$20K/Month From Luxe Candles to Candle Making Classes – Brittany Taylor and Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle
INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 1:01:14)
Sponsors & Partners
Brittany Taylor and Julius Dease, the Co-founder of Black Luxe Candle Company share the story of creating a Candle E-commerce Business out of necessity and different pivots they made to grow their business. They also created a local candle making class business after identifying a need in the market. Learn how their unwavering resilience, goal-setting, and collaborative spirit paved the way for a one-of-a-kind candle-making experience that deeply resonates with customers.
Brittany Taylor and Julius Dease, the owners of Black Luxe Candle Company. Brittany’s background in science and education helped her develop a formula for their candles, and despite setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company shifted to self-care then shared and revamped their verbiage and online marketing tactics to become e-commerce exclusive. The sales success helped them get a studio, and they were able to teach eighth-grade students about entrepreneurship using Black Lux as a model. They also opened a pop-up store before pivoting to offer primarily candle-making classes. Brittany and Julius highlight the importance of goal setting and teamwork in their entrepreneurial journey and discuss the struggle of balancing Black Lux with other jobs or responsibilities.
- 00:00:00 In this section of the video, the host interviews Brittany Taylor and Julius, the owners of Black Luxe Candle Company. They discuss how the idea for their business began when people wanted to purchase the holiday candles Brittany made as gifts. They continued to develop the business with eight different scents for one candle size, and Brittany’s background in marketing helped her figure out how to sell their products. However, the candles aren’t just simple products because as Julius points out, they are a science.
- 00:05:00 In this section, Brittany Taylor discusses how her background in education, specifically middle school science teaching, helped her develop a formula for her candles that Julius was able to refine with his math skills. The combination of their skills led to the creation of Black Lux. Initially, Brittany’s goal was to make just $100 from selling the candles, but it exceeded her expectations. Though she faced initial rejection in her very first vendor show, she gained valuable experience and went on to do more shows, finding success in her second one set up at a DJing event in the suburbs of Illinois.
- 00:10:00 the month that the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but Brittany was focused on growing her business despite the chaos in the world. She had attended a conference in California, shot her first candle video, and had her best sales month in February, generating $1,400 worth of sales in just one month. However, she received the unfortunate news of being laid off on April 3rd, just days before she was supposed to close on her first multi-unit property. Despite these setbacks, Brittany remained focused on growing her business and making 2020 the year of magic.
- 00:15:00 In this section, Brittany Taylor discusses how the focus on Black Lux allowed her to overcome the setbacks of losing her job and property in April 2020. She explains how the company shifted to self-care then share and revamped its verbiage and online marketing tactics to become e-commerce exclusive. Brittany also discusses how she built a more engaged community on Instagram by going live and hosting “candles and conversation” sessions, which helped her gather more customers. Lastly, Brittany shares the story of how a chance interaction with a customer led her to realize that the person was the mother of a Real Housewives of Orange County cast member, who then promoted their product on her social media pages.
- 00:20:00 In this section, Brittany Taylor talks about the growth of her business, Black Luxe Candles, from making $4,200 in two weeks to setting a goal to make $10,000 in a month. She acknowledges that while their brand was still “homey” and needed work, they were able to improve it with the help of a recommended photographer and an influential backer, Phaedra Parks from Real Housewives of Atlanta. With this publicity and improved branding, they were able to reach their 4K goal by mid-September, and even surpassing it to make over 6K in a month, showing her that her business is turning into a serious and profitable venture.
- 00:25:00 In this section, Brittany talks about how she and her partner, Julius, work together on long-term plans for their candle business. While Brittany focuses on future planning, Julius is more focused on the present. They make decisions based on timing and what their customers are interested in. They created their own sale event called “Silver Saturday” by offering four candle scents that were 75% off for a limited time. To sweeten the pot, Brittany also offered discounts for the first two hours of the sale, indented to create a sense of urgency. The sale was incredibly successful, with many people lining up before the sale even started, which impressed Brittany and showed them the value of their approach to planning and strategy.
- 00:30:00 In this section, Brittany and Julius talk about the ups and downs of making candles at home, including frustrations that came with working together so closely. However, their hard work paid off, and they received a message on Instagram about a potential studio space. Brittany went to check it out, and even though she had no intention of getting a space, she decided to reinvest all the money they had made in November back into the business and get the studio. By June of 2021, thanks to their dedication and hard work, they were teaching a group of eighth grade graduates about entrepreneurship and financial enrichment, using Black Lux as a model. The program was a success, and the students were able to create their own candle collection within Black Lux called the Lux Flight Collection, which sold out by the end of summer.
- 00:35:00 In this section, Brittany and Julius discuss the idea of getting a pop-up space after coming out of lockdown, with Julius pushing for the space and Brittany being hesitant due to people still being anxious about going out. However, Julius believes that people will eventually want to leave their homes and sees the pop-up space as an opportunity for them to be ready for customers. They eventually convinced Brittany to get the space and set a goal of making a minimum of $30,000. They plan to hold candle-making classes and use their previous experience with the class to make it work. Brittany was initially hesitant due to her recent diagnosis of hearing loss and the current pandemic situation. However, with Julius covering the financial responsibility of the store, she was tasked with getting people to come in.
- 00:40:00 In this section, the speaker shares her experience of opening a brick-and-mortar store within just two weeks of signing the lease. Due to a shortage of materials, she had to get creative and source items from various shops and online marketplaces to furnish the store. The speaker worked hard with her partner to set up the store in time for their grand opening. They also enlisted the help of junior entrepreneurs to run the store on the weekends. The pop-up store was initially supposed to be for only four months, but it was extended due to the store’s popularity and success. However, they were aware that the building was for sale and their tenure in the building was subject to change.
- 00:45:00 In this section, we learn how Black Lux was able to pivot its marketing strategy and grow to become more visible on Google and TikTok. A TikTok video posted by a customer went viral, leading to an influx of customers at Black Lux, eventually shifting their primary source of engagement from Instagram to TikTok and Google. The business became so popular that they began to have sold-out time slots, particularly during Mother’s Day weekend. To increase their visibility on Google, Black Lux worked on improving their SEO and encouraging customers to leave reviews. By strategizing and setting goals, Black Lux was able to surpass their initial target of 50 Google reviews and reach a top-two ranking on search results.
- 00:50:00 In this section, the owners of Black Lux discuss the challenges they faced in relocating their business while simultaneously receiving a request from a major client, McDonald’s Corporation, to hold a large-scale candle-making class at their headquarters. Initially, McDonald’s requested the class for 45 people, but later increased the number to 125, which Black Lux had to adjust for. However, through their strong teamwork and determination to make things work, they managed to successfully hold the class for 125 people on the same day they had to move out of their old space. The event turned out to be a great success, and it gave them the confidence to know that they were doing something right. Despite personal life experiences and pre-planned vacations, they opened their business again on October 14th, and ever since then have been sold out every weekend.
- 00:55:00 In this section of the video, Brittany and Julius discuss how their company, Black Lux, started with selling candles before pivoting to primarily offering candle-making classes. The growth of the experience-based candle-making classes created a challenge of balancing both that and the sale of the candles themselves. They discuss how they have adapted and shifted their focus to meet client demands, but the challenge of balancing the two businesses remains. They also discuss the importance of goal-setting and teamwork in their entrepreneurial journey. Finally, they talk about the struggle of balancing Black Lux with other jobs or responsibilities and how they plan to handle this in the future.
- 01:00:00 In this section, Brittany Taylor discusses her experience with Black Lux, her candle-making business and the challenges she faces regarding her teaching career. She explains that while she is still deciding whether or not to go back to teaching, she is currently focused on expanding the business and has been allocating time for vendor shows and candle-making classes. Interestingly, her main focus for promotion has been word of mouth and TikToks made by her customers. She attributes her success to a people-driven business model and the emphasis she places on customer service. Taylor notes that her customers come from a variety of backgrounds and are drawn to the unique experience and down-to-earth nature of Black Lux.
- 01:05:00 In this section, Brittany Taylor discusses why Black Lux Candle Co. has become so popular. She explains that people see the candle-making experience as something worth having for themselves. Black Lux has asked its customers to continue to support the business by sharing their five-star experience on social media platforms such as Facebook, Google, and Yelp. Positive word-of-mouth has been one of the key driving forces behind the business’s success. Black Lux showcases the benefits of coming to their space and providing a five-star experience to their customers. Moreover, the business pays attention to building social proof to validate its claims that customers will receive a five-star experience. Brittany explains how the business has become successful, focusing on the customer, making it more than just a simple candle-making class but rather an experience that provides feelings of gratitude and thankfulness.
- 01:10:00 In this section, Brittany Taylor discusses the various demographics her business has catered to, including children and the elderly, birthday parties for both kids and adults, corporate events, date nights, anniversaries, and celebrations of new jobs. She also believes cross-promotion with other small businesses is important and talks about collaborations, such as floral arrangement and candle-making class. Taylor mentions the influx of tourists in the summer, making it a potentially interesting demographic for her business. Taylor emphasizes the importance of knowing the numbers and understanding inventory logistics and envisions growing both the e-commerce and experiences side of her business by hiring more people.
- 01:15:00 In this section, Brittany Taylor discusses the potential for expansion and growth for Black Lux. She emphasizes the importance of reinforcing their base before expanding too rapidly, as this could lead to collapse. The duo is currently focused on hiring the right people who believe in the mission and vision of Black Lux, which is a challenging process. Brittany acknowledges that duplicating their level of passion is difficult, but not impossible, and they are actively working to find the right people to help scale the business. They are also considering acquiring a small distributor to complement Black Lux and address inventory challenges. Overall, they are mentally preparing for potential acquisitions and seeking avenues for growth to scale the business at a much greater clip.
- 01:20:00 In this section, Brittany and Julius discuss the importance of sharing their story and journey as it allows people to connect with them and provide support. They also emphasize the need for action rather than extensive planning, stating that it’s better to start with a half-baked plan and dive in while learning from feedback rather than waiting for the perfect plan to fall in place. They share their approach of having a big sticky note as a primary goal and working towards completing everything on it. Julius thanks Brittany and Julius for sharing their story and wishes them all the best in their future endeavors.
