Selfmade Candle started as a passion project for Ricki Lawal during lockdown last year as a way to keep her wellness up. When it was clear that there was demand, and the products were helping others, it quickly became a community for like-minded people. We chatted with Ricki over Zoom to get an insight into her motivations and hopes for the future.
Tell us about Selfmade Candle
I started it in June 2020. We make self-care products that are designed to be used more than once. Our candles are made with natural soy and hand-poured in London.
Why did you start the business?
I have always been interested in aromatherapy and essential oils dating back to when I was studying psychology at university. When the pandemic hit, I was living by myself and wanted a way to keep my wellness up and stay creative. Whilst everyone else was making banana bread, I was upcycling my old candles into brand new ones with essential oils. I wanted to keep myself relaxed and gift my friends and family that feeling too. When the end of May hit, I decided to turn my passion into something that people like me could also enjoy. It started as a passion project and it is now a full-time business.
What do you want your customers to take away from the brand?
I think everyone deserves their own moments of peace. All our products are created with aromatherapy in mind, in hopes of curating those moments of peace for our consumers. We also want to build a community of like-minded people, who care about social justice, racial justice, and leaving the world in a better place.
What were your first products?
A small range of grow and glow candles which included our conscious candles. They were meant to be a limited edition candle with profits going to Stand Up To Racism, however, the demand kept rising so they became a permanent part of the range.
How much of your profits go to charity?
Our profits from the conscious candles go to Black Minds Matter UK and 5% of our total profits from our other candles also goes to them.
What is the most challenging thing about running your business?
One of the biggest challenges of running a small business is that you have to do everything yourself from; customer service, to marketing and it’s difficult to manage your time effectively as you are pulled in so many different directions.
What is your favourite thing about running your business?
Despite sometimes being spread so thin, I enjoy the challenge of running all different elements of my business, no two days are the same so it stays varied and exciting.
When I hired our current intern, I was looking for someone who shared the same values as me. I look for people motivated by mission, who are driven by growing and learning, and overall just very passionate about what we are trying to achieve.
What are your values as a person and as a brand? Are they intertwined?
The best thing about running your own business as you can make it a reflection of yourself and your personal beliefs. I’m passionate about being powered by purpose and like getting stuff done, not necessarily worrying too much about perfecting it.
Talk to us about your cultural background
I was born in Ibadan in Nigeria to Yoruba parents. My family moved to London when I was about five years old and I’ve more or less been here ever since. During this time, I have had wonderful stints in Bristol and Bath for uni, as well as working in Shanghai and on a cruise ship for 6 months.
What was the Shanghai and cruise ship experience like?
I did an internship there for a couple of months and it was an amazing experience. It was a bit of a culture shock but after I got used to it, it was great fun!
As for the ship, I ran stores onboard for around 6 months and got to go all around the world, all expenses paid. It was the craziest job but so much fun. Those experiences taught me that there are so many different types of people in the world, and it is important to understand and accept people for who they are.
What’s the one thing that you would do differently in life?
I don’t think I would do anything differently, I only regret the things I didn’t do. I would tell my younger self to continue to put myself out of my comfort zone and try new things because that is how you grow.
What’s next for your business?
I’m really passionate about building up the self-care industry to be less wasteful, so my next step would be going back to basics and having as minimal waste as possible. When I started, I was using candles I already had and jars I didn’t want to throw away so sustainability has always been a core mission of ours.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I want to feel like I’ve left the world a better place than when I found it.
To learn more about Selfmade Candles visit their website at https://selfmadecandle.com and follow their Instagram @selfmadecandleco.