If you are a regular reader of this blog, you would be forgiven to assume that I only write about entrepreneurs that are mothers.
But I promise you it didn’t start that way. The fact that lots of mothers decide to make career changes after having children is hardly surprising. Reasons for this can and do vary, but the most common one is that children can make you re-evaluate a lot of things — especially the choices we make about our lives.
But you don’t need to have children to be brave. You don’t need to be a parent to follow your dream, to do something new, to take a risk with your career, try a path less travelled or be an entrepreneur. Which is why I am really happy to be featuring the lovely Amy, founder of From the Attic.
Her business started from her love of ‘all things candle’ and her frustration at the expensive (and often average) candles in the market. So Amy decided to start her own research and testing process, until she developed her product: a collection of ethically made soy candles. Each made from scratch in her attic flat (hence the name), are extremely well priced and for an extra £1 comes with a gorgeous little gift pouch (100% cotton).
Amy’s branding is clean, simple and her product feels honest and straightforward. Much like her answers to my questions — there is some great insight there. Her business might be young, but it’s clear she’s already learnt a lot.
The candle I chose to buy from Amy is called Enhance to “up my productivity levels” and it has quickly become part of my writing routine. I also was lucky enough to be gifted some Soy Wax Melts and it’s a real favourite in our house!
So come and find out about Amy and her business, and if you can, give her candles a try too! Amy has kindly offered a 10% discount of all orders with the code SESUSSED — I hope you guys use it.
From the Attic
Tell us a bit about From the Attic. How did it get started?
‘From the Attic’ is a small-batch soy candle company which is totally vegan and ethically minded. All products are phthalate free and use only the highest quality soy wax and fragrance oils.
I guess it started out of an initial love of all things ‘candle’ — the atmosphere / the sense of wellbeing a lit candle can bring. I started trying to make my own, for my own use mostly, and realised how enjoyable and rewarding it was. That’s when the idea for F.T.A came about…!
Why soy candles?
A lot of high street brands use traditional paraffin wax — other waxes like soy and coconut are fairly new on the market in the grand scheme of things. Paraffin wax is not only really bad for the environment, it also performs less well than soy wax, which offers a longer burn time and one without that nasty black soot you often get when lighting a cheap fragranced candle from the high street. It seemed like a no-brainer to me to work with soy wax for these very reasons.
What do you love most about the business?
F.T.A was always meant to sit alongside my career as an Actor. It’s purpose is to offer me the creative outlet and financial safety net in the times when I’m not on an Acting job. So far — so good! I love the flexibility running a small business offers… If an audition comes through, I can down tools, head into London for the meeting, get back home and pick up where I left off. It’s super rewarding being your own boss!
But I also love the interaction with customers — a lot of my business comes through social media and I cannot tell you how lovely it is when someone posts a picture of their candle in use… it warms my heart no end!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned since starting?
Not to get too carried away too quickly…! My natural instinct is usually to dive in and go at 100 miles per hour but running F.T.A has taught me the importance of taking time and thinking things through. I limited myself to three fragrances in the opening collection because I wanted to make sure each one had its time to shine. The minute the collection came out, I wanted to move on to the next phase — new fragrances, bigger sizes, etc — but actually deciding to take things slowly in the end has allowed me to feel much more control over the exciting future life of the business.
What would you have done differently?
I honestly don’t think there is much I would change if I were to start all over again. I mean I’m still in the very early stages, so I have no doubt there’ll be challenges to overcome in the future, but I’m glad I’ve had the journey I have, because every step has been a proper learning curve.
Biggest High. Biggest Low.
High — Without a doubt, seeing people purchase and enjoy their candles. It never fails to put a massive smile on my face and is as big a confidence boost as you’ll get!
Low — The self doubt that creeps in sometimes…’Am I doing enough?’ ‘Are my products good enough?’… general late-night worries. But then I light a candle (usually QUIET in times like this!), it burns brilliantly and makes me feel calmer and I remember that I’m not doing too badly after all!
Best advice you were given?
To plan, plan, plan! Especially on social media. I am pretty careful about the images I post on Instagram and Facebook, as I think it’s really important that the images people see there match the aesthetic / customer experience of the brand. So I try to keep images as professional as possible and use Insta Stories for a more personal, more off -the-cuff approach.
How do you switch off?
Ha! Em… I don’t…?!
I really do find it hard to switch off, both from F.T.A and from Acting stuff. I’m very rarely sat on the sofa at night without the laptop open for one thing or another!
I try to switch everything off by 9pm though, so I have at least a couple of hours before bed to chill. Otherwise I’ll be out for drinks with friends (we love the Faber Fox in Crystal Palace), or on a cinema date with my other half at the East Dulwich Picturehouse :)
The next few months is about starting to get into the Market scene. I have a couple lined up already and hope to book in a few more over the summer months. Then i’ll be starting to think about Christmas (!!!) as I am aiming to release a new collection in time for the festive season.
Favourite things to do/places to go in South East London?
Like I said, I love the Faber Fox in Crystal Palace and the East Dulwich Picturehouse (although I went to the gorgeous Everyman in Crystal Palace recently and it could be my new favourite!!!) I love the grounds of the Horniman… especially enjoying the City views with a coffee and my boyfriend. I also recently took on an allotment in Elmer’s End, so I’m loving all the experimentation that comes with that! South East is honestly the best place to live; I don’t think you’ll ever find me north of the river…!!!
Since writing this, Amy has added a new candle to her collection (Golden Hour), plus the Soy Wax Melts are now also available to buy. Just don’t forget to use SESUSSED for your 10% discount!
Amy will also be at the SE Creative Fair at The Brookmill Pub, SE8 4EJ on July 13th , so go and say hello.