GETTING made redundant from a job can be tough but instead of dwelling, this woman turned her hobby into a thriving business of her own.
Rebecca Cope, 34, from London, learned to make candles by watching YouTube videos and launched Lit Wicks with just £200 in November last year.
The business is now projected to hit an annual turnover of £50,000 by the end of the year.
But what makes her candles different? Rebecca believes it’s her sense of humour that has grabbed the attention of shoppers.
The candles are labels with phrases such as: “I’m kind of a big deal”, “Stay classy, sassy and a bit bad assy”,”I can’t adult today”, helping her to attract a loyal following on Instagram.
Rebecca told The Sun: “My captions are targeted at a female audience, I want them to be sassy and funny.
“I try to come up with new ones all the time, but there are also a couple that are very popular with my customers that I tend to re-use.
“I use Instagram as my main kind of marketing platform and there’s so much support out there from other female business owners like me, that it really motivates me.”
And her products have even impressed big retailers, with the candles now stocked in hip clothing and home-ware chain Urban Outfitters in its 252 UK shops.
So, how did Rebecca turn losing her job around? She was made redundant from her position as commercial director at a major UK supermarket in 2016 after working in the retail industry for over a decade.
After travelling around the world for 10 months, Rebecca came to London determined to find a steady job but it proved more difficult than she thought.
She told the Sun Online: “I had mixed feelings about my redundancy. In some ways I felt quite liberated and decided to go travel.
“But when I came back, I realised how naive I was. I started job hunting and it went on for months, the competition was fierce.
“It was a very difficult time and it really knocked my confidence down.”
While looking for a new job, she started learning how to make candles to keep herself busy
She said: “I’ve always loved candles, I don’t think there are many women out there who don’t.
“There’s a bit of science to it, but anyone could do it really.”
“At first I treated it like a hobby, something to pass the time and occupy my mind with while I was job hunting.”
After a few months of trial and error, Rebecca finally perfected a handful of scents – and they were a hit with family and friends.
Rebecca officially launched the company in November last year with a budget of £200 that she invested in raw material like wax and fragrances.
Since then she hasn’t had to add a penny more of her own money.
But the online business is still in its early days. Rebecca makes her candles in her flat and her loved ones help her out for free whenever she gets a big order – but she no longer needs a full-time job to make ends meet.
Before her deal with Urban Outfitters in April, Rebecca was only making about 50 candles a week but since then it has jumped to up to 1,000 a month.
She said: “I love the fact that I have to wear many different hats. I am my own product developer, marketer and seller.
How to use social media to boost your business
HERE’s how to promote your business on social media
- Quality over quantity: We get bombarded by information all day long. Do not make more than a post or two a day.
There will be periods when Rebecca will only post an entry a week to give her customers a break.
- Curate your content: Never use software or apps to post the same message across all platforms.
- Talk back: The best about social media is that you can communicate directly with customers.
Make sure you reply to their requests and look at how they react to your post.
- Use hashtags: Use hashtags to grow your community and be tactical with them.
“It means, I am constantly learning new things and I’m never bored. I don’t see why I would go back to a corporate job, if the business continues to grow. ”
Her most popular scents include Blackcurrant & Bergamo, which reminiscent of a man’s aftershave.
There’s also the Black Truffle & Ylang Ylang scent, which she describes as woodsy with underlying notes of dark chocolate, amber and vanilla. And finally the softer Plum, pomegranate & Pink pepper for customers who prefer sweeter scents.
Each candle costs £20 and can be ordered online.
So is there anything she misses about her nine-to-five job?
Rebecca said: “Having your own business can be a lonely job, there are days when you don’t speak to anyone and you don’t leave the house.
“Any small business owner, will also tell you that the hardest thing is to manage cash flow. Sometime there might be a gap of five months between production and the moment I get paid – so there are days where I miss my monthly paycheck.
“But I don’t regret it. I believe that if you have a passion for something then you should just do it and don’t be afraid of making mistakes.”
How to get a start-up business loan
IF you need financial support in setting up your business, you can get loans of up to £25,000 to help along the way.
- Virgin StartUP offers government-backed loans from £500 to £25,000 to help entrepreneurs launching or growing a business that’s under two-years-old in England or Scotland. It has a rate of 6 per cent interest.
- The Start-Up Loans Company lends government subsidised loans up to £25,000 at a rate of 6 per cent.
- The Princes Trust also offers loans, up to £5,000, at a rate of 6.2 per cent.
Earlier this week, we spoke with a single dad-of-two who started his own firm with £1,000 and it now has a turnover of £500,000.
We also told how chef Mechelle Clark, launched her own toastie business after being made redundant twice.
The Sun Online also spoke to a dad-of-two who quit his banking job to set up a children’s hairdressers and now it makes £650k a year.