People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode
What You’ll Learn
Interview with Brittany Taylor and Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company
|[00:00:08] Introduction to Trep Talks and Guests
|[00:00:48] Appreciation and Welcome to Black Luxe Candle Company
|[00:01:38] How the Idea for the Candle Company Came About
|[00:03:00] Brittany’s Background and Marketing Insights
|[00:05:00] Julius’ Science Background and Collaborative Efforts
|[00:06:00] Launching Black Luxe Candle Company
|[00:07:00] Setting Goals and Early Successes
|[00:09:00] Learning from Vendor Show Experiences
|[00:12:00] Discovering the Potential
|[00:13:00] Setting Goals for 2020
|[00:14:00] Unexpected Challenges
|[00:15:00] Focusing on Black Luxe
|[00:16:00] Shifting to E-commerce and Marketing
|[00:17:00] Building an Engaged Community
|[00:18:00] Unexpected Promotion and Sales Boost
|[00:19:00] Reaching New Heights with Influencer Support
|[00:20:00] Chasing the $10,000 Goal
|[00:21:00] The Importance of Professional Photography
|[00:22:00] September Birthday and Sales Target
|[00:23:00] Final Thoughts and Closing Remarks
|[00:23:08] Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Starting the Business and Celebrity Promotion
|[00:24:00] Surpassing the 4K Goal and Transitioning into a Business
|[00:25:14] Balancing Future Planning and Focusing on the Present
|[00:26:00] Creating a Successful Candle Sale Strategy
|[00:29:00] Impressive Results of the Silver Saturday Sale
|[00:30:00] Challenges of Scaling Up Production and Moving into a Studio
|[00:32:00] Teaching Entrepreneurship and Financial Literacy
|[00:34:00] Success of the Lux Like Collection and Conclusion
|[00:35:12] Hesitations and Concerns
|[00:35:35] Seizing the Opportunity
|[00:36:00] Convincing and Investing in the Pop-Up Space
|[00:36:55] Strategizing for Success
|[00:37:26] Determining the Minimum Revenue Goal
|[00:37:45] Finding Ways to Generate Revenue
|[00:39:00] Overcoming Doubts and Challenges
|[00:43:00] Establishing Work Schedules and Junior Entrepreneurs
|[00:43:34] Learning Together and Building the Business
|[00:44:00] Extending the Pop-Up Period
|[00:45:16] Decision to Stay in the Space
|[00:45:41] Achieving and Surpassing Goals
|[00:46:03] Snowball Effect and Continued Success
|[00:47:14] Black Luxe Candle Company’s growing popularity
|[00:47:56] Focusing on SEO and Google reviews
|[00:49:00] Setting goals for Google reviews
|[00:50:00] The McDonald’s opportunity
|[00:52:00] Moving and expanding with McDonald’s event
|[01:00:03] Allocating Time for Candle Making Classes
|[01:01:09] Roles and Teamwork
|[01:02:01] Revenue Generation and Promotion
|[01:03:00] Importance of Customer Service and Word of Mouth
|[01:13:56] Introduction and Learning Process
|[01:14:07] Future Plans: Scaling, Hiring, and Growth Strategies
|[01:15:23] Reinforcing the Base and Hiring the Right People
|[01:16:00] Duplicating Passion and Finding the Right People
|[01:17:22] Potential Acquisitions and Additional Business Avenues
|[01:19:17] Wrapping Up and Appreciation
In this segment, the guest will answer a few questions quickly in one or two sentences.
Brittany Taylor and Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company
- Book recommendation that you would make to entrepreneurs or business professionals (Response: )
- An innovative product or idea in the current e-commerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Response:)
- A business or productivity tool that you would recommend (Response: )
- Another startup or business that you think is currently doing great things: (Response:)
- A peer entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you (Response: )
- Best business advice you ever received (Response:)
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Hey, there’re entrepreneurs. My name is Sushant and welcome to Trep Talks. This is the show where I interview successful e-commerce entrepreneurs, business executives, and thought leaders. And ask them questions about their business story and also dive deep into some of the strategies and tactics that they have used to start and grow their businesses.
And today I’m really excited to welcome Britney Taylor and Julius Dease to the show. Uh, Britney and Julius are the owners of Black Luxe Candle Company, uh, which creates lu luxury candles and luxury candle making experiences. And today I’m gonna ask Brittany and Julius a few questions about their entrepreneur journey and some of the strategies that they have used to start to grow their business.
So, uh, Julius and Brittany really, really appreciate your time today and, uh, thank you so much for joining Trip Talks. Thank
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: you. Thank you so much [00:01:00] for having us today.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So a very interesting business. Can you share a little bit about your, uh, story? What were you doing before starting this business? Uh, how did you get the idea and what really motivated you to start this, the candle company?
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: All right, so just a quick question. Would you like the short abridge version or kind of somewhat, the long version of it?
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, long version is fine because, you know, the, we were interested in learning about your story, how you got started, how you got the inspir. So, yeah, please give us a, we
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: can, you wanna do the tag team
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: on it?
Yeah, we can tag team it. Okay. So you go ahead and
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: start with, I’ll, I’ll start it again. So, anytime I’m asked this question, cuz we do count classes and we have to introduce our business all of the time cuz people wanna know, why did you get started? Brittany? And I always tell people this one single thing, I did not choose this candle life.
This candle life chose me. And I always explain what I mean by that. [00:02:00] So back in around, um, December, 2018 or so, it was around Christmas time and I was like, oh, I gotta get Christmas gifts. But I was like, well I’m not buying any more Christmas guy gifts. People are gonna get what I made. And it just so happened to be candles this time.
Okay. But with the candles that I had made, it was, uh, I made a little self-care gift set. So in the self-care gifts that it was the candles that I had made. It had, it was a little coloring book, and it was a little bottle of wine because at that time I was really into self-care in z and I wanted to kind of share that with others.
So I gave out these, uh, Christmas gifts, and people came back to me. It was like, Britney, are you gonna sell those candles that you had made? And I said, absolutely not. I’m working full-time corporate. I don’t have time to make candles. Then someone else was like, Britney, are you gonna sell those candles that you had made?
And I said, absolutely not. Then someone else had came back and said, Hey, Britney, would you teach me how to make candles? And I’m like, [00:03:00] I, I can’t teach you like how to make a candle. I don’t even know how to make a candle myself. I just followed the instructions from the Amazon kit that I have received. I don’t know how to make a candle.
But it got me to thinking maybe there’s something to this, maybe I should actually think about this as a business since people are asking of it from me. And at the time I was thinking I could use an extra $400 a month, um, just kind of like a little side distance or something. And I was like, if I did have a business, I can actually be creative in the way that I want to be creative.
Okay. Cuz in corporate jobs, you know, you, you gotta do what they say, can’t do what you wanna do. So, um, in January of 2019, black lux, the idea was born. Okay? So at that time we were only doing candles and we only had one size of candle, which was a four ounce 10, which I don’t have in front of me right now.
But we kept it very basic and very, Very straightforward. We didn’t have a whole bunch of candles to choose from. Only thing that we [00:04:00] had was one size and we had eight different cents for those one size. No, my background is, um, in marketing, I always tell people this because I have a little bit of like, knowledge of what you may need to do for like having a business, at least marketing the business.
And sometimes people, they can have the product, but they don’t know how to market it. So I always tell people I do have a marketing background. Mm-hmm. Um, but one of the things was this, um, I had to figure out if people were gonna actually purchase candles from us. Um, so I actually had to make my very first sets of candles and I was like, oh my gosh.
Okay. I made my very first set of candles by myself, right. And I, I burned this candle. It had a flame. I mean, it lit, but it did not have a smell at all. Okay. Hmm. Candles are, uh, a science Julius here. Uh, uh, my husband [00:05:00] Julius, he is a math and science person. He is a math whiz. Okay. One of those type of people that played math puzzles.
And I went to Julius and I was like, ju um, I think you’re with someone that doesn’t understand math. Okay? I don’t know how this happened, but I think this formula I put together is wrong. So I went to him and he took the formula that I was trying to put together and actually put some mathematics behind it, right?
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Yes, yes. So, um, a little bit about me. This is where I kind of come into the fold of Black Lux itself, and that is my background is actually in education. See, I’m actually a middle school science teacher. And, you know, having that background, having that understanding for the math and the science, for putting things together to make it work is something that I, you know, find fun, interesting.
And I’m passionate about, especially when I get to share that with others. So I went ahead and asked her what she was looking for, what she was trying to do, and then I decided to go ahead and put that formula [00:06:00] together for her to have everything necessary to make the candles what they needed to be and have the fragrance that they needed throughout the life of that candle.
So from there, she actually had products. See, she didn’t necessarily say it, but although she’s, her background is in marketing, the emphasis of her marketing background is in visual communication. So her being able to, uh, visually portray the candles in a way that looks, uh, simple, yet elegant on top of the, um, the fragrance that it was able to have allowed for us to have a, a viable product that we knew others would like to enjoy.
So we were able to take ourselves from there and just kind of build black lux from the ground up to where, where we are now. Black Lux officially launched in April of 2019, and she started with just one goal in mind. She said, if I can make a hundred dollars, I’ll be happy. And I’m like, well, didn’t you spend more than that on the stuff?
She was like, yeah, but that’s not, that’s not what it’s about. And I understood what she was saying, you know, [00:07:00] just something that lets her know that this is worthwhile as far as doing it. Yeah.
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: So the, the reason why I had such a small grow goal of a hundred dollars was just because, It wasn’t, I didn’t take it that serious at first.
This was just like a hobby thing and I really didn’t think, I guess I didn’t really believe in it, believe in it at the time. Mm-hmm. I was just like, okay, this is something fun I can do. But since my, also, this is the one thing I need to make note of, since my background is in marketing, I understood that you can’t just sell to a quote audience.
