you kickstart your plans: firstname.lastname@example.org To book an appointment with one of our business coaches: http://leapjunction.ca/book-online For more information on LEAPIn, LEAP Junction’s Business Accelerator for Fanshawe students and alumni: https://www.leapjunction.ca/leap-in
More about our LEAPer Feature: Brooke Davidson is a Fanshawe College graduate, and an honoured LEAP Junction entrepreneur. She graduated from the Business Administration Advanced Diploma in 2021, and is continuing her studies at the College with a Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Digital Marketing (anticipated 2022). Brooke is also completing an Entrepreneurial Co-op at LEAP Junction. Do you have a business you’re working on? Students can apply to complete their Winter 2022 co-op requirements while working on building their business and network by applying for an Entrepreneurial Co-op at LEAP Junction. Interested students can apply through the Fanshawe Career, Co-op & Co-curricular portal here: https://myfuture.fanshawec.ca/postings.htm?pId=131783
Follow Flicker Candle Co. on social media @flickercandleco
Browse their candle line at: www.flickercandleco.ca
written by Amanda Oppedisano at LEAP Junction