Little Batch Wax Co - Beth
I was lucky enough to discover Beth's candles from Little Batch Wax Co when visiting one of my own stockists, I was drawn to the packaging, and I couldn't resist to not buy the Pumpkin Chai candle of hers - it smells amazinngg! After following her work for a while, I knew Beth was one of the people I had to talk to about her unique and eco-friendly candles.
Tell me a bit about you - where you’re from, hobbies, etc?
Hi, I’m Beth: wife, mother, farmer and candle-maker living in rural New Zealand.
I was born and raised in a Michigan town so small it’s technically classified as a village. Most of my days were spent riding horses and go-karts my Grandpa made. I’ve always loved nature and creating things with my hand; both of which have served me well as a chandler today.
I studied Business and Marketing in college, and worked on the media teams of some of my favourite brands around the world (Disney, Pandora, Radio, MTV Networks), but I always dreamed of running my own business one day.
My hobbies (now in my 30’s) are a bit of a mixed bag, but include: thrift shopping, spending time on the farm with our animals, hunting for pre-loved cane furniture, painting, reading, cuddles with my son Noah, and of course - candle making.
B&W Photo by Between Homes Photography
Tell me about your business - what do you sell/offer?
I own an eco-friendly soy candle company called Little Batch Wax Co.
The name Little Batch represents small scale, made-to-order offerings; hand crafted with meticulous care. I was tired of the same large scale production scented candles and wanted to create something unique: scents inspired by New Zealand, while keeping my love for mother nature at its core.
I run the company solely and hand pour each and every candle in my home studio when my son goes to sleep each night. As of March 2020, Little Batch is my full-time occupation (I am still so excited to say that). During the busy times I do have some friends come around to help, and I of course pay them in candles. :)
How did you get the idea or concept for your business?
The concept for Little Batch began out of my love for candles. I’ve always been fascinated with how scent, like a song, can immediately spark feelings and memories of a time or place you’ve been; almost like you’re able to visit this place anytime by turning up the volume, or striking a match.
In America we celebrate the change of season like it’s a major event. When I was especially home sick one Autumn day I decided to make a candle I couldn’t find anywhere in the country: Pumpkin Chai. After many failed attempts and lessons learned, I finally cracked it - and lit one in every room, immediately feeling more at home.
What began as a weekend passion project became my saving grace, as I was made redundant from my job in March 2020. Looking back this was a true blessing in disguise. I signed up for every farmer’s market in my area, poured my heart out (literally) on my kitchen stove top and just did what I could while also looking after my newborn son.
Fast forward to today (a year later), my candles are available in over 15 stores New Zealand-wide and I’m looking for a workshop space to lease as I’ve outgrown my home studio.
Did you face any obstacles when starting up/running your business? Anything that shocked or surprised you in a good or bad way?
One of the biggest hurdles I faced was self doubt. But what I’ve realised is that when what you stand for is deeply rooted in what you do, fear loses its grip and inspiration flows - it all becomes easy, and fun. I’m surprised at how much I’ve actually leveraged skills from past jobs. From running a cash register at a restaurant, to serving tables, delivering presentations to rooms full of people, manipulating excel spreadsheets - I truly use it all.
I love that everything from the product itself through to the packaging is eco-friendly! Was this an important aspect you made sure to take into consideration when starting up?
Thank you so much. I’m a huge fan of simplistic, minimal, yet highly functional pieces. Our candles will fill a room with the most delicious, unique scent yet suit any home decor.
They are also fully recyclable from product to packaging. This one was non-negotiable for me from the very start. Instead of using the classic candle jars I opted for whiskey tumblers and recyclable kraft labels and boxes. I’ve had hundreds of used jars returned to me from customers. I clean them out and reuse them in future batches. It’s so reassuring to know this idea of recycling and reusing our jars resonates with people, it really warms my heart.
What is your favourite scent of yours?
Right now I’m burning “West Coast” with a wooden wick. It’s a real winter favourite of mine; with cosy scents of leather, tobacco, amber, teakwood and sandalwood. The scent was named after the black sand beaches and pine forests of the west coast where I now call home, so it’s extra special.
Sounds absolutely divine! What aspect of your business gives you the most joy and what motivates you to continue?
Creating and sharing any form of art is risky. If your heart is in your work, your heart is on the line.
That being said, I’m happiest when I know my work has impacted another human in a positive way. I have emails and notes from customers hanging in my studio and they truly keep me going during those late nights.
I’m also thankful for the freedom this venture allows. I can spend the days with my son as we please. I can take a vacation anytime I need rest. I can press the gas or tap the brakes when needed. I feel completely in control and I love not having someone else to check in on me. I love being my own boss.
Do you have any influences/inspirations, if so who are they and why? (this could be business related, or someone you just look up to personally)
I find singer songwriters and authors very inspirational. As far as writers go I am loving anything by Kate Northrup, Gabby Bernstein or Danielle LaPorte.
What is your proudest achievement? What are your goals?
I am so super proud of my Little Batch candle trailer (yet to be named). This was an idea that became an obsession and since renovating a motorcycle trailer into a pop up shop, I’ve never trusted my own ideas more. I’m also very proud to be stocked in so many of my dream shops throughout the country.
Coming up you can expect more pop ups with the trailer (pending a mobile trading license - woohoo), wooden wicks, cute new accessories, some beautiful new scents, bigger and better candle making classes and *someday* a workroom / retail space!
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
To trust yourself completely. If something has been put on your heart you need to answer it. Not everyone is called to this work, but if you have it’s for a purpose. Focus on the next step, not the whole staircase. Surround yourself with likeminded people. The moment I stopped seeking validation from everyone around me was the moment I was free to create authentic work.
Thank you Beth for talking to me today about your amazing little business, love your work!