We fall in love with a lot of different products here at milieu. We also have a penchant for profiling lady entrepreneurs who are building their businesses. However, it is not very often that we find a product that is wonderfully altruistic, from a young female business owner who is equally as sweet as the products she creates – that is the case with EV Design Co.’s Emily Vermette and her decadent soy wax candles.
Made from natural soy wax, her candles are non-toxic, clean burning and biodegradable. These natural, vegan candles are made with wooden wicks for a soft crackling sound. Emily procures the cans for the candles from a soup kitchen in her hometown of Bathurst, New Brunswick. How’s that for both ingenious and eco-friendly? I caught up with Emily to ask about her experience as a start-up entrepreneur.
milieu: Tell me a bit about yourself and how your background got you into this business.
Emily: I’ve always been creative, I could draw before I could talk. As I grew older, I found myself hoarding in the basement secondhand furniture found at yard sales, with the intention to upcycle each piece. Thinking of reupholstering and painting them would literally keep me up all night. My passion for turning old, forgotten items into something unique and beautiful is what made me want to become an interior designer; it is also the idea behind my candles.
m: How did you come up with the idea?
E: I purchased a Tobacco+Oak scented candle with a wooden wick from DW Home, which I immediately fell in love with. I was fascinated by the beautiful packaging and the crackling sound coming from the wooden wick. Two hours later, I found myself at Michael’s with a cart full of candle-making supplies, and had poured my first candle that same night. As for pouring them in cans, I felt Mason jar candles, despite being adorable, were everywhere and I wanted something different. The cans are all hand-painted and I’m hoping to collaborate with an artist in the future to make them extra special.
m: What are some of the biggest obstacles that you’ve faced being a start-up?
E: Between getting orders daily, producing candles and attending school full time (and having a bit of a social life), I can say with certainty that time management is the number one obstacle at the moment. I can’t remember the last time I had a ‘’boring’’ night, but I’m grateful for that.
m: On the flip-side, what are the greatest rewards?
E: Seeing as I’ve only started selling a few months ago, most of my customers are still burning their first order from me. However, I’ve had a few returning customers recently who’ve had really nice things to say about my candles, and that is a great feeling. Also, the theme of my candles is eco-friendly. The wax is natural and clean-burning, the cans are recycled (we get them from our local soup kitchen) and even the bags we package them in are made of recycled paper. It’s nice to know that even though it is only a small amount, I am helping the environment.
m: What inspires you?
E: All things beautiful. As an interior design student, aesthetics are very important to me. I was fortunate enough to study fine arts during my first year of university, which opened my eyes to a whole new world. Music, art, movies, colors, etc. are all things that give me the desire to create. I also come from a seaside town, and the beach is my second home. My ideal colour palette consists of any colour found at the beach.
Candles are 1 for $13 each or 2 for $25
m: What type of person is purchasing your product?
E: Although I’m sure most men enjoy candles, the theme seems to be women (of all ages). Candles are small, inexpensive indulgences which can add a bit of warmth and coziness to any space. I believe that is why there are so many ‘’candle-addicts’’ out there.
m: Do you have any advice for young women trying to start their own business?
E: Make sure every aspect of your service/product has been tested and tried (several times) before taking it to the public. Trust yourself. You came up with the initial idea, therefore you call the shots! Nothing brings me more joy than seeing other women succeed, and I believe we all have the ability to.
m: Any humourous situations as a result of starting your own business?
E: My friends and family have been incredibly supportive, but sometimes they can’t help themselves to buy ‘’other candles’’ as I like to call them. I was at a friend’s house last week, and she hid (not very well) all her brand new candles from me and left only mine out. It was a very sweet attempt at boosting my ego!
You can order Emily’s candles via EVDesign, and follow her on Instagram at @EVdesignco.