Imagine waking up to a job, which does not feel like a job – but one you can build that financed your life and those around you: family and community. A business that you can tailor to suit your needs of living, family needs, cultural and spiritual life, and one based on your passion which nourishes your soul. Does a four-day week sound like bliss? Well, it can.
Who would have thought that a love of candles would send me on a journey to develop a business idea with my sister Ali that could encompass all the things I just wrote above.
About four years ago if you had told me that a candle making business was in my future, I would have had a little chuckle to myself, and would have continued as per usual with my average purchase of two candles per month from the local Chemist as I had done for years. But something changed when I came across a box of candle making tools in my sister Eileen’s shed, which she had not touched for a while.
What a surprise when unboxing, I got all fired up and asked if I could use her gear to try make some candles. I made my first soy wax candle, and I was hooked. As luck would have it, my sister Ali had also started making home crafted body soaps – she even let me make my first batch of soap. As clever ideas happen, the idea of making candles and soaps as more than just a hobby began to take shape.
I ordered my first pro candle making kit not long afterwards and thus began my journey of teaching myself everything I could about making the most glorious, perfumed soy wax candles. I believe I have watched well over five hundred YouTube videos on candle making – all of them pulling me deeper into my passion of creating candles. To tell you the truth it felt so good making them, like meditating – I wondered why I had not seen the link between my love of candles and creating them as a way of making a living.
Candles, beautiful fragrances, my music, and a timetable that suited me – making candles at night when everyone had gone to sleep in our home – the perfect working environment in our kitchen – it was meant to be.
Thus, my love affair with candles had begun. In my eagerness to explore my new creative skills I did spend a lot of research and had some development money (not a lot but enough) on the perfect wax for our Kimberley climate, containers that could travel well, small enough to tuck into a traveller’s bag, but a size that would give enough burn hours and change up any environment. Whilst on Centrelink this was and on again off again spluttering type of process, but I was keen to make changes in my life and get off the social welfare merry-go-round. Each fortnight I would purchase a piece of equipment: a wax melter, travel tins, wax, and wicks. I was on my way. If I learnt anything during this time it was to not sit and wait for help from outside sources but to take the initiative and perfect my product – all on a shoestring budget.
Ali and I would take turns in our kitchen. One day she would pour a batch of soaps, the next day it was my turn to pour candles. And a surprising thing started to happen. Friends and family would quickly visit and start purchasing our soaps and candles. A few suggested selling them further. The idea of a joint business started to bubble up. Could we take our hobby and turn it into a business?
It was a big decision and we had to consider many elements like how could we get financed, what were the legal business requirements, what would our point of different be in an overwhelmingly saturated market? Just because we had a brilliant idea did not mean other people had not also had the same idea. We had to offer something different through our unique Kimberley story and make it affordable given our remote distances even making it a comparable price or cheaper than any competitors, but at the same time aiming high in quality and how it will be presented to the marketplace. Extremely exciting times in our development.
All we knew was we had two products: Luxury Soy Wax candles and Luxury Body soaps, a passion for creating our products and a potential name: ‘Mijinalii’ a play on my name and Ali’s name and our culture and country from which to draw our inspiration. How could we kickstart our business you ask? We had heard or Morrgul based in Broome. With a shoebox of our candles and soaps we made an appointment and to sell our dream and stepped away from a hobby down the trail to setting up our business with their help. We are still developing our business and hope to be able to unveil it in 2023, but as with all businesses, it is a work in progress.
Dream big, put energy and emotion behind your thoughts as thoughts become things and continue to work on your business idea in passion, and importantly do not wait for help, just go ahead, and take small steps one day at a time. Before you know it, your passion business will be growing from a seed into a small plant. Imagine you are living in the energy of your business.
Until next time: Happy business building jijas.