What's your background, and what are you working on?
Up until Summer 2020, I had been a student my entire life. I studied business in undergrad and have an MBA from Chapman University. I also spent some time in law school, where I learned a lot, but it ultimately wasn’t my thing.
Shortly after graduating, I had the idea for St. Brown & Co.—October 24, 2020 to be exact! I launched my business fast and have been adjusting ever since. Currently, I’m working on preparing for our first holiday season in business. Planning Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, organizing an organic micro-influencer campaign, and making our limited-edition holiday candles (Frankincense + Myrrh, Peppermint + Cocoa Shavings, and Spiced Pear + Whiskey).
What motivated you to get started with St. Brown & Co?
The idea for St. Brown & Co. quite literally popped into my head on October 24, 2020. Once I thought, “Huh, candles are nice,” I grabbed my computer and started Googling. I had the brand identity in mind for quite some time, but I didn’t know what kind of business I wanted to start. When I thought of candles, I knew it was something I could get behind. Candles are always pleasant, so I knew I would enjoy surrounding myself with this product every single day.
I was highly motivated by the desire to create something from nothing, all on my own. It’s incredibly empowering to see something you had imagined come to life right before your eyes. And then to have people interested in buying the thing you imagined? Even better.
How have you attracted clients and grown your brand?
Being myself and accurately reflecting St. Brown & Co.’s brand identity have been major parts of attracting clients and growing the brand.
People can tell if you’re not being yourself, or if you’re not confident in what you’re putting out there. When I’m doing an in-person event and I’m not feeling confident in myself or my business, that directly correlates to lost sales. People can feel it! On the flip side, when I’m feeling good and thinking that my candles are awesome, that translates into increased sales. It might seem over simplistic, but it’s happened.
Also, making sure that everything that has the St. Brown & Co. brand on it reflects the luxury and class of the brand is critical. If a material I’m using isn’t up to snuff, I replace it. If a label is on crooked, I fix it or I don’t put it on the shelves. Maintaining the integrity of the brand is the backbone of growing the brand.
What are your goals for the future?
My goals for the immediate future are to continue to build relationships with my customers in order to build a strong direct to consumer brand. And to focus on wholesaling to boutiques in order to grow our exposure.
Long term, I would love to eventually be in a department store like Nordstrom. It would be incredible to be in the company of the beautiful brands that Nordstrom and other like department stores carry.
What are the biggest challenges you've faced so far?
Fighting fear of judgment is the biggest challenge I’ve faced. Putting myself out there and exposing myself to criticism at scale is scary. However, at this point, not putting myself out there and continuing to grow my brand is the larger evil. So, it’s a catch 22!
Less philosophically, I’ve faced challenges with supplies not getting to me on time, business deals falling through, and kicking myself for charging too little for wholesale deals. Fortunately, there is a lesson with each one of these challenges. If something doesn’t feel right, I have the opportunity to do it differently the next time.
What's your advice for female founders who are just starting out?
Take fast action. Don’t get trapped in thinking too hard or too long. Action is almost always better than overthinking! It’ll either work out, or it won’t—and if you act fast, you’ll know that much sooner.