Sharing Light Through Candles: An Interview with Kate of Callisto Wicks
Kate of Callisto Wicks shares her journey from candle-making as a hobby to building a successful business in Coe Hill, Ontario. Her inspiration for the business comes from her late service dog, Callisto, who had a healing light about her.
In this interview, Kate talks about the products and scents she offers, her top sellers, and the role Village Craft and Candle played in her success.
She also gives advice to those thinking of starting a candle-making business and shares her experience with marketing her brand on TikTok.
Village: How did you get into candle-making and how long have you been doing it?
Kate: I have been making candles as a hobby for about seven or eight years. Two years ago, I decided to start a business with it. I'm autistic and had a service dog named Calisto who passed away. She had a healing light about her, and I wanted to continue that by creating my candle company in her memory. I used the phrase "With every Callisto Wicks candle you light, you're sharing her light as well."
Village: Tell us about your business and what you offer.
Kate: We've got a wide range of candles with about 14 signature scents and a holiday line. Also, we've got wax melts, perfume, car refreshers, room sprays, and probably about 115 scents that you can mix and match when you visit our store.
Village: Where is your store located?
Kate: Our place is in Coe Hill, Ontario, which a lot of people won't know where it is because it's in the middle of nowhere and we have like 200 people here.
Village: You must have a good following, though. Tell us more about it.
Kate: Yes. I’m very active on TikTok. We do a lot of our e-commerce through TikTok.
Village: How do you feel like Village Craft and Candle has contributed to the success of your business?
Kate: Well, I've been slowly turning my whole line into Village since we started off with a couple of different companies, testing their scents and everything. I just found that I liked Village Craft & Candle and the range they have for their scent line. There are a lot of different things you can mix and match to make your own or you can grab your own one-and-done kind of thing.
Village: What are your favourite scents?
Kate: Right now my favourite has to be Razzleberry. I'm obsessed with blue raspberry slushies.
Village: What are your top sellers?
Kate: One of our top sellers is called “Tarot”. It is Sensual Amber and we can’t keep that on the shelves. It keeps going crazy like a secret weapon.
Village: What advice would you offer to somebody who's maybe dabbling in candle making and thinking about making the jump to go over to start a business with it?
Kate: Something somebody told me when I was starting off with the business was when you're the most scared, that's when you take the leap. So, even if you think you can’t or it might be too overwhelming, that's when you just do it. I had a lot of people discouraging me and saying “Don't turn it into a business. It's not gonna go anywhere. It's just like a side hobby.”
And I was like, “You know what? I'm not gonna listen to you.” So I just went for it and honestly, it was the best idea I ever did. So just take the leap, do what you can. Test your candles a lot and make your brand.
Village: What would you do if you could go back and start over again? Is there anything that you did along the way that you would be like, “Oh, if I would totally have done that differently”?
Kate: Absolutely. There are so many things. Running a business is not all it's cracked up to be. You definitely don't start it to become rich right away. But there are a lot of things that I could have done differently.
So, one of those was my vessels.
I went on Amazon and saw the first vessels I found, and they were not really what I wanted, but they were cheap. So, I thought, we'll go with that. And then, as I started getting into stores, I began to notice that many other candle companies that are in stores had a lot of consistency, while my jars were kind of just like one was octagonal, and the other was round.
It wasn't until a couple of months in that I started buying the more expensive vessels. And honestly, it was one of the best things I did because now I have consistency. My customers are used to my candles. They know who they're from just by seeing them. So, it's important to look for your brand, create your brand first, and then start your business.
Don't keep changing everything up because people love consistency.
Village: You've mentioned that you use TikTok. Are there any other ways that you've been marketing your business?
Kate: Well, I actually got my start on TikTok more than anything else. About a month after I released my candles, I applied for the TikTok Business of the Year award for Canada, even though I only had 2 scents in my line. And, I ended up winning it, which gave me $5,000 in ad credits for TikTok. So I began building my brand off of that.
From there, people saw me and asked to put my candles in stores, and they wanted to do collaborations with me. So it's kind of built off of TikTok, but I'm also with other companies as well.
- Don't let fear hold you back from pursuing your goals. Taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to great opportunities and success.
- Testing your product extensively and creating a strong brand are essential for the success of every business.
- Be consistent in maintaining your brand identity. This can help create a loyal customer base and increase brand recognition.
- Invest in quality materials for your products, even if it means spending more initially, as it can lead to better customer satisfaction and long-term success.
- Social media can be a powerful tool for marketing and building a brand. Kate was able to grow her business through TikTok and win an award that gave her ad credits and helped her gain visibility.
- Being proactive and taking risks can pay off. Despite having only 2 scents for sale, Kate applied for the TikTok Business of the Year award and ended up winning it, which helped propel her business forward.