Hi Ebony, please tell us about your stall.
Red Hill Candle Co is a handmade soy candle business based on Melbourne's Mornington Peninsula. We make candles, melts, room sprays and diffusers. You'll find us at Red Hill Community Market and the occasional Mornington Market and Portsea Market. We credit our involvement with Craft Markets Australia for helping to build awareness of our business and continuing to have us as part of the family.
Our business started off like many as a passion, side hustle and way to spend time doing something I was passionate about. Always though I had a dream to create a fragrance based tourism attraction and really bring joy to people by teaching them about fragrances and candles. In December 2020 we opened our Factory Experience and Store in the Dromana Insustrial Estate and now have our Scent Lab space where we run candle making classes. We also have our Scent Library where people can visit and design their own custom candle fragrance any time we are open. In 2021 I won gold in three categories at the AusMumpreneur awards which celebrate the success of mums in business. I'm humbled by the achievement of winning the Handmade Business, Creative Entrepreneur and Rising Star for Victoria/Tasmania. Juggling mum life and business owner life poses its challenges, but it's more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.
Tell us about your experience when you first joined CMA?
Red Hill Candle Co joined CMA in 2016, the year we launched our business. I'll never forget one of our first market experiences. It absolutely poured with rain and there was a little gully of water streaming past our entrance. The Craft Markets Australia team came by with a shovel and dug an alternative route to help direct the water elsewhere. They even laid down hay to shelter our little marquee and enable us to trade successfully that day! They were so helpful even though the conditions were terrible! It's always easy to remember the crazy weather stories!
How has Red Hill Candle Co changed since you first started operating?
Our stall has gone from one table to 3 and with that we have maxed out our site space! It means people get to smell our full range of candles when they drop by. Our stall is really logically laid out and customers can pick the candle they want straight from the table. We like to make it easy and fun for our customers and try to accommodate their wishes.
What do you love most about being a valued CMA stallholder?
I love being a part of such a vibrant and creative community. Everyone helps each other out and there is always such a friendly and positive atmosphere at the markets. The girls are so helpful all the time and they really do a great job making market days run smoothly. Of course there is also the lifelong friendships that I formed since joining CMA and I love every opportunity I get to see and speak to our customers face to face.
What inspires you to create your products?
Red Hill Candle Co is known for our amazing fragrance candles. We love developing unique new blends in our lab and this is really where my creativity comes to life. We love to share our story with our customers. At the markets, we have our full range of candles on display and our customers can smell the different fragrances and purchase them right there. We also love to hear feedback from our customers and always try to improve where we can.
Visit the CMA Virtual Market and support our stallholders!
Describe your experience of being a small business owner in Australia.
I've always loved the supportive and collaborative nature of small businesses and feel lucky to be in such a fantastic community. People are usually more than willing to answer questions and help out a fellow small business. It is this sense of community that helps mine and other businesses thrive under the Craft Markets Australia brand.
What are the challenges and rewards of being your own boss?
It's rewarding being able to work your own hours and be the driver behind your values and creating something from scratch. The biggest achievement would be going from operating out of my spare bedroom in 2020 to moving into our factory space in Dromana.
Describe your perfect weekend!
Catching up with friends on the Mornington Peninsula, lunch at a winery, walk at a national park and finish with a visit to one of the breweries.
What do you see for the future for you, and your business?
Our business is growing and with the completion of our new mezzanine level we are able to host larger candle making workshops and share the wonderful world of fragrances with even more people. We love running these workshops and showing our customers the process behind candle making. It is inspiring to see how much people enjoy these classes.
What do you love about Melbourne and Victoria?
It's diversity in nature experiences from beaches, snow fields, rivers and lakes, we've got it all!
What other stalls are you looking forward to checking out at our next CMA market day?
I'm always a huge fan of the food stalls and stocking up on local produce.
What advice would you give to someone interested in setting up their own small business or stall?
Do your research on which CMA markets would suit your brand. It is also very important to know who your ideal customer is so that you can tailor your product and branding accordingly. It is a great idea to visit the markets so you know what you are in for before signing up. It really helped me to take note of other stall set ups and talk to some existing stallholders. Everyone is so friendly and happy to give some advice. Then you know what works best for your product and you can start there!
How did you adapt and overcome the challenges of the past year?
We've had an interesting year and managed to grow the business during a challenging time. We started offering our experience of designing your own custom blend candle online as well as in store. We opened our Factory as an experience where people can attend candle making workshops, learn about fragrances and shop our products. This has really helped our business and we love having a closer and more personal relationship with our customers.