While I’ve talked about this a bit on my Instagram Stories, I haven’t really talked about it at all on my blog and I figured I’d let you guys into what’s been happening here. I realise I’ve probably been posting less than normal since lockdown began but there is a reason for it which I’m going to tell you about today.
An early prototype of my candles – they’ve changed quite a bit since this was taken.
It started back around early March. The news was fully focused on the pandemic and I think like most everyone, we were all locked into what was unfolding around the globe. I am an introvert and I’m also what you might consider an empath – I really feel other people’s emotions quite deeply and while that can be a good thing (it makes me a good listener, it makes me want to help people), it can also be a bad thing (I feel physically drained and emotionally exhausted). I spent a while trying to figure out how to balance the need to understand what was happening in the world whilst still protecting my own mental health.
One of my coping mechanisms has always been to focus on creative endeavours. If I can throw myself into a creative project, it helps me take my mind off of things at least for a bit and allows me to ‘refill my cup’ so I can continue to do my part or help others or just basically get on with what I need to in the rest of my life. When lockdown hit, I had been knee-deep in planning my office remodel, having booked tradespeople, set my budget and I had a few sponsors lined up to help the project along.
Of course, the country stopped for a while (and we’re not out of the woods yet) which meant that my sponsors had to put the breaks on any collaborations and my freelance work dried up. I wasn’t sure what would be happening over the coming months so I had to postpone the office project indefinitely until both my own work picked up again and we knew it could continue to carry on safely with sponsors and tradespeople. The money I had set aside for the project and my savings (which believe me, I was incredibly grateful to have at all) would need to be protected in case work didn’t pick back up for a while.
This meant I couldn’t focus too much on the house. We did some work in the back garden during lockdown which thankfully didn’t cost very much seeing as most of the materials we needed we already had. It was nice to throw ourselves into that and we still have more to come so I’ll be sharing more progress on that with you soon.
But I needed something else to focus on for a bit if it wasn’t interior projects. So I went back to something I always did that makes me feel incredibly relaxed and its something I’ve enjoyed for years now – making candles. Now it might seem really strange to be thinking of business ventures while the world was on hold but perhaps being forced to slow down made me realise something I hadn’t realised previously.
The fact is, I have always said I wanted my own product line – I’ve been saying that for years now but the opportunity just hasn’t really come up and I think I had been waiting for the right time. I’d always assumed I’d work with a brand to create something as it’s how I’ve always worked as a blogger but it just hadn’t really happened yet.
So while I was making candles, I thought to myself, ‘Why am I waiting for someone else’s permission to do this? Why do I think I need anyone else to help me? Why can’t I just do this myself?‘
I think sometimes we forget what we have going for us. We forget what our strengths are unless they are reflected back to us from someone or something external. There was nothing holding me back from launching my own line except for me. I knew how to make candles, I had worked previously in both sales and marketing before I was a full-time blogger, I’ve honed my skills in so many different things over the last ten years – from website design to photography to branding, to SEO and more. Of course, there is always more to learn and I certainly don’t know everything but I had the time now to learn, using my existing skill base as a foundation.
And so I decided it was time. I needed a creative project to throw myself into, I had time on my hands and making candles was something I’ve loved doing for years. The idea for Swoon Worthy Scents was born.
A portion of the mood board I created to hone the branding of Swoon Worthy Scents.
Over the last 4 months, I have thrown myself into making candles and into developing a business idea for a home fragrance line. The first thing I had to do was learn how to make a really EXCELLENT candle and let me tell you, it’s not the same as just making them for yourself! Ha! I have learned so much about both the art and science behind it and there’s so much more to it than I ever realised. I’ve been testing various different waxes, wicks, vessels, fragrances – the list is endless, the combinations almost indefinite but I have finally reached the point where I feel that I’ve cracked it. And testing will continue (it’s a long and arduous process but I’m secretly loving it even when I’m frustrated that something hasn’t worked the way I thought it would) to ensure that every single candle in my line is as perfect as could be.
I would not be happy to sell a sub-standard candle because I’m not happy when I buy a sub-standard candle. So it needs to have a great cold throw (this is the scent that’s released when the candle is still unlit) and it has to have a great hot throw (what you smell when the candle is actually burning). It needs to burn cleanly – no smoke and soot – and I’ve chosen natural plant-based waxes to help with this. The flame can’t be so big that the wax gets all used up right away and the vessel too hot and it can’t be so small that the wick gets drowned in wax or you end up with tunnels through the centre. It has to smell great and perform well and every single element plays a role in that. I always say it’s half science and half art and it engages both sides of my brain.
I’ve also been working on the branding which I’m so so excited about. Every element of this line is my own – I haven’t worked with anyone else on this project and so it’s all just very very ME and when I’m able to reveal the final branding elements, you’ll understand why I say that. You can see the mood board above for a taste of what’s to come – those bohemian glamour elements have been incorporated but I think the candles will look beautiful in so many settings, no matter what your personal style.
I so wish I could share it all with you now. And I know I find it so frustrating when I hear other creators going, ‘I’m working on a secret project and I’m so excited but I can’t tell you about it yet!’ because that is ANNOYING AF and here I am doing it to you guys!! But I need to protect the ideas until I’m ready to launch. I promise the wait will be worth it.
From finding the right suppliers, designing the labels and packaging, creating a business plan, creating a product road map, budgets and costing – there’s been so much that I’ve thrown myself into over the last few months and I am not a great multi-tasker. This project is a lot of work and it’s challenging me in so many ways which I love but it’s also partly why I’ve not been as active on my blog or social media as I’d have liked to have been. However, I hope you will allow me a bit of time to get through the most challenging parts of this project.
What I can tell you for now is that I’m going to be launching with 5 signature candle scents and all going well, I’m going to be launching in October, just in time for the gift-giving season to begin and my favourite time of year to burn candles. Later, I’ll be adding fragrance diffusers and my plan is to also have a couple of collaborations with other designers as well as expanding the core range as time goes on. I have so many plans and I can’t wait to share it all with you.
We still have more plans to work on the house, of course, and with lockdown lifting, I am hoping the office project will go ahead in the coming months and as I said before, we’re still working away on the garden. So for those who are here for all the interior design stuff, I’m looking forward to getting stuck into renovations again too – hopefully soon!
In the meantime, I do hope you’ll be patient with me as I get this new venture off the ground. I admit, I haven’t been this excited about anything in a long time and so it’s been tough for me to concentrate on anything else, my brain is constantly swimming with ideas and I think my closest friends are all starting to get tired of me going on about candles all the time (and to them I say a special thanks for not rolling your eyes too much when I’m waffling on about it). I can’t wait to tell you more about it – are you excited for the very first Swoon Worthy product line? Have you been working on any exciting creative projects or business ideas? Let me know in the comments below!