After attending a candle making course, Daisy Fernandes quickly turned her new passion into a business and Kota Candles was born, named after her youngest child. Every Kota candle is blended from fair trade and sustainable soy wax, premium grade fragrance and pure essential oils. Hand-poured with cotton or wood wicks, each candle is crafted with thoughtfulness on the island of Jersey. We talked to Daisy to find out more about how she got started.
1. How did you design the packaging for Kota Candles? You have so many various options to choose from!
The logo was created by my good friend James Carter, he’s a genius at logo design! I always have my logo in my favourite colour gold as a trademark. I have quite a few different containers to choose from on my website, I think its good to have options as everyone is so different with what they like, for example, the black jars and silver tins are great for guys, gold tins are one of my best sellers at markets and the chunky status jars are very popular too. I like to keep the overall look clean, sleek and elegant.
2. What inspired you to start a business and why candles?
I had already worked for myself as a therapist before Kota Candles so starting a business didn’t seem too daunting. I have been making candles for quite a few years now so once I’d given up work after having my daughters I realised I didn’t want to go back into the beauty industry and my hobby of candle making became my main focus in terms of profession. I’m one of those people that need a creative outlet, I’ve tried many things but candle making has just stuck and I love it.
3. When you started Kota Candles did you have a business plan? Are there any goals you wanted to reach and have managed to do so?
At first, there was no business plan but I have now written one and it has helped enormously and made me really look into all areas of the business, including the bits I’m not great with i.e. accounting! I’ve made lots of goals some examples are getting the website up and running, getting a few stockists in Jersey and selling in the UK. I supply bespoke candles for a private members club in London called Tramp which I’m really proud of.
4. What is the process behind making one candle? Is it quite a lengthy process?
It can be quite a lengthy process that’s why I try to do batches of candles to save time. I spend a lot of time waiting for wax to melt and then making sure the temperatures are right before adding scent or pouring. Including drying time and labelling it takes about 4/5 hours just to make one candle and even then you should wait 24 hours before lighting it.
5. From Woodstock to Bardot’s Boudoir, the names of your scents are so lovely. Where do you get inspiration from for creating your various scents?
I normally have a mission in my head and then set about achieving it, Woodstock is my first really wintery scent, I wanted to capture what winter smells like to me, log fires, embers, incense… I really adore this scent! Sometimes I know the name before I know the scent or it comes really easily… sometimes I get my husband or friends to help with the name. I make them smell the candle and ask them what they think of, places, things etc… its really fun.
7. You’ve done a few collaborations what is your favourite part about collaborating?
Collaborations are so exciting because you getting two (or sometimes more ) people that are great at what they do and you can combine and create something completely unique and original. I love working with other small businesses over here and there is so much talent on this island. It’s so important to support each other and collaborations are perfect for this.
8. What is the best part about being a mum and having your own business?
Being a mum is rewarding anyway, it’s also incredibly tiring, but having my own business gives me so much flexibility so I can still spend lots of time with them as well as having something for myself. I’m grateful I don’t have to leave the house at 7.30 and not see them till the afternoon/evening. I do a lot of my orders in the evenings when they are asleep.
9. Have you got any advice for anyone out there who’s wanting to start a business but not sure how to go about it?
Write a detailed business plan and ask for advice. There are lots of companies over here that offer free advice for business start-ups. If you really believe in your business then go for it, working for yourself is awesome, there is a lot of work, planning and organising but its so worth it if it’s something you love. Ignore any negative comments just listen to your heart and go for it.
10. What woman in the industry inspires you the most?
One of my favourite candle companies PF candle co was started by a woman named Kristen, she poured her first candle age 12. She and her husband now run this successful Californian company, its huge with stockists worldwide, and still all poured by hand.
11. How would you spend your perfect Sunday here in Jersey?
My perfect Sunday would be, breakfast out somewhere like El Tico with my husband and children, I love the food and view there. Then yoga on the beach if its summer or a walk along the cliff paths followed by a long cosy lunch at my mums’ house with all my family ( I have a very large family ) then home to chill with lots of candles, wine and movie. Fortunately, I have this kind of Sunday a lot!
Check out Daisy’s website and follow Kota Candles to keep up to date with new releases, limited edition scents and more.