You have to see if you actually have demand for your product. So I had decided to make the $100 goal and see if people actually purchased and then just kept it really small. But what happened with having this, uh, goal, we, um, actually started to see, we did a pre-order sell. With this pre-order sale. I was just hoping to make $100.
Well, what happened was in the pre-order sale, we made $875 from the [00:08:00] pre-order sale. And then I was like, okay, it’s okay. It’s some interest in these candles. Um, and I was like, All right. I, we sold and got them packaged and sent out. Um, and the first customers basically came from friends, family. Um, we were going to kickboxing at the time, sending the people there, what the people that we were testing the candles with, because I did a lot of like, background work with showing people my process of me learning this, this creating this new business.
And people were following along with the whole process. So they supported that journey. Mm-hmm. Now, one of the things that happened was this, uh, someone invited me to my very first vendor show, and my very first vendor show that someone invited me to was at a church play. Okay. Now at this church play, I was set up, set up my whole table, everything was nice and presentable.
And do you know how much I made in my very first vendor shelf? I won’t have you. Yes. I’ll just tell you. Okay. I [00:09:00] make they’re dollars. I make nothing at my very first vendor show. Okay. And Julius here, my husband, he has done every vendor show with me. Um, he was like, you know what you gained tonight? And I said, what did I gain?
Seemed like I wasted my time tonight. He said, you gained experience. And I was like, oh my God, he’s right. I did gain experience. I had never done a vendor show before. I’d never had to get out there and actually try to sell my products to people. So he was absolutely right. I did gain experience. So, um, I went on to do my second vendor show and my, uh, second vendor show was at a DJing event out at a park in the suburbs of Illinois.
And we were inside of the field house at this particular, uh, vendor show. And at this particular DJing event, they drink heavily. Okay. So one of the things that when we were thinking about, uh, set up was. Julius was like, you know where we should set up. And I was like, where? He [00:10:00] was like, I was like the front door.
He was like, no, not the front door. We should set up by the bathroom. Because you know, people that drink heavily what they have to do go to the bathroom. So we were inside of the field house as well. Um, we were able to burn our candles right there in front of the bathroom. So a long blind developed in front of this bathroom stall because it was only one, cuz one of them broke down and we were able to burn our candle.
We had that day made $475 worth of candles. Right? Yeah. About that much. About that much. Mm-hmm. And at the time those candles were on, the little candles that we have were $9 each. So that was quite a few candles in one day and I was like, oh my gosh, it’s right. Really something to sell in these candles.
Okay. Maybe the first time is just the fluke. Okay. Um, and. Only The other thing I like to mention about this time is 2019 is when we launched Black Lux, but it’s also the year that, uh, Julius and I got married [00:11:00] as well, and we got married without a wedding coordinator. We did everything ourselves. And I always tell people, zero out of 10, do not recommend.
Okay, get yourself a wedding coordinator. But we got married in August of 2019 and then we won off to our honeymoon, um, for two weeks in Thailand. And when we came back, um, it was like around September time, so Julius was like, Hey, are you gonna sell those candles that you, uh, bought fragrances and stuff for?
And I said, absolutely not. I am tired, I’m exhausted from doing like wedding planning, doing vendor shows. I’m, I don’t wanna do anything. I just wanna go to work and come home. So, um, did you wanna add anything before I move into the next part?
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: I mean, I mean, you,
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: you’re on it. You’re on it. Oh, okay. So, and, uh, around holiday time, November holiday time of 2019, um, my job at the time was like, Hey, we’re gonna have this, [00:12:00] um, artist in market.
Would you like to participate in it? And that was like, yeah. Uh, sure. Cuz it’s around holidays, time. It should be a really good time to actually do something. And that day when I set up my table for the Artisan market, uh, I had made $450 and I was only in four hours. So I was like, okay, there’s really something to this.
Maybe I should start paying attention to this. And since we were coming down to the end of 2019, I’m a new year, new me type of person all the time. Okay. So I’m like, we’re going into 20. 2020 is going to be my year. I am gonna take my business so serious. This is gonna be my year. Okay. The year of Magic. I even had a theme for it.
Everything. So I was getting myself all inspired. So in January I went out to a conference called Creating Cultivate and California, and I was like, there’s a lot of celebrities, entrepreneurs there, you know, people to kind of get you inspired and motivated within your business. [00:13:00] I came back home, back to Chicago, it was like, okay, I am ready.
I am prepared for this. And I did my very first, uh, video shoot for my candles cuz I kind of think about, um, black lux as kind of like my music artist. So I do things in preparation for my music art artist and I’m the producer. So I did my very first music video for my candles for the very first time. Um, that month in February was our first time that we did $1,400 in sales.
I was like, oh my gosh. And we also had moved up to a glass candle as well as having the, um, the little tin can travel tins. So I was like, okay. But then it was started being, what’s covid? What’s the pandemic? I’m like, I don’t know what none of that stuff is. Okay. I’m focused on my business because this is my year for my distance.
So I was setting up for March, 2020 to be my year, but then I got a phone call [00:14:00] March 13th. It says, Hey, we’re gonna work from home for a couple of weeks cuz of this covid thing. Um, and it’ll be fine. And I’m like, well, I really don’t know what any of that stuff is anyway, but I’m finally getting to work from home.
This is what I’ve been wanting to do for a while. But I got a phone call, uh, April 3rd and say, Hey, may I speak with Brittany? I’m like, yes, speaking. He said, I have some unfortunate news for you. I’m like, unfortunate news. He said, yes, we’re laying you off. I said, you’re doing what? They laid me off April 3rd.
But what was interesting about this particular time was that I was due to close on my first multi-unit property April 7th. But you know what happens? With no job, no closing, can’t close with nothing. So the only other interesting thing about this is that April [00:15:00] is also, um, black Lexus anniversary month as well.
Okay. So I had to not focus on just losing my job and losing the property. I was due to close on a few, couple days later. Uh, so Julius was like, Hey, you can cry now, but you need to get over it. You need to focus on black lux. So ever since April 20 April of 2020, I’ve been strictly focused on black lux in black Lux only.
Okay. Um, There was a very big push to support small black-owned businesses in June of 2020, and since we had already been open, um, we were a part of that push. Um, so I had received a message on Instagram because one thing I did mention was like, how do you sell kinds online when people can’t smell them?
Not chime in on that part. Okay. So do this. Wants to make a [00:16:00] remark here. All right.
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Okay. So, um, as things were happening in March and April, we had to take a little bit of a, a pause halfway through March into the beginning of April, and then beginning of April we got the news that we got. But in the process of doing all that, what we decided to do was start by focusing on taking care of ourselves, and then we’d be able to take care of others.
So we came up with a mantra of self-care, then share. Uh, in addition to doing that, what we were thinking of was how we could, like she said, go through the proc, uh, process, um, for, uh, Getting the candles to be sold like online, specifically strictly. And in that process, what we were thinking was it’s continuously, uh, beginning to revamp the verbiage for the way in which we market the product.
So, uh, I started doing things like making adjustments to descriptions and I began promoting, uh, online myself. She was primary, the primary online promoter as far as black lux and things that were going on, all [00:17:00] black lux. I was kind of in the background helping her out from time to time, but not necessarily like being in the forefront.
So making that switch was what allowed us to, uh, get April to be almost. To earn almost twice as much as we did in February. With that, uh, with that, uh, shift, we were able to turn what we had going on into an e-commerce exclusive by, uh, kind of revamping our, our terminology, verbiage and everything else when it came to sent descriptions, how we presented the product to the people.
She did, um, things in regards to making updates to the website so that things looks a lot more, uh, visually presentable because people can’t smell the product. They have to see it and know what to feel when they actually
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: get the product. Well, also on top of those things is that we also realized that we had to build a more engaged community.
Okay. So, uh, what happened was I was like, oh my gosh. How do I [00:18:00] reach more people if, if only thing we have is the internet. So that meant that I had to go live more. So we had came up with this idea of to go live and call it candles and conversation. So we would go live I weekly, some, sometimes it just depended on what we were trying to promote.
But um, this was all built on Instagram. So Instagram was our primary source of getting and gathering customers. In 2020, someone had sent me a message on Instagram and they were asking, say, Hey, what is a wax milk? And I’m thinking to myself like, they don’t really know what a wax smell is, but let me explain to them what a wax smell is.
Had no idea who this person was. Okay, so this person went on to purchase wax smells and candles and. I was like, okay, this is cool. Thank you. I appreciate the support. But there was something interesting about their address and you know, I was like, [00:19:00] let me research this cuz I’m a little bit nosy too. Okay.
This particular address, you know how Google has like, uh, Google Street view so you can see the homes or businesses or whatever. This particular place didn’t have a Google Street view, it only had a Google satellite view. So now I’m really intrigued. I’m like, okay, who is this person? This place was massive in Hollywood heels.
So I went to Instagram to see who this person was. It just, this person just so happened to have a little blue check mark and this person was the mother of someone that was on Real Housewives of Orange County. Hmm. And I was like, okay, her name’s Dr. Death. Um, so. I had, she, she took the product that she liked the most, which was Paula Santo at the time.
She took our product, Paula Santo, and promoted it on her feed and her stories, uh, all on her own. Okay. [00:20:00] We sold so much Paula Santo that we had to do a pre-order sale. For, uh, for that particular cent that month, we had made $4,200. And what was interesting about making that $4,200 is that we made it in two weeks time.
So I was like, okay, this is incredible. So I had another big goal that came to my, after making, reaching $4,200, I was like, my first goal was $100. My next goal was $10,000 in one month. Now, and all this time I was talking, we have never even reached anything near $10,000, but I knew that we could do it.
But with that, I had, I knew also that Black Lux at the time was still a very, very homey brand. Okay. It still needed a lot of work. Everything that you see has been done by myself or Julius, like we done a lot of the work, uh, [00:21:00] ourselves since my background is in marketing visual.
Communication. And I also understand about coding that I was able to do a lot of the work myself. But one thing that I just couldn’t do myself was, uh, photography that is just not my strong suit.
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Hello. Okay,
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: I’m here. Okay, so the photography’s just not my strong suit, but someone had sent me, um, a message on Instagram and said, Hey, you need a recomme recommendation for a photographer.
