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Meet Ashley Bolden of Bolden Candle Co.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Bolden.

Hi Ashley, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
My path into candle-making started with baking. I owned a home-based bakery in St. Louis for several years selling at farmer’s markets and local events. Baking was/is my happy place; it allowed me a creative freedom that I don’t have in my “9-5” and seeing people enjoy the baked goods I created also brings me joy. When I moved to the Bay Area in the Fall of 2017, I wanted to continue spreading that feeling. But, after a year and a half of trying to secure commercial kitchen space, even exchanging teaching cooking classes for commercial kitchen space which did not materialize, I put that dream on hold. But, I am a person who craves a creative outlet. So, in Fall 2019, I began researching other small business ventures and came across candle-making. After learning more about candle-making, I realized it was the perfect opportunity for me. During the early stage of quarantine, I used that time to learn about product development and testing, working and negotiating with suppliers and branding. I put a lot of time into creating the Bolden Candle Co. brand; the look and feel of the packaging, the patterns, the inserts, etc. I realized that candle-making brought me the same amount of joy as baking and gave me the same latitude with creative expression.

It took about nine months of product development and testing to launch my first collection in November 2020 and within one week of launching, I sold out of the collection (60 candles in total). Today, I fulfill about 10 – 15 orders per month and my next goal is to put Bolden Candle Co. into local and national stores to take my brand to the next level.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I think every small business owner will agree that the road to success is never smooth. I have definitely had some bumps along the way. I set my goal to launch before the end of 2020, but due to many businesses adopting COVID-19 policies and safety protocols, there were supply shortages and delays with sourcing candle wax, fragrance oils, glass candle vessels but I was really committed to sticking to the suppliers I knew had quality product. My first collection, which was a Holiday themed collection, was a last-minute decision based on my ability to access products from my suppliers. I worked with an amazing duo of designers who helped create the patterns and branding for the collection within a month so that I could launch Bolden Candle Co. by my goal date. Although the holiday collection was not intended to be my launch collection, as a small business owner, I learned that you have to be able to pivot and be flexible when faced with challenges, big or small.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Bolden Candle Co.?
Bolden Candle Co. is a small-batch candle company based in St. Louis, MO. My brand is most notable for the combination of floral and fruit scents. I wanted my brand to have consistency not just in the look of the product but in the quality of the product. When you are creating a product that goes into someone’s home, you have to make sure it is safe. We use fine phthalate-free fragrance oils and refined essential oils that have been globally sourced and custom-blended from one supplier. Our candles are made with 100% organic coconut and apricot waxes that are cultivated from renewable sources. I chose the combination of apricot and coconut waxes because it has a bright white appearance, creamy texture, gives an even clean burn (i.e., no sooting or black smoke) and has an excellent fragrance throw (both hot and cold). I also pride myself that the waxes I source are soy-free, paraben-free, and toxin-free. In addition, our wicks are made from all-natural cotton and are lead and zinc-free.

I am proud of the quality of my product as I have worked on my formula and technique for months but I am most proud of the design and packaging of my candles. Each scent pattern for my candle collections are hand-painted. You will never see our elements or patterns on any other brand offering another layer of exclusivity and uniqueness to Bolden Candle Co.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
In addition to my mom, family and friends, I have met so many amazing people along this journey who have helped bring my vision to life: Anna of Tkachi Design Studio, who hand-paints all the beautiful watercolor scent and collection patterns, Kate of Orange Valentine who designs all of my product and branding materials and Nat of Nat Erin Photography who styles and photographs all of my products for my main collection. Each of these talented designers and creatives were able to interpret all of my ideas to help bring my brand to life.

My advice to any budding entrepreneur is to ask for help. Recognize your strengths. Your business requires so much of your time, energy, focus and it is impossible to do it all. There are amazing, talented people who can help you take your brand to places you could not imagine.

Pricing:

  • Main Collection – $25.00
  • Summer In Bloom: Summertime Collection – $30.00
  • Scent Discovery Kit – $20.00
  • Scented Wax Melts – $8.00
  • Clear The Air: Linen and Air Spray – $15.00

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Nat Erin Photography

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