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Startup Corner: Beckie Collins, Gypsy Soul Leather & Wax/BDesigned LLC

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Minimally viable product …
Clean burning, 100 percent soy wax candles with cotton and wood wicks; handcrafted scent blends; scoopable wax for wax warmers; and linen sprays.

Problem solving …
I have been a candle lover for as long as I can remember. My husband and son both suffer from headaches and sinus issues when I burned the “mall brand” candles that are made with paraffin or a para/soy blend. I wanted to create a cleaner, more ecofriendly, beautiful scented candle that was safe for anyone with sensitive sinus issues to enjoy. It was icing on the cake that as I reached deeper into the “clean-burning soy” wax that I learned it burns nearly twice as long as para/soy or paraffin candles.

Hurdles overcome …
When I first started studying and learning the craft, frustration started very early on. I knew I wanted to use only soy wax in my candles because I hate the black sooty omission from the regular paraffin candles. I learned in my research that paraffin wax is made from a petroleum base, which is why so many people suffer from headaches from candles. My candles are made from 100 percent soy wax, made from the soybean plant. But using soy wax is tricky because it is very difficult to get a strong “hot throw” when the candle is lit. I refused to produce a candle that did not fill a room with its scent. So many of my test batches in the beginning came out flat. It was so disappointing. I spent six long months testing each individual scent blend, vessel sizes, wick types, all of which dramatically affect the performance of a candle. I individually perfected each scent blend, one by one, until I had them where I wanted them.

Another hurdle is that I do not have a brick-and-mortar [store] and I am not looking to. So, I have to sell a product, predominantly through social media, online at GypsySoul-LeatherAndWax.com, by word of mouth and customer testimonials with creative and expressive posts. I’m selling the smell of products through a media by which you cannot smell the products.

Next phase …
I have retail partnerships in Springfield and Republic, and I’m looking to expand into more in the next three to six months. Our private label partners design their own labels, create their own scent blends, and in turn sell them in their retail space, use them as fundraisers, or use them as customer/employee appreciation gifts.

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