And I was like, Hey, you know what? I am looking for a photographer actually. And I worked with that photographer on our very first collection, our first, uh, fall collection because one of the things is, is that you just can’t jump to 10 K, you have to build 10 kk. So I had a goal in mind. Instance, I couldn’t get photography together.
I knew that that was one of the key components to shift from [00:22:00] home brand to potentially more. Wi accepted brand because people wanna support small businesses, but it just can’t look too homey. It actually has to look a little professional. Mm-hmm. So September is also our birthday, eight month. Okay. And I was like, we have some opportunities there to actually increase ourselves.
And I told Julie it’s, this is gonna be another, uh, opportunity to, um, have another 4K month now. When we had dis discussion, Julius was like, maybe you can do 4K in 30 days. And I said, absolutely not. We’re going to do 4K in September, not in 30 days. So we still fuss back and forth about that little logistical detail.
Right. Mm. Because I was Right. Okay. Not, no, it’s not a
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: fuss, it’s just she was intentionally intending to launch the. The fall collection with that photography come mid-September, like just before her birthday. Uh, and I was saying [00:23:00] since it’s starting, you’re starting the collection in mid-September. How about we do mid-September to mid-October?
She said, no, no, I said September. So I’m like, okay,
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: I don’t want no trouble. Oh, no, no. And,
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: and sure enough I was like, well, let’s go on and make it happen then. One way or the other. We’ll, we’ll figure it out. Yeah. So we went ahead and did that. And as we did that, what we also did was we reached out to someone, uh, in regards to seeing if they’d be willing to promote the business.
And the person we reached out to was actually another real housewife. We actually reached out to the Real Housewives of Atlanta F Parks and no surprise to us she was willing to do the promotion. She did a promotional video for us and uh, we were able to launch that video within that time for that fall collection.
So people were able to see that there was a bit of celebrity backing behind, uh, black lux candles. And that helped us not just reach that 4K goal by the end of September, but it also helped, it helped us go beyond that. We ended up doing over six K in that month [00:24:00] over like nearly a two week period. Yes. So it was pretty interesting.
It was pretty cool to see that that happened, but it was letting us know that this is turning into a business business. It’s not just, you know, hobby. You know, mind you, I was actually still working and she didn’t actually emphasize the fact that since. Early since like mid 2019, I had been the one making the candles because she developed a bit of an allergy from all the fragrance oils.
Mm-hmm. So I’m background making the candles and doing everything. I say, just put it out there and whatever people need, I make it, don’t worry about it. So I often say like, she’s the C E O, I’m the c o o I make sure the operations can actually take place. And from there we just keep pushing and keep making it happen that way.
So we were well on our way to that 10 k goal by seeing what we were able to do in September. So oftentimes when she’s focused on a specific month to make certain things happen, I usually focus on the hearing and now for whatever may be happening so that we can maintain the, uh, the status quo and keep that flow [00:25:00] going so that we don’t have to make such a huge jump into whatever it is we’re aim towards.
So I help her, uh, balance out. Her ideas and her goals. That way we can actually work towards the bigger goals and helping us get there.
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: overall, so, so essentially it’s like I’m more of a future planner, so I, I plan out long term. Julius is more of a hearing right now, so we work in tandem in that way.
So sometimes I get really hyper focused on future things and he gets hyper focused on the hearing and now, so that’s how, like I was focused on September, but we also had an October to still, and I told Juli, you need to figure that out also. Same thing with August. Because I was focused on September, so the next month that I was focused on was November, because I said if we were gonna have a $10,000 a month, it’s gonna happen during the holiday period, and it’s going to be in November.
So that was my primary month to make the $10,000. Okay. But I knew [00:26:00] it was a couple of things that we were up against when thinking about this. All right. So first thing that came to mind was when this Bath and Body works, uh, candle day, because when, whatever type of cell we do, we need to have this cell way before, uh, BA, bath and Body Works.
And then I’m like, okay, black Friday, can we do a cell then? Absolutely not. We cannot do a sell for, for Black Friday because one thing, two, couple things. We’re not selling shoes. We’re not selling. People are not very interested in what we candles on Black Fridays. They’re waiting for other types of promotions.
So I was like, oh my goodness, what can we do? So we decided not to recreate the wheel. We decided to mimic the wheel of things that already worked. Okay. So we decided to make our own candle date, okay. But we decided to have our own candle day before Black Friday. And we had made it the weekend before on the Saturday and we caught it, our Silver Saturday cell.
That I told Youli, [00:27:00] this cell needs to be impressive. I mean, I mean extremely impressive. Where if they saw it, there’s no way that they can turn it down. So we don’t generally have like a bunch of cells through the year. It’s kind of like our standard set price, and we have some cells here and there, but we knew that if we offered one, people would most likely go towards it because we had a very, very engaged audience at the time because we were so focused on candles and conversations.
So people were there. So I asked Julius, I said, this cell has to be impressive. How can we make these candles be 75% off? And he said, Okay, so what we decided to do was to have four Kindle senses, um, that were 75% off. Okay. Now, I won’t say the quantity of each one, but they were 75% off limited Quantit quantities
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: available.
Yes. Certain, certain ones. There were only so much available and other ones there was a bit more abundance, but [00:28:00] 75% off of four fragrances. But I told her if that’s the case, we wanna make sure everyone has access to it. So we needed to sweeten the pot a bit. Yes. So what I decided to do was my own component of the sale based on a previous sale that I did back in August.
What I decided to do, I said, here’s what we can do. We can do 50% off every three week. We have available for the first two hours of that sale. Mm-hmm. So it’d be a two hour, 50% off early in the day 9:00 AM But then I said, but then here’s what we can do. We can do 40% off the next two hours. And do 30% off the next three hours so people can recognize that there’s a cascade effect, that everyone can get a deal, but the best deal is gonna be right at the beginning of the day.
So it’s putting in people’s minds the idea that they want to get there before anybody else buys what it is they want at the best price. We want. Sure. That we had people lined up like they were lined up outside for TVs and everything else like that on a Black Friday. I said, we want them to do like, it’s [00:29:00] a a, a Star Wars convention outside or something.
Right? Hmm. So we put it together like that. We set it up, we, um, Got ready to launch the sale on, um, what was it, November 19th of 20? Yeah, 20. And we got ready to launch that time and 8 58 that morning. We’re looking on the website and we’re seeing like a whole bunch of active carts, like people, like it’s actually worked, like people are lined up.
With their carts ready to buy. So at nine o’clock we hit that button and put those sales on, and sure enough, by like 9 0 4 or something, we had people reaching out to us saying, I can’t get my candles because they’re all sold out. What happened? It was just in my cart. It was like, whoa. It was like amazing.
Like we knew it would work, but we didn’t realize how well it would actually work. Yeah. It was a testament to letting us. There might be something to this as far as us knowing what we’re doing.
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: Yes, it was, it was, since we had such an engaged audience, it was, it worked so well that I, it was just, it impressed me.
Okay. And at the [00:30:00] time, we were still at home making candles. We had no production area. It’s just myself and Julius, uh, doing this. So in November, not only did we do $10,000 in sales, we did $12,000 in sales. Okay. So I was like, oh my gosh. We still have to make. $10,000 worth of candles at home. Julius is a teacher and he is working remotely, so thank goodness for that because he could stay home and still make candles.
Now Julius, when he tells the stories, he say, you always have to leave with a forgiving heart. And I always say this. You have to speak for yourself, Julius, because he was yelling at me during this time. Okay. Cause we’ve had so many candles to kind of keep track of. And I had made a mistake and mixed a couple of scents up and I couldn’t remember.
So he was mad at me,
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: but she calls it yelling. I was, I was a little frustrated, but I wasn’t yelling at Kristen. Yes.
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: Working so closely with someone all the time does [00:31:00] cause frustrations and sometimes working very long hours with the person. So it took us around two weeks to get all of the candles out, but we got them out.
Okay. That was really rewarding. Okay. But someone sent me a message on Instagram again. Cause like I said, Instagram was our Jam M at the time. And they said, Hey Brittany, are you ready to stop making candles at home? And that was. I, I don’t know, maybe it’s a, I have this place out and home with Illinois in the suburbs of Illinois.
And I was like, uh, okay. And they said, you should go check it out. So I went to go check out this place and I had no intentions on getting a place at all. Okay. But then I was thinking, what would smart Brittany do? What would be the best thing to do for the business? I took all of the money that we had made in November and I reinvested it back, right back into the business.
Okay. So, uh, at the top of, uh, 2021, we moved into, uh, our candle studio and I invested all of the [00:32:00] dollars in, into it, and we pay for the studio for the year. Um, so we moved in and by June of 2021, um, Julius, do you wanna take the, over this part? Sure.
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Actually before June, like I said, I was still teaching, so I’m teaching my kids remotely and fortunate for being able to teach remotely.
What I was able to do, uh, a handful of times was actually show the kids the candle making process. I basically set it up the way we’re, you know, talking now, and I had, you know, an additional camera from my phone on there, it says, showcase how the, uh, the candle making process goes so they can see the science behind it, you know, melting of the wax and all that stuff.
Right. So, uh, after a while I started, you know, I was talking to them about some of the financial stuff that was going on in the news and in the world around February and March, you know, with the, the GameStop stuff and the crypto stuff going on. Making a, a connection between the real world and what’s actually happening inside the classroom.
Mm-hmm. But I came up with the idea of actually asking my kids if they’d be interested in being a part of a summer [00:33:00] program where they learned about entrepreneurship and financial. Sure, sure enough, a handful of ’em actually said yes. So I was like, oh, okay. So I guess I gotta make the program now. It was just an idea at first.
So I go ahead and make this program and let, uh, I say by June of 2021, um, what I have set up is for me going and pick up picking up a handful of my eighth grade graduates and bringing them down to the studio and I’m teaching them all the ins and outs of entrepreneurship using black lux as a model, understanding like the inventory, understanding like, you know, just development of unit rates and all that stuff like that, the marketing behind it, uh, like the making of the candles themselves and all that stuff.
