Curiosity. A trait we are all born with, see in our children, and sometimes lose in the journey to adulthood. Owner of Sweet Tea Candle Co., Jennifer Deaton's spirit of curiosity was the force behind her desire to try making candles by hand. Once she discovered she could make a candle from scratch, Jennifer never looked back. Look where that spirit of curiosity has gotten her - a growing retail network, two employees and nearly four years of business. With a new sales rep on board, Jennifer's business is growing leaps and bounds!
How did your journey begin?
When I stayed at home with my kids, I didn't really stay at home. I was always finding new activities and things to do. One day, I had a spark of curiosity and thought to myself, hey I wonder if I could do this and sell it. So, I ordered wax and started. My dad had a knack for woodworking, and my mom was always creating, so it's in my blood.
How did you grow your business?
Sweet Tea Candle Co. began in 2014 and there was about a six month phase where I gave the product to friends and neighbors, as I asked them for feedback. I made a business plan and mapped out the future. Since then, I've grown Sweet Tea Candle Co. organically and put my profits back into the business. The biggest turning point for us was when I got a call from a giftbox company who needed 400 candles in one week. I asked them if I could call them back, and mapped out how many candles I could make in an hour times how many hours I had. I called them back and said "Yes, I can make it happen." That big order gave me all the confidence and publicity I needed to get on a roll.
What is your favorite part about owning your own company?
New product development, meaning trying new scents. I make what I would want to buy, and I get feedback from retailers and customers. I was not initially a fan of lavender, but I had many requests to have a lavender scent. It took me a while to make something I liked, but I now love our lavender candle.
Who is an entrepreneur you admire?
Jeni Britton Bauer, the owner of Jeni’s Ice Cream. Jeni's Ice Cream started in my previous home of Columbus, OH. I love that Jenni supports other small businesses and women entrepreneurs. She knows the farmers where she sources the milk for her ice cream. Jeni is also extremely creative and does an incredible job with her branding.
Follow Jeni on Instagram - instagram.com/jenibrittonbauer/
How would your life would be if you hadn’t started Sweet Tea Candle Co.?
Less fun for sure! It provided me the opportunity to make Nashville my home much more quickly through meeting retailers and customers. It made me feel a part of the Nashville community.
What is the biggest struggle you've had to overcome as a business owner
The fear of failure. I didn’t want to disappoint myself.
What is your best advice to a someone on the verge of starting a business?
Jump in and try it. Be curious and let go of fear. Things aren’t going to work, and that's okay, but try something and learn from it. Take one step, which will lead to another and another. Just go for it!
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