#SmartGivesBack has been our campaign initiative to partner with small businesses throughout 2021 by finding ways to alleviate some of their stressful costs and help get them back on their feet.
As a self-storage business, we've seen the effects that the Coronavirus has had on our customers and communities. We've witnessed families downsizing their homes, selling sentimental belongings, college students getting ousted from campus, and small businesses shutting down. We've done our best to support them in our facilities but we acknowledged that there was much more to be done.
1. What is Essentials by K.Marie?
This month we're spotlighting Essentials, a candle, and aromatherapy business owned by K.Marie who resides in Charleston, SC. Her business's name could not be more appropriate.
Getting to know K.Marie has been incredibly rewarding as we've listened to her struggle as a small business owner during the pandemic and worked with her to find ways that we could support her business and give some financial relief. In addition to the COVID-related shipping and backorder issues that lead to many canceled orders during the holidays, K.Marie has been planning her own wedding over the last year (she just got married on Valentine's Day!) which is no easy task even when there isn't a pandemic. Nonetheless, she's continuing to brave the storm and we are proud to be a part of her journey.
2. Can you tell me a little about the candle-making process?
Candle making is a therapeutic process for me. It’s kind of a slow method that forces me to be in the moment; be present. As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to let our busy schedules consume us so much that we forget to actually slow down from time to time.
I first pour the all-natural soy wax into the pitcher and place it in the double boiler. As the wax melts, I blend my essential oils together. Once the temperature of the wax gets to an appropriate melting point, I add in the oils and stir slowly for about two minutes. This is my favorite part! The aroma fills my entire home and it's so heavenly. I then move on to preparing my candle vessels and wooden wicks as the wax cools down. Once my wax is ready I pour it slowly into the vessels and leave them to cool overnight.
3. What made you start this business?
I’ve always had an obsession with candles! Even when I still worked in “corporate America” candles were included in my budget for every paycheck, lol. My linen closet was filled with candles so I was never without! Once I decided to become a full-time entrepreneur with my photography business there were many sacrifices I had to make to save money which included buying candles. I quickly realized it was affecting my mood and well-being when I couldn’t burn candles as often. Later it became clear that I didn’t just like to burn candles because of the smell, but it was actually a part of my self-care routine. It was my “me-time.” Since I could not financially afford to buy the candles I liked anymore I decided to make them at home. That’s when I started learning about essential oils and aromatherapy. There are so many benefits to using EO in your daily regime. I wanted my candles to be cruelty-free so I know it was safe to burn in my home and I handcrafted them with the intention to help with calming my anxiety or to give me an energy booster. My favorite candle is 'Joy in the Morning' which is created with Eucalyptus and Peppermint essential oils. I’ll burn this in my bathroom in the mornings to awaken my senses and get ready for the day. It smells like a spa!
4. What hurdles have you overcome in owning a small business?
I’ve overcome many failures and rejections which only motivated me to keep going harder. There are many lessons you will learn in entrepreneurship and there will be many hurdles to climb, but the reward once you get to the other side is most definitely worth it! Owning multiple small businesses can be overwhelming and sometimes you’ll feel like it’s impossible to do it all or even want to quit. This is when I remind myself of my “why”….Why did I start this business? Why did I leave my 9 to 5? Why did God give me these gifts and passions? It’s to share with the world.
5. Where do you sell your products?
I sell my aromatherapy products online at www.essentialsxkmarie.com. I also sell some of my products wholesale.
6. Do you have other hobbies that keep you grounded during rough times?
Yes, I love yoga and painting! My husband and I will have a paint and sip date night at home occasionally which is always fun to do together! I realized that I live life at such a fast pace, so I am now more intentional with doing activities such as yoga, meditation, or painting that will help me return back to the present moment and stay grounded. I’m learning how to enjoy slowing down.
K.Marie can also be found running the Instagram account @brwngrltlk - a community dedicated to celebrating women of color on social and via podcast.
We're excited to share photos and video of the materials we purchased for K.Marie, to revamp, reorganize, and declutter her small business in 2021! Welcome to the #SmartStop team K.Marie!