Dino's Candlemaking Journey
Dino had a passion for candle-making, which he eventually turned into a successful business with Crown Shaving Co. In this interview, we will discover how Dino's love for candle-making led him to start his own candle business and how it became a hit with customers.
Village: Tell us a little bit about your business & how you got into Candle Making
Crown Shaving basically started as a men's grooming business. Still is, mostly a men's grooming business. Crown shaving started in about 2008 - 2009 mostly with shaving cream, aftershave, lotions, tonics, shampoos, and that kind of stuff. Then in 2015 or so, we started with candle making, only one candle.
At that time we weren't making our own candles. We actually sent that out to a private label company. Had about 500 candles or so made. But it wasn't really a main product for us, so that started slowly. It didn't really move that quickly amongst all our other products but over the years I started tinkering with making candles myself and, and got it to the point where I was happy with them and making them ourselves.
We're able to do them in smaller quantities, of course, instead of going to the big private label companies where your minimums could be anywhere from 500 to a thousand pieces. Right. And initially, our candle was more of a seasonal father's day kind of thing, it seemed to pick up steam and got a little bit busier. And especially over the last two years with Covid, I think candles went into a very popular gifting item. So we had a lot more requests for that, and that's basically how we started getting more in-depth with the candles.
Village: What kind of scents do you find are the most popular among your clientele?
We're dealing mostly with men and on that particular brand. We have another brand that we can talk about that's also a good brand now, but our main brand, Crown Shaving is geared towards men so they're more into the tobacco, uh, muskier scent. We use a lot of bream and boogie type scents.
Village: What's this other business that you were telling us about?
We have two brands. Crown Shaving is our main brand. Persons of Interest is a fragrance brand and a candle brand that we started actually a couple of years ago as a little side project so that we can dive a little bit deeper into different types of scents because again our customers are mostly male.
Consumers are geared towards a specific type of scent. This other brand, kind of opens up the door for us to explore and try nuis scent. So we have about three or four different candle scents under that particular brand, and currently have 10 fragrances under that brand.
Village: With your main brand, do you find that it's mostly your male clientele that is buying it for themselves?
We have a lot of women purchasing for their men. Definitely, over the last few years, I'm finding more of our online sales especially are coming from women for their husbands, their boyfriends, and their sons. So it’s definitely one of our biggest customers right now seems to be female clients.
Village: When you got into candle making at first, did you have any challenges that you found along the way?
Absolutely. Trying to learn candles by yourself could be very difficult. I mean, there's a lot of information available out there on YouTube and a lot of companies that you know, have some educational programs and I've personally reached out to other candlemakers along the way and they were very helpful. Yeah, I find that the candle community is quite helpful. That way everybody is more than eager to jump in and pitch in where they can. Just tinkering around with different waxes and different wicks until we found that we had a formula that worked for us.
Village: Now that you've been doing it for a few years, do you have any advice that you could offer to other candlemakers or other people who are thinking about getting into candlemaking?
I would say just don't get discouraged cuz when you first jump in, there's a lot more to it than you might think. Just trial and error, and again, reaching out to the community and other candlemakers can be very helpful. But it could be very, very fun and fulfilling as a business, whether you're doing it as a side hustle or full-time.
The only advice I would give is just to keep at it and keep playing with it. There's so much to learn and so much you can do with it. Just be open to trying it and open to spending the time and don't give up.
Village: Are you a soy candle maker?
I am a soy coconut user. We're currently using the Village & Craft soy coconut blend, which I love. We're purchasing our wick from Village as well now and we are finally, again, tinkering around with so many products over the last two years, it's constantly testing until you get it, it's so important. And again, different fragrance oils with different waxes and different wicks. It takes time to get the right formula. You just gotta keep at it until you find the one that's working for you. Yeah. I'm really happy also to have Village & Crafts so close now. Also carrying a beautiful selection of vessels that we really couldn't get locally before and now fortunately we can.
Village: Most of the candlemakers are now looking ahead to New Year and Valentine's. Do you have anything special in the works?
Always cause we're a smaller brand. It's fun for us. We're always able to do a kind of limited edition. We don't really start marketing too far ahead of time cuz we're doing pretty small batch stuff. But for sure for Valentine, we'll have a couple of new scents ready to go. People just gotta stay tuned and again, we don't make very small batches.
We do maybe 50 to 100 candles at a time, and they go pretty quickly. We have a lot of wholesale accounts, so it's not just direct to the consumer. We have a lot of wholesale accounts and when those customers see my post about a particular limited-edition candle, they kind of scoop them up pretty quickly. So, yeah, we'll have some new stuff ready for Valentine's and for the New Year as well.
Village: What have you found to be the most effective way for you to market your products?
Honestly, I think for me, I've been fortunate. I was on Instagram very early, so I created an audience very early on.
It's a lot trickier these days. Word of mouth and also still, for the most part, Instagram. We haven't really jumped into the whole TikTok world just yet. We'll probably explore that soon, but for the time being, Instagram seems to be working for us just fine.
- A passion can truly turn into something big just like Dino's love for candle-making which led to the creation of Crown Shaving Co.'s successful candle line. By popular demand, it eventually turned into a hit.
- By making something that customers really want, you will create more opportunities and open more doors to success.
- The owner of Crown Shaving suggests that other candlemakers should not lose hope, seek guidance from the candle-making community, and continually try different methods until they find a formula that works for them.
- Instagram can be a powerful marketing tool for candlemakers if they establish their target audience early on.