Everything. They were able to do everything within, uh, black Lux to the point where they were able to create their own candle collection within Black Lux, uh, called the Lux Like Collection. They did all parts of it, uh, choosing fragrances, writing the descriptions for them, making the candles themselves, like all parts of the marketing for it, taking the photos.
Everything they were able to do, they were able to make happen for their collection. [00:34:00] To the point where their collection was able to sell out by the end of the summer. Hmm. A friend, an old friend of mine from high school, he actually saw this online cause I was promoting it online as well, just showcasing like what I’d been doing with Black Lux and like how their, the contributions.
I’ve been able to help with that. Cause I had to raise a little bit of money to support them because they were actually getting a stipend from me as well. Mm-hmm. So I decided to make sure they were getting something for that summer program for the hard work they were putting in. And he was saying, Hey, I really like what you got going on.
I think I have a space in my match, your aesthetic. So I was like, okay, cool. Let me see the pictures in, sent me some pictures. So he sent me some photos and he sent me the address as well. And I was like, oh, okay. I see how it might matter aesthetic. And with that address, I’m like, oh yeah, we definitely gotta check that out.
But before they, our initial, our initial thought was that they were. He was like trying to see about us doing like a, uh, a vendor show or a popup or something like that. So we were at first thinking about it that way and was like, okay, it might be an idea. But then I [00:35:00] was thinking, uh, we can possibly get this space and really like turn it out to where we can beat the previous year’s sales for the holiday season.
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: And I was like, Julius had all of these ideas, but we’re like, people are freshly out of the house. Like, we’re like, we’re just, we’re still wearing masks and like, it was still ordinance to wear masks in public. It’s like ju we, what do you mean? Like considering getting a popup? We can’t do that. Um, I’m not, and first off, I’m not really interested in seeing people right now.
Um, and then Julius was really. Pressing for us to actually get, uh, get this space. Um,
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: I knew basically what was to come was the idea that people are gonna be anxious to get outside and do something and they were gonna have enough. They were gonna get to a point where they were tired of just being on the computer, looking at what’s going on in the world and they wanna actually be out in the world.[00:36:00]
So I thought of it as an opportunity for us to already be ready for the people once they actually got out. So we, uh, decided to go. I eventually convinced her and I said, you know what? I’ll, I believe so much in it. What I’ll do is I’ll front the money myself. So I put all the money up for the pop-up space for.
A period of September through January. So I said, we’ll get the space for four months. And I put a caveat in a contract saying like, if things are going well, we can just keep things going at the, the rate that we
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: hadn’t set for. So before you get to that part mm-hmm. Okay. When we have this conversation about this popup, um, because it’s initially we were only thinking about getting it for a weekend or two just to do like some candle making classes and such, but then it started to make more and more sense that the cheaper would be the longer we’ll stay there.
So the thing was this, um, I’m like, Julius, [00:37:00] how are we going to afford a store? We literally just got the candle studio at the top of the year, and in no way, shape or form, I thought we were ready for this. Okay? We’re only selling candles. We’re not, we’re not ready. I, we can’t really do that. And I’m like, He was like, well, eventually it started to land on, we should get the space from September to December as a pop-up just to see how things are going.
And I said, Julius, in order for us to make this space make sense, we have to make a minimum of $30,000 from September to December. And he was like, oh. Uh, okay. You need to figure it out cause we’re gonna get this space. Okay. Because we can’t neglect the fact that you said that. Okay. I said, we’re gonna figure it out.
He said, we have to figure this out. I said, is no, like, what do you mean we have to figure this out? I said, no one’s not gonna just naturally come into a store space and just wanna bite candles. He said, well, it’s not gonna just be candles. We have to find a way to pay this rent here. [00:38:00] He said, well, what about the candle making classes?
It’ll be something that’s fun and engaging and people can do it. We had already tried doing like a digital, um, uh, candle making class already, and we had some participants in that. Um, but I really was like, I don’t know about this.
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Yeah. See, prior to, uh, prior to this even happening, I actually tested the candle making class component out at the studio for that previous Mother’s day.
I had my mom and a couple of my sisters and my nieces come through and we did a whole candle making class set up that way. So, When we did that, you know, I, we laid everything out. We had everything set, and I was like, okay, this actually functioned well enough for everybody to enjoy themselves. Yeah. I can actually see this happening.
If we wanted to push forward with something like this, should the opportunity arise, I saw the, the new space as an opportunity for us to be able to take advantage of something that we already had. Uh, previous knowledge for how to make work. Yeah. [00:39:00] So I was convincing Brittany here that this is something we can make work because we have something that others are gonna wanna do.
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: I was not a believer because I’m like, we’re, this is still fresh and pandemic and people are barely still going outside. Do you really think that they’re gonna come into a space and wanna make a candle? I said, we have to make ’em come. Yeah. He said, yeah. He said it was my responsibility to make them come.
Okay. But also what was interesting about this particular time of August, 2021 is when I was diagnosed with my hearing loss, okay. Hearing loss is new to me. And I’m like, Julius, how are we gonna open the store and I can’t hear people anymore. He said, I don’t know, but you better figure it out cause we’re gonna get this store.
Okay? And I said, oh my. We’re gonna get this store. He’s like, he said he, he said I was gonna cover all the responsibility of the store, which he did. Okay. But now I had to figure out how to actually get people into the store. [00:40:00] So we signed the lease on this place, September 1st, and we started getting ready.
Julius only gave me two weeks time. He wanted to open this store by September 15th. Okay. We, this, this space was completely empty. We had no materials for a, uh, a actual storage. So I had to go immediately into thinking, working mode of how to make this happen. And at the time, there is a shortage of materials everywhere, okay?
So I had to get really savvy in two weeks. I had to use Facebook marketplace. I had to use, um, what’s the other little, other apps of marketplace apps to find materials. IKEA was so out of bookshelves tables, it was nothing at ikea. I had to piece together a store to actually make it work. I think I brought only one actual table from Ikea and I had to get the other bookshelves, some bookshelves [00:41:00] from Ikea because it was also back to school time for people in colleges.
So people were buying stuff up for back to school and there was no materials, but we managed to make the store happen and make it work and pull together and looked really nicely within those two weeks time. But then September 15th got here and I was like, Julius, can I have more time to actually uh, open this store?
Remember, our birthdays are in September, so Julius is like, yes, but you need to get this place open by your birthday. And I’ve said, are you serious? So what
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: I gave her, I told her we were gonna do a grand opening on Saturday, September 25th. I said, we’re gonna do a grand opening Saturday, September 25th, so matter.
No matter what’s going on, we are gonna have this set up so that we can do our grand opening at that time. Regardless of what’s happening, mind you, it’s just she and I who are doing this as far as physically putting this store together. So I’m like leaving school and coming there at night [00:42:00] and b, putting stuff together.
Uh, we’re making trips to Ikea, coming back, building up the furniture, everything like that. We managed to push through and get everything all set up by September 25th for our grand opening slash birthday celebration of the owner here, Brittany. That’s the way we set it up because we wanted people to see it as a fanfare type of experience, something to come and be introduced to, and it worked out well.
It worked out well enough for us to, although it seemed as though black locals shut down for the month of September that day in particular, pretty much made up for what it was. We would generally do over the course of a month, uh, or at least a half month in that regard. Yeah. For, for sales, it was like, wow, okay.
We, we got it going on. So by October we were like putting things together to regularly be there. I set up our work schedules at the storefront itself so that she wouldn’t be overloaded with. Uh, physically having to be there every single day. Yeah. And I would be able to take on the brunt of like communicating with the people.[00:43:00]
So we did Thursdays through Sundays as our, our general, no standard operating times in the store. Mm-hmm. She’d be there Thursdays, Fridays I’d be there Saturdays and Sundays so that we’d be able to make it all work for us and for the customers. Yeah. In addition to that, she was like, very early on, she was worried about like, we don’t even have workers.
How are we gonna do this? And I said, don’t worry about that either. So what I ended up doing was I asked my, uh, my kids, my junior entrepreneurs, if they’d be interested in being a part of Black Lexus’s, continued growth and learning more about, uh, entrepreneurship and business from a brick and mortar standpoint.
So they get to learn about, uh, customer service, taking care of the space and things like that, and understanding how that leads into the growth of a business. And sure enough, they said yes. So from that point, every weekend I would actually go and get them and they’d be a part of that learning process because essentially we are learning at the same time because this is our first brick and mortgage.
So we’re all learning how to make all of this work. We’re putting our heads together to, you know, bring people into the space [00:44:00] and doing what we had to do to just allow black lux to build what it was we had at that point in time, which was starting with nothing as far as the brick and
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: mortar’s concerned.
Yes. So by January, this was only technically supposed to be a pop-up, but things were going, starting to work really, really well. Um, traction was building and we decided, uh, to stay in the, in the building. So at the time we knew that the building, we didn’t know the building was for sale. Right? Yeah. The
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: building, the original idea for the building itself was my, uh, friend, uh, who reached out and offered it to me.
They said that they couldn’t do a long-term contract cause the building itself was for sale. And in order for them to sell it, they had to have the option for the building to be emptied out too. So we were the contract to be there for the four month period with the, uh, With the incorporated idea that if the building sold before that time came up, then we would just be, you know, have to cut it short and have a 60 day notice and all that.
[00:45:00] Hmm. We knew that that was a case. She was actually worried about that being the case, but I said, let’s ride it out and see what we can do. Cause if we are seeing that this is working and we may be able to transition to another space and continue to make it work. Well, by the time January came, the building hadn’t been sold and we decided to go ahead and stay in the space.
Mm-hmm. Um, by that point we had done the 30 k goal that we had reached out, reached for, uh, for the, uh, fourth quarter of 20, uh, 21. So it was like, wow, we actually made it work. This is happening. This is, uh, building up. Her anticipation was that January would slow down a bit after the holiday season, and then she like, began to prepare for the, the next holiday season.
