Customer Designed Candles

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Fragrance Oils1.  What’s your name & Your Company Name:  My name is Amy Williams and my company name is Awahali Candles.  Awahali (ah-wah-ha-lee) is Cherokee for Eagle and was my husband’s Cherokee name he was given on the reservation in Cherokee, NC when he was born.

2.  Why did you decide to go into business?  What was your motivation?  How long have you been in business?  I have been experimenting with my business since 2010.  I quit my job of 14 years to start another business in 2009 and was not happy with what I was doing.  I wanted to get my creativity out so I started experimenting with different types of candles.  The beauty of experimenting with candles is if you don’t like it you can just melt down your wax and start again! I really enjoyed what I was doing and decided to try a different approach to candles and I have managed to acquire a lot of customers because of all of my options..

3.  What products do you make and sell?  Awahali Candles makes customized candles.  We will personalize them, customize them, and we also do refills!  Refilling has been a huge chunk of my business.  I have customers bring me their empty candle jars and I clean them up and refill them with the customer’s choice of type of wax, wick, color(s), fragrance(s), and design.  I have a set refill menu for them to choose what they want.  A lot of customers choose a candle color to match their décor even if they do not like the fragrance.  I allow people to choose their combination for their candles so they get exactly what they want.  This opens a lot of business for weddings and promotional candles.  I will also give customers a choice of various types of glassware I have available if they do not have anything to bring me.  I will also add any design to their container(s) . . . .pictures, company logos, any design they want on their glassware I can put it on there.  The beauty of creating a customer chosen design is once it is empty they can bring it back and I will refill it so they always have that keepsake candle!  They can choose a new color or fragrance every time they refill!  I have some customers that will purchase glassware with their company logo on it and then send it to me to fill it up with their choices to create promotional candles for their customers.  I have the usual stocked candles that customers can just pick up and go or add a design to if needed in a rush.  At the moment my main focus is candles.  I am working on branching out to other products eventually.

4.  What are your business goals?  Right now I am working towards opening a store by the end of 2013.  I do not want to be a huge candle factory.  I want it to remain a small business-type of company and keep that face-to-face customer service.  I want the customer to have a unique experience building that perfect candle.  I want to make sure to keep all of that glassware out of our landfills.  I have had people bring me boxes of empty candle jars that they have stacked to the ceiling in their closets.  I want to set a standard to recycle that glassware . . . why not?  They paid for that glass jar so why not refill it and keep from paying for more when you already have mountains of them in your closet just taking up precious space!!

5.  What are some products you use from Natures Garden; what are your favorite products from Natures Garden?  The big attraction for my business is the fragrance choices.  I allow the customer to smell what I have stocked or choose from a list of what is available.  Nature’s Garden has by far the largest selection of fragrances and they tend to be the best smelling.  I put the highest scent load in my candles so the customer gets the ultimate fragrance loads the fill their homes and businesses.  My customers have told me that my candles smell more intense and fill up their environment better than any other candles they have ever purchased.  The wide variety of fragrances that Nature’s Garden only opens up the endless choices I can offer to my clientele.

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