We sat down with Darrell, creator and owner behind the chineshascloset to interview him and his small business!
Tell us about yourself and your business.
I’m originally from Cincinnati, OH and have been living in Memphis, TN for the past 3 years. I have always been a creative individual and choosing another career path separated me from that side for awhile. My business opened up my creative side again. I make Soy Candles, Body Butters, Face and Body Scrubs, Handcrafted Soaps, Room Sprays, Body Wash and Hand Soaps.
What is your background? Education, Work Experience?
I went to college at Wright State University in Dayton, OH. I studied theatre arts and music where I performed in musicals as well as sung in performing arts groups. While performing, I also on the side worked in the customer service industry as a server in Banquet events, Country Clubs, Restaurants and Private home settings. I decided to leave the performing arts to focus solely on the service industry and for the past 17 years have been working for the airlines as a flight attendant. This choice I later realized was a major plus to running the business I started. Having great customer service skills is crucial in having a successful business.
How long have you been in business?
I have been in business for a year. How did you get started in this business? I’ve always loved candles and aromas. I would spend so much money on candles not realizing that it was more than the fragrance that made a good candle. I was desperately looking for a creative outlet, after not having that outlet for quite some time. My soul was craving it and it wasn’t screaming for the performing arts anymore, it needed to be more arts and crafts like, so I decided to give candle making a try. I wanted create my own signature scents but with quality ingredients and see what would happen. I purchased a candle making kit from amazon and gave a few away as gifts. I received positive feedback and inquiries on where to buy more which then intrigued me. I decided to buy 300 mason jars and do a soft launch via word of mouth to everyone I knew and Facebook, I sold out of everything and later was introduced to Etsy by a friend/customer who suggested it to me to expand my candles to a broader audience.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
To be honest, I never dreamed I would be running a business. I have never taken a business course but wasn’t gonna let that stop me from trying to make this work. I just wanted to share my passions, talents and products with others. Everything that has happened with my business has been trial and error and organic growth. I believe working in customer service helped me immensely. I am always professional and love to have satisfied customers. I always give samples with orders to introduce other products to my customers. I appreciate all feedback whether it be positive or negative. I can only continue to grow knowing what is and what’s not working. I strive to make satisfactory products and believe if I won’t buy it, I certainly won’t try to sell it. My knowledge of candles has helped me understand the type of candle I wanted to produce. I wanted a highly scented candle made with quality wax and wicks at an affordable price. What started as me only making candles in the beginning slowly grew to me adding other products. Throughout my first year of business, I allowed my creativity to push my talents and gifts beyond candles. I wanted to grow my brand to evolve into other areas including bath and beauty.
How do you market your business? How are people aware of your business?
I use Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to market my business via social media. I also participate in Pop ups around the local areas and being in the airline industry, I have lots of customers and friends that spread the word of my business as well. Nothing better than word of mouth.
Where do you see your business in the next year?
In the next year, I want to involve myself in more pop ups and local events. I would like to have more personal interaction with customers. I am overjoyed with my Etsy Shop and it’s continued growth, I just feel it is necessary for customers to see my passion behind the products in person. Having an online business limits that. Once I get to talking and showing my products on a face to face level, it is understood why I started this business.
In the next five years?
Continuing to grow successfully and hopefully have my products in boutiques and shops some day.
How has technology, such as computers and the Internet, impacted on how you conduct business?
I have always been connected with social media, but once I started my business, I found it a major asset to drive my online sales. You have to stay consistent on social media when running an online business. I love staging my products, photographing them and posting them online for others to see and hopefully drive a sale from it. Presentation is everything and I have learned that people love to shop with their eyes first. The internet allows your work to be seen by many.
Whom do you seek advice from for your business?
Whenever I need advice I speak with other friends that are in the same industry whether it be candle makers or soap makers and bounce ideas off one another.
What advice do you have to new business owners?
Well being that I am only a year into my business, I consider myself new as well. I will say this is what helps me day to day: Believe in your creativity and dreams when others doubt you, Never place limits on your creativity and ideas, Surround yourself with good people that can motivate and encourage you, Never comprise your product or brand for the sake of pleasing others and lastly, Have confidence and knowledge about your products and what you’re selling.
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Website/Etsy Shop: www.chineshascloset.com