The first question people typically ask when they meet me at a craft market is "What made you want to start making candles?" Well...
I've always enjoyed being creative as a form of expression. Once I became a teenager, I was particularly excited about fashioning a space of my own that reflected my personal style. At the time this manifested itself into me taping absurd amounts of art, photographs, paintings, paint swatches, and whatever else I could get my hands on onto the walls of my bedroom. But once I had a place of my own and freedom to customize beyond the confines of my four walls, I began cultivating a space tailored just for me.
Those close to me would probably describe me as a bit of a wallflower. Since I am such a homebody, it is especially meaningful to me to have a living space that not only fulfills my most basic needs, but also serves as a sanctuary. To please my senses, I filled my home with beautiful art, rich textiles, lively music, savory meals, and heavenly scents. I think fragrance is integral to setting a desired mood, so I fulfilled that by burning candles... lots and lots of candles. But being as persnickety as I am, I wouldn't just choose a candle based on the fragrance. It had to have the right jar, label, AND fragrance to fit into my space. I found lots of candles that I liked, but never any that I loved. I would find a candle with a beautiful jar and label, but I didn't love the smell. I would smell a delicious candle, but the label was hideous. Design is a major factor that drives my consumption.
The line of work I had been pursuing was Graphic Design, but I missed creating 3D art with my hands. I decided to try out candle making! I started making candles for my own personal use, but as friends and family wanted some for themselves I chose to create an Etsy shop. As my design and marketing skills developed and I did more market research, I was able to sustain my business and legally establish an LLC. This was a point in my life where I was deeply immersed in learning about living a zero-waste lifestyle, so sustainability became essential in establishing my business's ethics.
Running MOCO Candles has not only taught me about business, but it has pushed me to my artistic boundaries and helped me emerge from my comfort zone. It has given me the opportunity to refine my skillset, while honoring the planet. It has taught me more about myself and my desires in life. It has given me a pedestal to speak loudly about issues such as human rights and climate change when less privileged voices are neglected.
The thought process behind this small business I started on Etsy when I was 22 was much less considered than it is today, but I hope will fill your heart as it does mine.