But that’s not what happened. January ended up doing even better than the previous, uh, couple of months and she was like, whoa, what’s happening right now? And I told her like, it’s essentially like this snowball effect as more people get to experience it and more people are coming outside and more are gonna want to actually come and enjoy themselves as long as they’re recognizing that [00:46:00] Black Lux is a place where they can have this type of fun that they’re
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: looking for.
Yeah. So someone, um, so sometime in January, someone in Hank came into this space with their, with their mother, and it was just like a quiet night and they made a. And they posted their experience on TikTok. And what happened was other people started to see this TikTok. I had got a phone call and they was saying, Hey, I just saw your business on TikTok.
I know you guys are gonna be extremely busy this weekend. Cause now we’re rolling into February and you know, it’s Valentine’s Day. And I’m like, I have no idea what you’re talking about. And I haven’t posted any videos on TikTok. So I went and looked up the video that they were talking about on TikTok and sure enough, it was this video that someone had taken.
Ever since that TikTok video, we have been having non-stop TikTok ERs come into our space to patronize. So our business had shifted from Instagram being our primary source of [00:47:00] engagement to it being TikTok and Google. Um, so February, Things had really started to take off with the hell of TikTok. Um, so much so that we started having like sold out like time slots.
Cuz we only like on like Saturdays and Fridays we only have four time slots. On Thursday we have two. On Sunday we only have three. But those time slots started to fill up and sell out. So my Mother’s Day things, mother’s Day’s weekend, we had a completely sold out weekend and things were like, like people were, it was like overbooking.
They were calling to see if they can actually take classes at this time. And we’re like, no, we don’t have any space. So now Black Lux has grown even more in this short amount of time because of the help of TikTok in Google, which came naturally from the people, not from mm-hmm. Our own. Mm-hmm. Yeah, from our own posts.
Although we knew that Google, well Julius and I [00:48:00] talked about this, we knew that Google would probably be, um, a launching path to growing Black Lux even more. So we had really got focused on s e O and actually. Asking people about considering, uh, to do a review for us on Google because we knew that people were gonna be searching for things and things to do.
So we really worked on that, and that has been our primary focus is to work on like key words, uh, that people may search for. Mm-hmm. Um, so it had became our primary, uh, goal to increase our ranking on Google. So we went from maybe rank 26 up to top two. Uh, search, just based on my knowledge of knowing that SEO is one of the key ways to get more people, get in front of more people.
And the way to do that is with having reviews, having keywords set up in your, uh, uh, meta titles and all of that other stuff as well. [00:49:00] Mm-hmm. So, uh, Julius and I had talked about it and saying, okay, how do we, uh, strategize with getting more Google reviews and how do we get more reviews to our actual website too?
So that was our goal for 2022. Um, my initial goal was to just get 50 reviews and Julius was like, I think we can get to a hundred. So I’m like a hundred. I’m always, always estimating very lowly, very safely. Julius is not very safe. He goes towards the, uh,
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: the higher sound, like a good thing. I’m not, look, look,
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: look, I’m more risky risk doing.
It’s like we’re gonna do it and I know we’re gonna make it happen. So this is where we kinda have that, that we kind of bounce off of each other as far as our energy go. Cuz we are, we’re, we’re totally different in the way that we come together, but we find it compromise from the, from both. Um. We had started to grow.
But what happened was in June we had got our [00:50:00] no, our six a day notice that the building had sewed. And it’s time for us to leave. And I’m like, oh my gosh, the businesses is doing extremely well right now. And now we have to think about moving. And at the same time we had got a, um, uh, a live chat message, not an email, but a live chat message from McDonald’s corporation.
Cause uh, uh, McDonald’s headquarters is here in Chicago. So they were like, we would like to do a candle making class at our headquarters for our fall fest. And I’m like, oh my gosh, how are we gonna pull this off to have a big client like McDonald’s and said, let’s do it. Yeah. And they wanted to host it for 45 people.
At the same time, we’re thinking about where are we going to move to? Um, so we had start the process of moving and then we also had a pre-claim. So,
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: What,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: get the kind of like a corporate team building kind of an experience that they
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: were looking for or? Yeah. [00:51:00] What they were looking to do, they had this thing each year called Fall Fest where they, you know, essentially get like, uh, many members of the corporation from I think all over the country Really?
The company. Yeah. It was all over the country. Yeah. They come in and they enjoy themselves, like lightening the mood and focus on self care for themselves mm-hmm. As well as one another. And they wanted black Lux to be a part of that experience for their teams. Mm-hmm. Now, they initially signed, uh, signed up for this idea as far as working things out and wanted to do like 45 people and.
Anytime anybody asks us to do something, Brittany brings the idea to me and says, people wanna do this. I say, let’s do it. And then she’s like, but how we gonna, we’re gonna figure it out every single time. I said, we’ll figure it out. And we went through this process to go through the figuring out part. Um, all in the midst of having, um, some personal life things happen to us.
Some pre-planned vacation stuff happened with us that we had to get situated. [00:52:00] And like the summer just being what it was. And by I’d say August of 2022, um, McDonald’s reached out again and they. Said, we can come and check out the space so we can logistically set up how we wanna do it. And after, uh, checking out the space logistically and telling them this is how we can make it happen, they reached out to us again and said, Hey, we wanna do it for 125 people.
So we like, oh, okay, let’s see how we can make that work. So we had already logistically figured it out. I’m like, okay, I’m gonna make it work one way or the other. So we put it, we put our heads together, we made it, uh, made it work out. And the day that we had the McDonald’s event was actually the exact same day that we were slated to move out of our space.
Hmm. So September 15th, we were slated to move out. So it was essentially like a full year come full circle. And we did that McDonald’s event. We managed to get everything outta the space. 125 people were satisfied with the experience that they had when it came to their Black Oaks [00:53:00] County making experience inside the McDonald’s headquarters space.
So it was a. Another testament to the fact that like, okay, we this like business is like really actually doing something and it seems like we have an idea about what it is we’re doing. We work well as far as working in tandem with each other, bouncing ideas off each other, and. Finding ways to make things work.
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: Yes. So September, the business was basically closed, uh, because we had already had a pre-planned vacation for our birthdays and such. And plus we had to move into the new space, which we did find, which was only like five minutes, five minute drive from where we were, um, on a busier street. Um, so we opened back up October 14th because the people were reaching out to us asking, when are you guys gonna reopen?
I would like to have my birthday party here. And every since October 14th, we had been sold out every single weekend. Um, every since then we were, it’s been nonstop work. [00:54:00] We finally got to a slower period here in March, but we had no time to actually. Uh, do anything else but black lux, um, ever since October 14th, I think because we had to close for a few weeks, that it kind of pushed the anticipation for us to open, um, more.
And then people just started booking out. And since things started saying sold out, sold out, sold out, people started booking faster, faster and faster because people knew that if they didn’t get it, they wouldn’t necessarily get a spot. Um, so I’m thinking like we did the best we ever done on our last quarter, uh, quarter four of, um, of 2022, and then January of 2023 came, and it is been our best month ever and so much sold that every weekend was sold out from January into February,
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: from mid-January to February.
Like everything was sold out.
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: Everything was sold out, including on Fridays [00:55:00] and Saturdays and Sundays. They were all sold out. And then, It just, it kept going. It was like, we haven’t been, like, we’ve started getting more corporate events. We started getting more, um, private parties more and more and more. So we’re still at the store.
And one of the more challenges that I have right now is maintaining both because the candle bus, the candle classes essentially is its own business. And then the candle selling itself, like the actual candle product has become its own product. So they’re like two different businesses as one. Um, so that’s kind of our story from start to start to end.
And where we are currently, it’s like we do primarily candle classes that has taken over everything that we do cuz we really hyperfocused on the experience of it all. And people just kept sharing their experience.
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Yeah. Now with that’s the candle cla the candles themselves, we were able to keep that part going, but at the same time it paled in [00:56:00] comparison to the rate at rich things, which things were going.
When it came to the candle making experience. Uh, but we were still getting things that where people would come for the experience and they would like that so much that they’d actually end up buying candles too. The candles themselves mm-hmm. Became a, uh, like a, an add-on. Yeah. It became like an add-on where they can actually buy the candles within the store space or people ordering online from all over the country and being able to see that and say like, Ooh, I wanna do something like that, or I want to get that.
And it, it turned into this, like this addition to the candle classes as opposed to the candle classes being some addition to the e-commerce component. So we were able to adapt shift and get them to like, just get whatever part of black lux they wanted from us. I mean,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: first of all, I wanna say such an interesting story.
I mean, there’s so much detail and so many lessons for any entrepreneur to learn. I mean, uh, the couple of comments that I want to make, number one is, Um, I think [00:57:00] both of you have a great teamwork going on. Uh, so you kind of like compliment each other. And, and, um, and the second thing I think is that, you know, the thing that you guys are doing really well, uh, is that you’re setting goals for your business, right?
And, um, I guess, you know, from from,
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: um,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: you know, you’re, you’re kind of not looking at limitations. So, you know, Julius is able to set a certain goal and say, you know, maybe Brittany, you are kind of a little bit scared of that, but you know, Dan, he says, let’s, let’s make it happen. And so that kind of opens your ideas to, you know, how can we now make it happen, right?
So I think, I think that’s such a, such a, such an interesting thing to learn here. Um, the question that that came to my mind was, you know, the, the same thing that you kind of finished on is like you’re kind of running two businesses side by side, right. And now it’s kind of like, you know, you started with.
One product, you know, you got that [00:58:00] business running, but then now you realize that there’s a bigger opportunity here. And in terms of creating this, um, candle experiences business, um, how, how are you balancing that? Like, do you see that, you know, at a certain point you will have to either hire more people so that you know, you can run everything together?
Cause I, I would assume there’s only so much that, you know, two people can do. And I’m not sure if your students are still participating
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: in it. That is, and that is a million dollar question. Uh, like literally the million dollar question, because this is something that she, we discussed and it’s also something that she fusses at me about a lot too.
