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East City Candles is an artisanal candle line based out of Northumberland County, Ontario. Everything is small batch, hand poured or rolled, and made with premium ingredients.

Laurel Munro’s candle business was born of another business she owned and operated for 10 years prior to starting East City Candles. Previously, she ran a brick and mortar florist, just east of Toronto (hence the name). In addition to selling flowers, they offered handmade, artisanal lifestyle goods. Candles were always a big seller and in 2015, they decided to make their own in-house candle called “The Flower Shop” candle. It was a soy based candle that was custom scented to bring that unmistakable scent of your local flower shop home. It was topped with dried florals from the shop and they were a huge hit.

When Laurel decided to leave the flower business behind in 2018, being a serial Entrepreneur, she decided to take the candles into a full-time, second business. The Flower Shop candle has been redesigned since then, but is still one of their best sellers.

East City Candles for Merrymen Magazine

Why is it important to focus on local production?

Locally made goods by small businesses have a huge impact on the local and even national economy. When you purchase a locally produced item, you are not only supporting that business, but the employment of your community from the post office where we mail our packages out and the delivery drivers who bring our supplies, to the small local printer who prints our labels and the bee farm where our wax is produced. There is a huge ripple effect that makes our towns and cities better places to live.

How do customers find out about you and how do you grow your community?

Instagram and email subscribers are our main source of customer connection. I work extremely hard to create quality content and capture the brand experience that I feel makes East City Candles stand out among a very saturated market. Having a floral design and gardening background, I incorporate this into my photography and it keeps the content visually interesting for our audience.

I’ve also made quality connections over the years of running businesses with fellow makers, artisans and business owners in my area. Being big supporters of each other and promoting like minded small businesses is a big part of growing your own customer base. It helps to gain trust among your audience and creates familiarity to potential customers.

What do you find rewarding about working in your industry?

I think that taking something very familiar to people, – candles – and making it one-of-a-kind (our containers and custom colours) will always get their attention. We are all so inundated visually with products and options on a daily basis that seeing something completely unique is refreshing. There is a lot of value in this from a business standpoint. The potential customer can’t say “this is beautiful, but let’s see if I can find this somewhere else, cheaper…” because they can’t.

What are some breakthroughs you can share and what steps did you take to connecting business with your passion?

The hardest lesson and biggest breakthrough I’ve learned while being an entrepreneur is that failure truly makes you better. We often look at another person’s success through rose coloured glasses, only seeing what we want: the positive outcome. But the road to that accomplishment will always be littered with plans that didn’t work, mistakes that were hard to recover from and relationships that were broken. These are the moments that teach you what to do next time around.

What did you learn from previously owning a business?

In my past business, I was very open and out there about who I was, the opinions I had on life in general and was fairly exposed from a personal standpoint. I found this very difficult to navigate at times as my audience grew and subsequently my business. Although I made some lasting connections this way, my intention with this new business was to focus on the brand, while still offering a meaningful aspect to what we do and why we do it.

What are your plans with East City Candles?

We will always work with the best quality ingredients available to candle makers. Our candles are priced to reflect that quality and thus we can continue to use 100% Canadian beeswax, premium soy and coconut wax and fine fragrances. We are always thinking of new designs and collections to keep our product line exciting for customers. They can always expect some really beautiful limited editions in addition to our staples.

© 2021 Merrymen.

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