Today’s article is super exciting — we got to partner with Elise Miklich, owner of Light Within! Light Within is a candle company that Elise is absolutely SLAYING as owner and founder. Read our full interview with her below — then, go buy one (or more!) of her amazing candles at her Etsy shop here!
Q: When did you decide to make your own candles and why?
A: I poured my first candle in 2017 with the intention of just trying something new. I read about the power of cultivating a “Growth Mindset” and wanted to practice that. Like many makers, there was no intention of building it into a small business at first! I’ve always loved how much a candle flame can do for your environment, especially during meditation. Scents can calm you or help with focus. They can be incredibly grounding, powerful tools!
Q: When did you shift from making your own candles to starting a business?
A: After giving candles as gifts to several friends and family, I realized how much joy it gave me. I loved the craft of making candles and seeing people smile when receiving them. It felt like the small thing I was meant to offer others. Something that elevates your environment in a way, whether it be a bit of calm, a pleasant smell that evokes or creates a fond memory, or simply setting a positive mood.
Q: Tell us what a typical week looks like for you — what does it look like practically to run a candle company?
A: Every week looks different, but weekends are usually full of all things candles. I’ve tried to get into a rhythm of dedicating weekends to big pours, and completing less time consuming things like answering emails, shipping, and updating stock on weeknights. When I’m pouring, I don’t like to have time constraints, and just focus on the process to ensure I’m making the best product possible. Before I even melt wax, I have to be prepared with my vessels ready to go, cotton wicks attached by hand. Even with equipment, it can take a while for a large amount of wax to melt and reach the proper temperature. Candle making is a craft but it’s really a science, too. Fragrances have specific flash points and knowing what temperature to pour at is all part of it. Though I am constantly inspired by other candle makers, the market is flooded with options. It makes it that much more important to offer a high quality candle that burns well.
As someone who works in marketing by day, it can be surprisingly easy to neglect that for Light Within, but I try to squeeze in taking some new photos for Instagram somewhere, too! As a small business owner, your work is never really done. It fills me up and yet can be so exhausting when you’re putting everything you have into it 24/7. Make sure to find time to recharge if you want to sustain the effort. Another reason it is so important to ask for help when you need it!
Q: What’s the most challenging part of operating Light Within? The most rewarding part?
A: Pouring a large volume of candles as a single person can be challenging. Especially because every candle is hand-poured out of my home in Rochester, NY. It’s a small space, and can become challenging to maintain my own clean and peaceful environment! It’s worth it though, and a goal of mine to overcome soon.
I’m grateful Light Within brings me the opportunity to connect with so many kind and inspiring people. Creating something with my hands, mindfully, and sharing it with others is my ‘why’. It’s also brought on so much personal growth that I’m not sure I would have experienced otherwise. Being a small business owner pushes you to grow, constantly, in business and in life.
Q: If you could go back and give yourself advice when you were first starting out, what would you say?
A: Never forget why you started. And, no matter how daunting, always give operations and finance the attention they need! Running a business can be really exciting, but rushing to get started when you’re not ready can lead to issues down the road. Poor planning and lack of research can quickly lead to financial disarray. Make sure you have some starter funds and spend time making sure you’re purchasing quality supplies at a reasonable price. Invest money back into the business from the start so you can grow. A small business should not be treated like your personal bank account.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
A: Running a business is work, I’d be lying if I said I never felt stretched! That’s why being honest with yourself is crucial. It’s important to understand your strengths and which part of the process brings you the most joy. Understand when you need to ask for help and don’t be shy to hire other freelancers or small businesses to lend a hand.
Are you excited to try these Light Within candles? Let us know which scent you get in the comments below!
About Elise Miklich
Elise Miklich is a candle maker, small business owner, and higher education professional in Rochester, NY. When she’s not pouring candles, you can find her hiking trails in the finger lakes region, making time for her meditation practice, and working through her Goodreads book list.
Etsy Shop: Light Within Candle Co
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