Like, how we gonna keep making this work? How can we keep doing this? And oftentimes what I say is it’s just a matter of how we go about allocating that. And one of the things that we do, I’m kind of give an example of how we, uh, do this. Now, we’ve been doing, by the way, are you, are you
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: still working? Are
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: you still a teacher?[00:59:00]
That’s another question too. That’s actually another big important question too. Honestly, I’ve been teaching all the way up to this past school year, so even like, even in. I was going in the building that 20 21, 20 22 school year, uh, when we first got into the storefront space. So while all that was happening, like I said, I do Saturdays and Sundays.
She’d do Thursdays and Fridays. Actually some Fridays I’d, some Friday nights, I’d come in right after work and help with that part. So I was basically doing seven days a week for a full school year. Hmm. And just continuing to make that work. The demand wasn’t quite as high, um, as it is now. So I was able to make it happen, but I was still being pulled apart at the scenes.
So I knew prior to the start of the 2021 school year that that school year was gonna be my last school year before I actually took a bit of a leave of absence to transfer what I was doing at Black Lux to someone who was [01:00:00] capable of doing what I’m doing, and I can go back into teaching right after that.
However, black Lux began to transform, and you can’t necessarily transfer something that’s in a transformation process because you’re still growing through it. So at this one, it’s like I’m. In limbo still deciding on whether or not I’m gonna go back just this following year or just keep things going with black Lux until I can actually pass it on to someone.
In the meantime, what we were doing was just, like I said, allocating the time for when to make things happen. Over the course of February, we were doing vendor shows as well as having candle making classes, even on days when we weren’t working like in the store. So we basically had it set for on certain days and in certain times would we would be, when we would actually go through an extensive candle making process.
We’d make a whole bunch of candles all together at once and get it all done that way. In addition to that, look, it was a time when I still have my dream entrepreneurs who are able to come in and help out and they’re willing to do that whenever, you know, whenever I [01:01:00] call on them. Yeah. So they get the chance to, you know, get some opportunities to do a little bit of work, get a little bit of money, and.
All continue to make it work that way. They’ve been an integral part of this as well. But
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: to the point, it’s still just us two primarily doing the work. We may like for some of the web stuff that I can’t, like guy need custom, I still outsource for something that, but a lot of stuff we can do ourselves. So we do really, we do our parts really, really well.
We kind of hyper focus on not stepping on each other’s tolles for the parts that we do really well. Julius is the primary person that does the candle classes, especially with my, uh, what my hearing loss is a little more of a challenge for me. So Julius is, since he’s a teacher and the educator, he’s already used to kind of putting on performances and shows.
So he is the primary person that people come to see, but it’s still basically us. It’s still the same setup. It’s still us two plus some of the, the, the, uh, high school students that we use. [01:02:00]
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Very interesting.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So, so your candle, uh, experience business is, is it, would you say it’s more revenue generating, uh, as opposed to your e-commerce business?
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Yes. Yes it is. Okay. Mm-hmm. Very
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: interesting. How and how do you promote it? Like how, how do people know about it? I know you said that
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: as far as promotion? Yeah. As far as promotion goes, uh, I actually put a bit of an emphasis on this. We started things out when we first got in the space, she made like a Facebook ad or something like that, and that was about it.
From there, our own promotion was more organic. We wanted to just tell people about it. Yeah, push it on, let’s say on various little websites or on Facebook groups or things like that. Just kind of letting people know about it or like naturally and organically and from there as more people got to know about it.
I mean, honestly I go outside and tell people who are walking past, Hey, you wanna learn about the do channel making class? And sure enough, I got one of our first customers just by doing that. Um, um,
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: but, [01:03:00] but as far as promotion, We don’t, especially like the last year or so, we haven’t, the people have, uh, promoted for us it’s been more so word of mouth and tos, uh, that people create when they come in.
Mm-hmm. Um, they’ve generated all the interest for us. So we can’t, I can’t, I can’t say thank you enough to the people cuz the people has grown black lives. It’s like a, a people driven business. Um mm-hmm. We’ve, we are ourselves, like the way that we are speaking, communicating with you is the same way that we speak and communicate with the customers.
And then we always get the comment. It’s like, Hey, when I come into this space, I feel like I’m at home. I feel like you guys are real down on earth people. One of the things is, is that, uh, people are not really accustomed to the owners actually doing the work inside of the space. So they’re like, they feel connect, connected to that and it resonates with them.
So they like, feel even more compelled to help the business cuz they feel one connected to it. Like, and it’s like directly impacting us and they see it. Hmm. Um, so. Telling our story and tell our, our journey. [01:04:00] Like we tell this story to them and they feel compelled to share with others, but we make sure that everyone feels welcome.
Our number one priority is customer service.
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Mm-hmm.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah. I’m very curious. Um, I, I know we are kind of over time, uh, I don’t know if you have any, uh, a few more minutes, but, uh, I’m, I’m very curious though. So, um, what, what, what do you think is the reason that this experience business is actually working? Is it, I mean, I, I would assume part of the reason is that of course, you know, we are coming out of Covid.
People are sitting inside the homes for two years now. They want to go out and do things, and maybe there are not a lot of these kind of experiences out there in the city that you’re in. And so this is kinda an option that give, that’s giving to people. And also what are the kinds of people who actually participate in this?
Is it like people coming out to have, you know, their first date, um, this is a fun experience to have? Or is it kind of like, you know, people having birthday parties or, uh, can you share a little bit about why [01:05:00] people are coming to this or, you know, what is the, what is the reason that is getting so
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: popular?
Well, this is the fun part for me because honestly people are coming because they see it as an experience that they want to have for themselves. Um, as we have. Done these candle classes. What I honestly did at the beginning was tell people that they could continue to support us by, um, doing Google searches for Black books candles by sharing their experience with others if they felt like they’ve had a five star experience.
My emphasis is that we want to make sure that they walk out of the door with a five star experience, a five star black lux candle making experience, and if they feel like they’ve had anything less than that, they can address it. With me personally, no one has ever addressed it with me that they felt like anything was less than a five star experience.
And it is just a matter of those handfuls of people like totaling up to like. Near a hundred at this point? Well, I guess for [01:06:00] that particular experience, yes. They’ve actually shared that experience on, uh, Facebook. They’ve shared that experience on Google. They’ve shared that experience on Yelp and them continuing to share the type of experience that they’ve had has been one of the driving forces behind why others want to come and have that same experience.
Yeah. Many people tell us that they found us through TikTok. They found us through Google, and they found us through various uh, avenues from seeing others that have had a black lux candle making experience. A lot of word of mouth, and a lot of it revolves around. Making sure people have an experience worth sharing.
People are only gonna share things that are very, very bad or are very, very good because it’s out of the ordinary for them. They’re saying, man, I went to this place and it was terrible, blah, blah, blah. Or they can say, man, I went to this place and it was like out of this world. Amazing. Like, well, and we want them to have that type of experience cause they’re more likely to
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: share that.
But also the thing is, is this, we showcase what the benefits you’ll get from coming to Black Lux. And that’s one of the [01:07:00] things that people, some, some businesses fell at as showing what people will ultimately get when they come to this space. People will see exactly what it is when people will read the, the reviews cuz pe we to be like, why do they actually decide to come to us versus another business?
Cuz there’s other choices to have. And they said, they read through every single review. They looked at the pictures, they understood exactly what they were gonna get when they came into our space. And they, we kind of showcase and continue to share, uh, with people like when you come here, Our expectation is to give you a five star experience.
And we showcase that and we’ve given them proven points on how to like validate that. So that is very important to us when it comes to like the Google reviews and the pictures and stuff that we post, it keeps to validate that point that you will receive a five star experience here and if there’s anything else, we will address it with you in person before you take it to Google.
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Mm-hmm. I mean, essentially what we’ve done is build social proof. Yeah. [01:08:00] And, and building that social proof is given others the opportunity to see it as a chance for them to go and enjoy themselves in the same regard. You know, we want them to make sure that others, we want everyone to feel like the experience that they have at Black Looks is the experience they came to expect
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: or.
Yeah, but also like to, like the question you had, it’s like, it’s like we just came out a pandemic. Julius did have the forethought to think like, Hey, people are gonna want to get outside. They’ve been bunched in the house for a very long time. They’re gonna be looking for things to do, so what can we pri provide them with?
Um, and that thought was Kendall classes, because it’s something to do. It’s something easy. And it, and it addresses a lot of things as family time, date nights, birthdays. It can, oh yeah. All of it. It, it encompasses a lot of different experiences. Like one of the things that we like to ask people is, what are you celebrating today?
And they explain to us what they’re celebrating. And a lot of times people say nothing. And I always tell [01:09:00] them, you’re celebrating life because you are celebrating. Every single day. Okay. So we kind of emphasize the importance of being thankful and being grateful in many different forms. It’s not just a, um, a cut and dry candle class.
Um, cuz a lot of times you can go to a candle class, here’s a, here’s some wax, here’s a wic, here is everything. Yeah. So we, we truly try to make it an experience that is encompassing cuz we, we went back and forth, uh, for a long time of like, do we make this a quick and dry type of situation or do we try to make it more involved where you actually feel like you’re a part of the process of making your own candle.
So we went through the more long drawn road of them actually creating it themselves. We didn’t, we, we reduced, we didn’t reduce much. So they do exactly what we do when making a candle.
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Mm-hmm.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: The one idea that that comes
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Yes. And everybody, like as far as like who are the types of people that come in.
Everybody, [01:10:00] uh, all demographics as far as age goes, we go from children to the elderly. We’ve done, we just did in February, like two birthday parties and a school field trip. We’ve done, you know, various adult birthday parties. No, when I say two birthday parties, I mean two kids, kids birthday parties. But we’ve done like various adult birthday parties.
We’ve done corporate events. We’ve done, uh, date nights, anniversaries, first dates, celebrating new jobs, celebrating. All different reasons for people to
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: come and make. Can we, we also do cross promotion with other small businesses as well, because I also felt that that would be important to not just support our business and get our businesses out there by ourselves.
We help other small businesses in the area. So we sometimes co cross collaborate with them. Like one of the things I’m hoping to, uh, set up or, uh, set up moving forward is in April having like a floral arrangement, uh, class, a floral candle making class. So you come in, you do a floral arrangement with the local business, that’s their [01:11:00] business, not my thing.
