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The Litwicks Story

The most frequent questions I get asked, is about how I set up a side hustle. That and and how I manage juggling a full time job as well as Litwicks. Well this weeks blog post is currently being written on a Monday night in bed at 8.30pm with a decaf tea. i'm knackered but Im not going to lie, I did have a few wines of Sunday which hasn’t helped.

If I wind back to the summer of 2017 I was having an absolute ball, honestly I had the time of my life. I was lucky enough to have nearly two years off work foot loose and fancy free. I packed up my whole life and put it into storage, I put only essentials in the boot of my Mini Cooper and technically became a nomad. Over the course of a year I managed 11 vacations, between them I’d stay at friend houses, in spare rooms, did a bit of house sitting and spent time at my mums. It was actually quite liberating, my only commitments were car insurance and a mobile phone.

There became a point after a year when I needed to engage my brain, I wasn’t bored but I felt wasted. At this point I was living with my friend who was building her jewellery empire, I was spending my days going to spin classes and hanging out at coffee shops. I don’t know why I decided to make candles, I probably worked out how much i'd spent on them in a lifetime.  One weekend later and a few YouTube tutorials, I knocked up a few soy wax scented candles in our kitchen. They were pretty successful and our home very quickly resembled every girls dream.. adorned with jewellery and scented candles. Thinking back I can probably attribute that to my failed dating life, its was like man repellent. Which brings me onto my first caption, ‘the scent of your ex, smelt great but what a douche’. I proudly handed it to my friend who had just finished with her boyfriend, I'd managed to emulate his sandalwood scented aftershave in a candle.

It wasn’t long before a few friends suggested I should sell them, and that was it. It was a personal challenge to create a business out of nothing. I was determined not to invest much money so put aside £200, that was all I was willing to lose if nothing ever happened. I bought my domain name for 99p and spent 4 hours one Saturday afternoon building a website and taking product shots on my iPhone. By the Monday morning I had a fully transactional website with a range of candles. First hurdle was done and it really wasn’t that difficult, the next step was selling them. This was the tricky part because as far as I understood, this is where in any business you have to spend money. There is some truth in that, and after a year I noticed that you need to adapt and change your marketing strategies. In the early days however, Instagram became my platform, firstly its free and secondly its so simple.

I listed my top 10 favourite instagramers, people I related to and enjoyed watching. I dropped them each a message shamelessly asking for a plug in exchange for a candle. The beauty of caption candles too was that I could adapt each one to suit them, their persona or what they used their platforms to promote. I rode this wave for about a year, I of course made some product improvements, invested in packaging and also got a nice little order from Urban Outfitters that enabled me to set up a workshop in East London. But still up to this point I only put in what I got out, I still didn’t invest any ‘real’ money.

Two years on I’ve now got a ‘proper job’ not because I didn’t believe in my business but because i'm not willing to sacrifice my standard of living if I'm completely honest. I had a choice about a year ago, I could either scale back, reduce my outgoings (which probably meant moving out of London) to really invest everything I had in building the business. Or, I could get a proper job that would afford me a few holidays each year and a nice one bed flat in Hackney surrounded by my mates. I chose the latter and I still stand by that, I'll keep building my business but I'll do it at my pace.  

Next week’s blog; My Top 5 Tips for Starting Your Own Side Hustle