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Community Highlights: Meet Tyler Humphries of Golden Child Candles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tyler Humphries.

Hi Tyler, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I started making candles in 2019. Every year for the fall/winter holidays, I would do something with my niece and nephews to spend time with them. Normally, we bake cookies from scratch or do some type of arts and craft activity. I was sitting in bed half watching some random vlog on YouTube while scrolling on my phone. In the vlog, the Youtuber decided to make handmade candles. Because I’m a creative person, that actually made me put down my phone and I started paying attention to the YouTube video. It looked simple enough so I decided that was the activity the kids and I would do that year.

I started doing a little research, looking into the materials and process of candle making and decided to order a kit from a well-known candle material supplier. I made my first batch at home and asked my mom to try them out because my whole family enjoys candles, oils, sprays–really anything that makes the house smell good. My mom really liked them and I enjoyed making them so the next step was making some with the kids. They really liked the process as well but they loved smelling the end product more.

It was just a fun little hobby I picked up on a whim. At the time, I had no idea candle-making would turn into a business.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I started selling my candles and wax melts in 2020. Yeah, I picked a great year to invest a lot of time and money into a new venture (heavy on the sarcasm) but my mom was there to encourage me every step of the way.

By March of 2020, I was preparing to sell in person at local markets. I’d secured a spot at a pop-up event being hosted by Better Family Life and I thought Golden Child Candles was ready to make its debut to the public but 2020 had other plans. The event was supposed to take place on March 25, 2020 but St. Louis City went into lockdown on March 21, 2020.

For a few days, I was sad but we all had bigger things to worry about. So instead of dwelling on a missed opportunity, I shifted gears and decided to set up a website and sell online. The website was running by mid-May and I made my first sell either during the last week of May or the first week of June.

I had never sold anything online before this so there was a lot of learning through trial and error. And a year later, I’m still learning.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Golden Child Candles is a small, handmade non-toxic soy candle and wax melt online shop based in St. Louis, MO.

What makes Golden Child Candles so special? Well, we’re a family-owned business. Family is always at the heart of everything we do. From the type of wax, we use to what we’re doing with our profits.

During my candle-making research phase, I stumbled upon a few articles that talked about how some candles can be toxic because of the types of oils added to the wax or the types of wicks used to ignite the candles. Even the wax itself could be toxic because of the chemicals it releases when it burns. Now, not to scare anyone, but I never did find anything that explicitly stated certain waxes can give you cancer, cause respiratory issues, or birth defects but I did see that some waxes release toluene as they burn which can cause those things to happen if consistently inhaled on a large scale. And since the candles and wax melts were things I was going to make in my home and around my family, I didn’t want to take the chance. Especially because both of my parents have had cancer and unfortunately my father died from his cancer in 2014.

So I ended up using soy wax which is a difficult wax to learn how to use but it was a safe, plant-based alternative that gave me peace of mind.

What also makes us special is that the profit made from every purchase of one of our products is going towards a historic renovation of a 124-year-old Victorian house in a forgotten part of St. Louis City. The house sits in the western part of the city sandwiched between the Central West End and North City. Because of its location, this neighborhood with its 2,000 sq ft brick and stone houses has been so undervalued that it makes getting a mortgage or home equity loan on them nearly impossible which allows for a cycle of decay to continue.

Starting in 2021, I chose to start donating the profit made from Golden Child Candles to the renovation fund because not many people get the chance to save the house they grew up in, especially a house that has been passed from parent to child twice in the same family. As I learned more about how and why the houses in that neighborhood were allowed to decay in the manner that they did, I realized if I didn’t step in to save the house, no one else would. Renovating the house will also raise the property values of the rest of the street, making it a little easier for the next person who wants to buy and renovate in that neighborhood. This is how neighborhood revitalization starts. This is what makes Golden Child Candles special.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
Remember that everyone is NOT your target audience. Learning this will help you find the right message for your company and the right price points for your products. I struggled so much with pricing before I launched because I wanted to price cheaper than my material would allow me to because I was devaluing the products I made. It took me a few months to get out of the mindset that my products were not professional-grade because I made them at home. I source my materials from the same places big box stores get theirs or even funnier, big box stores buy products like mine from small sellers like me, and put them on their shelves with their store labels on them and pass the products off as a highly manufactured item when really they’re handmade products from a company you’ve never heard of.

Pick your target audience. Don’t waver on your price. And value your handmade products.

Pricing:

  • 80z candles are $15
  • 4.5oz Heart and Owl wax melts are $8
  • 3oz standard wax melts $3.99

Contact Info:

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