After spending 30 years in the IT industry, Brenda Hunter wanted to make a career change, but she knew that whatever her next move was, it had to be something she enjoyed. In 2007, she left the corporate world behind and started on the path to eCommerce success by partnering with 3dCart to launch an online store.
With a love for crafting and creating handmade items – especially soy candles – she opened CTRiverCandles.com where she takes on the role of entrepreneur, manufacturer and marketer. From her workshop overlooking the Connecticut River, she makes hand poured soy candles, scent tins and even soy wax dipped plush dog and cat air fresheners.
“Before I began making my own candles, I found the ones I purchased lacked good scent and would often emit soot when burned,” Brenda said. “In researching the type of candles I wanted to make, soy wax continued to surface as the better choice, so this was the medium I decided to use.”
While Brenda considers her company a small business, she’s anything but “small.” Her passion turned hobby, turned successful online business, has been one of her greatest accomplishments. As word of her products quickly began to spread, so did her wholesale business and she’s constantly working to grow her base of resellers to increase her product distribution.
Getting CTRiverCandles.com to where it is today didn’t come easy. “One of my biggest struggles was finding the time and resources for marketing – particularly in regard to search engine optimization (SEO), 3dcart’s monthly free webinars have given me tons of information I can use to grow my business.”Brenda said. “Most of my time is spent making the products we offer. Our candles are hand poured the old fashioned way in small batches, with everything from printing and applying labels to packing and shipping finished product, being done in our workshop.”
One quick and easy way Brenda found to market her customers is by using 3dCart’s built-in promotions module. “I can easily setup a promotion in the cart and push it out to our Facebook followers and publish it on our blog. It’s been very successful for us and has generated sales.”
When she has a few moments, Brenda is learning more about digital photography and spends time looking for the perfect photo to place on her product labels, which gives her items a local, homegrown appeal. “My customers like my products because they are they made locally by a small business and I use soy wax which is an eco-friendly, renewable resource.”
What advice does Brenda have for others looking to make a career change? “Do your homework and research the type of business you want to start. Look at the competition, do comparisons and take the time to plan a website and make sure it’s professional and portrays the image you want to portray.” But there is one thing she stresses, “Don’t lose track of why you wanted to start your own business. Do something you enjoy and relish the sweet smell of success!”
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