• ECFS Edinburgh

Spotlight Series - Sonder Candles

In this week’s Spotlight Series, we spoke to Louisa Krabbe, who has reconnected with her love for candlemaking over lockdown. Her beautiful and sustainable products have been widely recognized for their dreamy colours and contours. Check out the interview below to find out more about this amazing endeavour:

Tell us about yourself!

I graduated in Primary Teaching in 2018 from the University of Strathclyde and completed my first year of teaching in Glasgow. As soon as I became a fully qualified teacher, I decided to take a year out to gain some life experience and a well-deserved break from 18 years of continuous education. I travelled South East Asia and Australia and settled in Melbourne to live and work with children in a variety of settings. I absolutely loved Melbourne and was beginning to look at options to enable me to live there longer term. However, due to Covid-19 I lost my job and made the difficult decision to come home. My flights home to Scotland were continuously cancelled but eventually, third flight lucky, I made it home in March.

How/Why did you come up with this endeavour, was there a particular ‘light bulb’ moment?

For the first few months of lockdown I was able to occupy myself with the usual; lots of Netflix, daily walks, and baking. I had been applying for teaching jobs, but I was beginning to lose hope after having nothing but rejection from the few teaching jobs that were being advertised. Everything seemed so uncertain, the school holidays were approaching, and I knew that meant another 6 weeks with no work. At University I had dabbled in candlemaking as Christmas gifts and when my old flatmate Amy began making candles during lockdown it motivated me to try my hand at it again. I began selling some of the candles I had made, and from there it grew.

Was there one particular thing you did that you feel enabled the business to take off/gain traction?

My business suddenly began to grow when I started working on new designs and shapes. I wanted my candles to stand out. I reached out to a couple of influencers on Instagram and was ecstatic when Youtuber and co-host of podcast ‘The Girls Bathroom,’ shared my candle on her home account. My candle also featured in the background of one of her YouTube videos. I had a huge influx of new Instagram followers and orders for the ‘baby pink bubble candle.’ I reached out to a few more influencers, including fitness trainer Hanna Öberg, who shared my Venus candles to her 1.9 million Instagram followers. Following this, I have been working hard on taking good photographs of my products and trying to have an aesthetic Instagram feed because I recognise the importance of this in attracting new customers to my page and products.

What has been the most challenging/rewarding part of running your business?

It has definitely been challenging trying to set my small candle business apart from other brands. During lockdown the market has become saturated with other candle companies. I hadn’t seen any other companies selling the Bubble and Venus candle together, so I found it challenging seeing lots of companies begin to sell the same products.

However, I am so grateful for my loyal and supportive customers who continue to support my small business. I pour my heart and soul into each product I handmake and it is so rewarding to see my customers recognising this. I receive kind and thoughtful messages from my Instagram followers on a daily basis, which, makes all the time and effort I invest into my small business worthwhile.

Where do you see your business going in the future?

I hope that my business will continue to flourish. I am constantly thinking about and working on new products and designs to set my brand apart from others. I would like to continue to expand my own knowledge on running a successful business. I do not have a business background, but I like to think that I am learning something new every day of this journey. It feels empowering to be a young female with limited business experience, running my own successful small business.

Is there a positive aspect that has come out of this pandemic for you/your business?

Absolutely. I wouldn’t have had the time or confidence to start a small business if it wasn’t for this pandemic. There are so many successful small businesses that have come out of this pandemic and it has been a huge support being able to chat to other small business owners and run collaborations together. I have felt so much support from everybody in the Instagram community.

How do you ensure you run your business with sustainable practice in mind?

I make a conscious effort in making my brand as sustainable as possible. Here are the steps I take to ensure this:

· Soy wax is a natural, renewable and biodegradable wax which burns slowly and cleanly in comparison with the widely used paraffin wax

· Wicks are made of organic cotton

· The molds I purchase are all reusable and can last for years if looked after properly

· Postage boxes are recycled and recyclable boxes.

· Bubble wrap is biodegradable and can be put in your food waste bin

· To ensure products are not wasted, products are made to order, so only the necessary amount is made

Interview conducted by: Samara Fruitman

Tune in next week for our Spotlight Series interview with Dedicated!

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