And then we do the candles to add as an add-on. Now, do we make a lot of money in these areas? No. But it helps to kind of cross expose each business to new customers. So I’m always forward thinking of like, how do we expose our business to more people and definitely, and I the business in their business too.
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Mm-hmm.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And I think as we are coming into the summer, I think one. Demographic that may be very interested in this kind of a thing would be, you know, the tourists who are coming into the city. Mm-hmm.
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Uh, thing too, we get a lot of tourists that come in to do black lux candles. Like we’re in located in Chicago and we get a lot of people that come from Michigan, a lot that come from Wisconsin, Indiana, all over, like Yeah.
And, and all over the country really. They say they’re visiting Chicago from like Houston or from New York or wherever it may be. And they want to give away blackwells candle making class here with us. Yeah. So, I mean, it’s letting us know. Our name is [01:12:00] getting out there somewhere. We noticed that some people say they found us online, but then they say they, their cousin came as well or somebody else came.
And like they’re hearing about us from various avenues, not just from
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: one source. So in regards to like how the pandemic and how things is growing this business in this type of, uh, setting, um, with a recession loo or has been looming, we’ve been able to make our own path and own road, um, of success. Um, we focus on the people, we focus on their experiences and we still try to make it fair to everyone.
Um, as far as pricing goes, we try not to make it too low. We don’t try to make it too high, but we try to make it is a quality experience, so you feel like you come in and you got your money’s worth. Um, so we’ve been able to make the business successful during a very challenging time. Um, and we, like we. I try not to go too far as far as inventory.
I try to manage that, but sometimes one of the primary things that has been a struggle for us is making [01:13:00] sure we have enough inventory to support the growth. And sometimes we don’t always have enough inventory cuz you know, you have to have, you have delays and things cuz you have to map that out sooner.
Like, okay. You know, but that’s another tell. But, uh, yeah. But we definitely had, that’s been one of our shortcomings, is making sure we have enough inventory. Um, um, cause you definitely will run out. Yeah.
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Understanding it is like two components that we have to make sure we, we had to make sure of at the very beginning.
One was knowing your numbers. I’m the numbers person, so I understand like, numbers necessary to make certain things happen. That way we understand like whether or not a goal may be too lofty or a goal may be a little too low. Uh, and then the next part is something that we’ve grown into having to know, and that part is understanding the, the logistics of inventory itself and like knowing when to buy what, how much to buy, how long it’s gonna take to get to us, all that stuff.
Those are things that we have just had to go through the process and [01:14:00] learn as we’ve gone along
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: with all this. Yes. And everything starts with the
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: numbers. Mm-hmm. Definitely, um, we’re,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: we’re way, way beyond our, our time. Uh, I will ask you, uh, one last question. So what’s, what’s next for your business? Like in the, let’s say the next couple of years?
Do you envision scaling down your e-commerce or just having that like as a, as a side business and then really focusing your time and effort on growing the experiences business? Or do you see, you know, hiring more people and, you know, growing both of them together? Um, yeah.
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: What is, what is next for you there?
I say it’s closer to the second answer, bringing more people in and continuing to build both together. I would say
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: that’s more of a immediate thing within like six months or so. Um, but like I said, I’m more of a pessimist, so I’m like, I don’t know. We have to see. I think we’re fine, but I know that we have to get more people.
But one thing that’s been [01:15:00] requested of us is like franchises or having a second location or third or fourth in different cities, and I’m just like, oh no, I am not ready for that type of expansion at this point in time because it’s key things that we need to make sure our base. Is together because sometimes with rapid growth is it could start to collapse, um, if it’s not reinforced.
So I have to make sure I reinforce our base and make sure that we are all squared away at a home versus like trying to make a second location and make it, uh, similar to what we do. So we’re working right now hiring, hiring the right people, not hiring because we just need it and that they follow our mission and vision.
So it is basically. Hiring within the next six months and the consideration of a second location, potentially a popup somewhere, just to say, we’re visiting this area, but most of getting, uh, system and logistics in [01:16:00] together.
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Yes. Essentially, one of the hardest things that we came to realize was that because of business businesses, ours, we’re gonna put the passion behind it.
Mm-hmm. Duplicating that level of passion is near impossible because it doesn’t necessarily belong to that. Whoever else may, may be into it, you know? Mm-hmm. We have to actually find the right person that wants to buy into not just, you know, uh, a job or a position, but like the, the mission and the vision of Black Lux itself and have the idea that their faith in black lux will net, you know, greater returns prior to just jumping into it and seeing like, well, what are we gonna get to that?
Yeah. You know? Um, Duplicating ourselves is, is hard. So like having another job is definitely gonna be a hard thing because that’s the only way we’d actually be able to expand on black looks the way, um, people have been asking us to, like finding another person that’s gonna do what I do the way that I do it is an [01:17:00] extreme challenge, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s impossible.
I mean, other businesses have grown. Substantially because they’ve been able to find the right people. Us finding the right people is the next phase in black Lux, I believe. Uh, we’ve been working on that and we’ll continue to work on that so that we can develop the level of growth necessary to scale the business at, uh, A much greater
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: clip.
And now that we have to purchase inventory at a much larger bulk, um, we are considering other avenues and potentially picking up another type of business that will compliment black lux, which would be probably with inventory itself of being a, um, a distributor ourselves of products because we, we need some, like when you get the best deals when you can buy in laundry bulk, but we don’t need all of it.
But that might be another potential avenue, uh, for black LuxS. But that’s, we still have to get our base together since it’s still primarily us, um, doing it. We have to find someone else that can potentially come in and help us, [01:18:00] like scale, cross scale so that, uh, we’re, we’re thinking about adding on.
Little add-on businesses to hope black lux too.
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Acquisitions we’re, oh yeah. We’re mentally, we’re, we’re mentally preparing ourselves for potential acquisitions. Yes, we’re to say if we find a small distributor that can distribute products that we need, then what we may do is potentially work towards acquiring that distributor and having them become molded within black looks.
Now we have our own distributor and they’re a part of the business itself, and we wanna go ahead and allow that to, they, they, their component of the business will be exposed to our audience, and then we would have the tools that they have on hand to allow black looks to be able to grow, which means they get more out of it as well.
So being able to build on that component as far as acquisitions go, may be the route that we’d have to go in order to get more people involved. Yes, because they’d be passionate about their component of it.
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: Yes. So that’s probably what we’re gonna be doing [01:19:00] next. Um, just because I told you inventory is one of the hardest things for us, and we have to keep ordering more and more for demand purposes.
So we’re just thinking about future, like, we’re thinking about some future avenues that we can do to potentially help that part.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Well, that’s awesome. I mean, it seems like you have, uh, big plans and I would love to see where, where the business goes in the next, uh, two, three years. And, and hopefully you can come back and share your success story again at that time.
Uh, hopefully by that time you’ll be much, much bigger and, and, you know, um, have a much bigger, uh, presence all over the US and, and so forth. So, um, I’ll, I’ll, uh, end at that. I really appreciate both you Julius and Bri coming on the show and sharing your story. Um, I think that’s probably, uh, what the first episode on the show where.
The entrepreneurs shared like the, the, the business story in the most detail, which I really, really appreciate and, and all the challenges [01:20:00] and, and thought processes pivot, uh, uh, in the business. Uh, so yeah, thank, thank you again, uh, for, for both of you, uh, to join, join the podcast and, and share your story.
Um, and yeah, wish you all the best and, and looking forward to what’s, uh, coming next, next.
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Thank you. Thanks for having us. Appreciate it. Uh, we feel, know, compelled to just kind of share the information because a lot of people don’t know what it really takes and just knowing what it takes does not mean they’re gonna be able to do it.
Cause it definitely takes a hefty amount of work to like, make
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: happen. Yeah, it just, and I was looking for the same thing in 2020. Like, I was looking for inspiration, I was joining a lot of classes and stuff and looking for someone to tell me like what to do. And we got really lucky. So a lot of, a lot of it happens with luck, but also one of the most important parts is sharing your story and journey.
People attached to that. When I, when I lost my job in 2020, [01:21:00] I told people, like my Instagram, people were like, look, I lost my job and this really sucks. And it’s a lot of things that’s going on right now and it really sucks. And they understand that sometimes life sucks. And they decided to support us around that.
And we’ve just been going from there. They just continue to support us.
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Mm-hmm.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I think, I think that one of the big lessons here by, you know, anybody who’s watching your story is, you know, a lot of the times people get into this, you know, they may have an idea and then they may get into this thought process that I need to come up with the best plan.
Like they, they need to plan everything out before they start doing anything. And by hearing your story, I think it’s very clear that you can, you know, no matter what kind of plan you come up with, or even if you don’t have a plan, once you start, it’s like if you, if you just keep on going and follow the clues and, you know, learn from what’s going on, what kind of feedback you’re receiving from the market and, and just [01:22:00] continue building on that, I think that’s a better way.
And so it’s better. Start even with a half baked plan rather than to, you know, wait for an year to, to build out the best business plan, you know, have, you know, buy all the inventory and, and, and only to realize that, you know, it didn’t work, or, you know, you need, you need to change everything. So just,
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: just dive in, I mean, N know your numbers and dive into it and just make it happen basically.
Brittany Taylor of Black Luxe Candle Company: Because we don’t, we didn’t, we never had a really, like a, a big business plan or something. Cause I went to school, like you have to have these business plans, but we literally have a big sticky sheet of paper. We write out what our primary goal is and just kind of notate it all the way down.
And I just complete everything on that big paper. And that’s literally how we’ve grown. Black Luxe is on the sheet of paper, so I still bought all of the papers that I had 2020 and we just reevaluated every six months or quarterly just to see if we’re on track with the business. But it’s not, it’s no like [01:23:00] hand guide, although I try to make one for myself, but it’s really just keep doing the work.
Julius Dease of Black Luxe Candle Company: Yeah,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: definitely. Well, thank you Julius and Brittany again. Really, really appreciate it. And uh, yeah, thanks again for joining. Uh,
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