Blue Starling Candle Company is a young candle company that deserves a little bit of attention. The company is owned by Emily and Aaron Tom. They have agreed to answer a few questions about their candle company, and their lives.
Blue Starling Candle Owners Aaron and Emily
What made you decide that you wanted to start your own candle business?
Emily has always loved candles, so she was buying candles from stores and didn't like how they'd end up. You know, they smell real great in the store, and then the scent gradually fades as you burn it down. So she was buying all these candles that would end up disappointing her.
Meanwhile, I had always wanted to start a business. The thought of being your own boss and being able to run things your own way has always interested me. So we kind of fed off each other. We bought a candle-making kit to see if it was something we'd be interested in and the rest is history.
You’ve added soap to your line of products during this season, do you have plans to add other products?
Absolutely. I would love to see us add lotions and shampoos and other bath and beauty products. But it will be a gradual process. Emily is very picky about the stuff we sell. If she wouldn't use it, she doesn't want us to sell it. For example, the soap we added for this season, she had final say in because she has specific qualities that she looks for in soap, so we went with the one she felt matched those qualities the best. She's even pickier when it comes to shampoos and lotions, so it's probably going to take a lot of testing to find the right one, but the end result will be well worth it.
What is your background?
I come from a purely retail background. Emily's dabbled in everything from retail, to working in a pet hospital. Currently, she's in the healthcare industry.
How is your candle company different from other companies?
We differ from other candle companies by offering limited seasonal collections that rotate out twice per year (once for spring/summer, and once for fall/winter). We also bind these collections by a single theme. For example, our spring/summer 2014 collection is centered around florals, so each of our six fragrances feature a flower-based scent in some capacity. We then sell them through a specific date (in this case the end of August), then do the same thing for the following season.
We also offer one-off and limited edition pieces throughout each season. For example for our previous collection, which focused on Christmas, we made four single one-offs inspired by containers we found from friends or secondhand shops. Once the one sold, they were gone. This season we got the last batches of a couple floral fragrances that we're going to be offering throughout the season, along with some unique glassware to go along with it.
This season, we are also offering a satisfaction guarantee, where anyone not satisfied with our products can get a full refund within 14 days of delivery. This way, we give people a reason to try us, while simultaneously standing behind our products. I mean, if we didn't believe in what we were doing, how could we expect anyone else to?
Do you think that small internet based companies are going to challenge the way that larger businesses operate in the future?
It's really hard to say. On the one hand, you've got online marketplaces like Etsy and eCrater that allow anyone to start up their own business, which I think can be a good thing. It gives everyone a chance to get their products out to the masses, and even more importantly, get them onto Google Shopping.
On the other hand, large businesses will always be large businesses, and will always have the advantage. They have the advertising dollars, they have the connections, they have access to things smaller companies never will. One day I hope the playing field will even out, but I'm not holding my breath for it.
Tell us a little about your personal interests outside of your business.
I play ice hockey in a recreational league once a week, and love playing keyboard and guitar, even though I'm pretty bad at it. But it's fun and a good way to wind down. I also love writing.
Emily loves taking care of our basset hound, Beauregard, and enjoys spending time with her family. She also loves to sing, so once in a while we'll write songs together. Even in weeks when we're busy (we both work full time on top of starting this little venture), we make sure to find time to spend on our hobbies. It's important to take a step away and just enjoy life.
But that's the neat thing about owning a business with your wife...even when we're working at home, we still get to spend time together, which is definitely an awesome thing.