Welcome to our Community Spotlight, a series spotlighting our favorite creatives using Station Seven themes that are making their mark in the world. Today we’re talking to Midland Candle Co., a small batch candle company by Alex Austin, who talks about why “just starting” is good business advice and admits that sometimes owning your own business is really tiring.
Tell us about Midland Candle Co.
Midland Candle Co is a small batch candle company that features soy candles with words of encouragement. I love the warmth of candles and think of it as a simple way I can spread a little love around.
How did you get started with Midland Candle Co?
I created Midland about a year ago, the idea grew from working a job I hated and wanting something creative to do! I also loved the idea of being able to eventually have employees and show them their value; my current job felt like the opposite of this so it was a bit of a motivation. My dad used to make candles for craft fairs so I asked him to show me how to do it. It was really fun and I thought it would be a perfect way to put a new product on the market: soy candles, that are encouraging and minimal.
What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Oh boy, I feel like there’s been a few! I think most of mine have felt like internal challenges. I’ll have a big order for a store, which is great, but everything is made in my home so it’s a bit overwhelming and tiring. By the time I finish, I just want to take a break instead of working on other things like marketing and generating more sales. I also deal with anxiety so it’s been a process learning what works for me and how to handle all of the moving parts.
What would you say has been one of your biggest “wins”?
Walking into a shop here in Portland and seeing a gal buying my candle. It was kind of surreal, but very cool. It made me feel so accomplished seeing someone (most of my sales are online or in store) purchase something I made with my own hands.
Did you have any help building your website or did you do it yourself?
I used Station Seven’s Parker theme, which was so easy to use and had so many features I didn’t even know I needed! It made it really easy to customize my site for my brand and make small customizations that mattered to me. I mostly did it all my self, with a few CSS suggestions from friends 😉
Any advice for others looking to start out?
I feel like the biggest challenge for most people wanting to start a business is having self-doubt and feeling overwhelmed (or maybe I’m just speaking for myself!? Ha!). I think we’ve all heard it said so often, but it’s soo true – just start! Do some research but don’t drown yourself, then start your business and start reaching out to others in your industry. It has blown my mind how just starting created so many new opportunities.