“The fear of not selling sometimes would hit my heart. However, I have learned not to take it too personally. It is part of the learning process- review what’s working and what’s not working, what you need to do more and what to do less etc. Also just because people don’t buy your products today doesn’t mean they won’t buy in the future. So you just have to believe in yourself and continue to improve along the way.”
– Louise Ho
Growing up, Louise Ho (also known as Lulu) loved handmade crafts, learning how to make her first paper clay doll at age 8. Later, she created her dollhouse miniatures brand Lulu’s Miniatures, and started teaching people how to make them. In the last couple of years, Louise started making scented fragrance candles, and what started as a hobby evolved into a passion for sharing her creations. She founded Arcandles on the belief that great smelling candles can create a peaceful ambience. Louise lives in Sydney, Australia and loves living a natural and organic lifestyle. All her products and packaging are made from environmentally friendly materials and can be reused as home décor. Read on to find out more about Louise and Arcandles.
Tell us about Arcandles and how you grew your hobby into a business.
Arcandles is a handmade soy candle brand and it was established in the summer of 2015.
I have learnt how to make candles a few years ago and I have been treating it as a hobby. One day in 2014, it was like an epiphany that came into my head – “Why don’t I brand my candles and run a business since I have some sort of experience in running a small business in the past”. Then I started thinking of the brand name, logo design, sourcing materials and packaging, creating website etc.
Was this always what you wanted to do or did it emerge over time?
Since I have stopped teaching people to make clay miniature food 2 years ago, I had some spare time and it happened that I got some materials at home for making candles, then the ball just kept rolling.
Who has helped you in the process of following your dream?
Sometimes I feel that running my own business is very lonely, and luckily my friends and family have given me encouragement and feedback on my products, so that I could continue my dream.
What inspires you?
I love living a natural and organic lifestyle and I’m always inspired by simple and nice packaging, I would visit different countries and shops to get inspirations on how other products are made and packaged.
What challenges have you encountered and how have you overcome them?
When my head is stuck on the designing process, I would just leave that part of the work aside, and come back later. If I can’t really continue, I would ask or pay someone to help, even though the budget is limited. I don’t want to produce something that is not good enough due to my limitation on certain skills, as that would contribute to part of the sales.
Have you encountered burnout and if so how did you deal with it?
Yes I have, time is always a challenge when there is a deadline. I just have to ask for help from my family and friends. I have tried my best to eat and drink healthily and rest as much as I can even when I was running out of time, as low energy doesn’t help to finish the job quicker.
What message are you trying to share with your work?
Unwinding the mind is very important to everyone in today’s busy environment. Combining with the environmentally friendly candles, just sit back and relax, enjoy the smell of the fragrance burning from the candles, and forget about the stressful day.
How do you overcome the fear of sharing your work?
The fear of not selling sometimes would hit my heart. However, I have learned not to take it too personally. It is part of the learning process- review what’s working and what’s not working, what you need to do more and what to do less etc. Also just because people don’t buy your products today doesn’t mean they won’t buy in the future. So you just have to believe in yourself and continue to improve along the way.
What is it that you love about what you do?
I can say that I’m a very creative person since I was young, I love what I’m doing now as I can use my creative skills in every single way when running the business. From designing the product to finding ways to make processes more efficient making me feel alive everyday.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
There are 2 quotes I want to share which related to my experience when starting the business.
“If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.” – Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook.
“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” – Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back?
I would have used the right people to help on some tasks so that I could free up my time and work on something else.
What are you most excited for in the future?
Launching new products in the next few months and getting more and more people to know about the brand.