Laura Holt of FUL Candles comes up with some of the best letter boards we see! Laura runs a small batch candle shop so we reached out to her to ask her about the business.
We (clearly) love your photos, and we’ll have questions about that later, but tell us a little bit about your business, FUL Candles.Well, thank you! Y’all have been huge supporters, and we appreciate it! I started FUL Candles a few years after a bad back injury. I was in a lot of pain and no longer able to sit at a desk and do my graphic design job. I was feeling pretty hopeless, but I thought maybe finding another creative outlet could help lift that dark cloud. One day I started playing with wax, hoping it would divert attention away from the pain. Anyone who has dealt with a difficult injury or chronic pain knows the power of distraction. Honestly, that’s what this entire business started as. But after several months, it was obvious the candles weren’t just a distraction. The entire creative process brought me so much joy. I gave away candles as gifts, and positive feedback began rolling in. Being able to spread a little joy gave me some purpose again. Eventually, I had the thought that maybe this could be a real business...and if not, at least our house would smell great while trying.
Tell us about your candle-making process.
My candle-making process probably looks a little different from other small batch candle companies. Since I still deal with chronic pain, there are back and hip procedures, doctors appointments, and down time that have to be scheduled around. But there are plenty of Parks & Rec and The Office episodes on repeat to keep spirits up. Currently, everything is hand-crafted, labeled, and packaged in our home. We wholesale with several amazing local East Tennessee shops, as well as a few hand-picked boutiques across the US. I’ve intentionally kept everything very small (much to the dismay of potential wholesalers), but it’s what works for me. Word on the street is you have to put on your own oxygen mask first, so I’m trying.
New scents are super fun to create. Lots of test batches. Lots of forcing—I mean, *encouraging* my husband to smell crazy concoctions. Sometimes a good idea on paper is terrible in real life. I’m not sure if other makers do this, but if I don’t personally like something, I’m not going to sell it. Smell is so subjective, and since I’m completely immersed in these scents day after day, I have to like them. So, just a heads up, don’t look for any heavily floral scented candles from us in the future. Not gonna happen.
How do you come up with new scents?
What’s your favorite FUL scent right now?
My favorite scent of the moment is WISHFUL (cake + sprinkles). It’s our latest release, and I seriously can’t get enough. It’s like a party in a jar...minus the small talk.
Toby is the cutest mascot! How long have you had him? (Is he your best employee?)
Thank you! We think he’s pretty adorable, though we may be a bit biased. We rescued him from the local shelter 8 years ago. He’s the best shop mascot/branch manager a girl could wish for. And besides being super cute, he’s paid in snackies—so he’s cheap labor too.
Anyone who has visited our feed in the last year or two knows that we love your letter board photos. How do you come up with your clever boards?Inspiration for letter boards comes from everywhere: Twitter, Pinterest, TV shows, personal life experiences. I’m a firm believer in trying to find the humor in everything, especially tough situations. I try to take a thought like “My back hurts,” and dig a little deeper until it evolves into, “Well, my back hurts and it feels like I’m dying, but at least I’m keeping the makers of hydrocodone and orthopedic footwear in business.” The bad/sad/hard things can usually be mined for a little gold. And the best part is, when you are brave enough to share what’s challenging, or isolating, or weird about yourself, it ALWAYS turns out someone else can relate. Honesty and humor have the healing power to connect us all. (Maybe we should think about Ellen for president in 2020?? Just kidding. Sort of.)
Last but not least, what’s on your letter board right now?
“My favorite part of leaving my house is when I don’t.”
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