Can you share a bit about your business and what you do?
I make small batch wooden wick candles with coconut soy wax in Tacoma, Washington & sell on Etsy! All my candles are made with phthalate-free fragrances & lots of love.
I named my small business Gunita Candles in memory of my mother, who was always super crafty. Gunitá in Tagalog is a noun & means “memory; recollection; reminiscence.” Our sense of smell is one of the best links to memory. I always found myself smelling a particular scent & remembering my mom, good times with friends or family, or another specific memory.
When and why did you decide to start your new business?
2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. With the postponement of my wedding, unplanned medical surgery, and not being able to fly to the Philippines for my Lolo’s funeral, candle making became a hobby of mine to pass the time & also a creative outlet. (I also became a plant mom & bought hella plants, lol)
I practiced making candles as gifts for my coworkers, friends, and family. It was a lot of fun. I started looking into better fragrance oils, wooden wicks, and all the pretty candle vessels. My fiancé started telling people I was selling my candles before I ever thought of the possibility of people wanting to buy my candles. Everyone he told was truly interested, and then my sisters, who are both on Etsy & crafty as well, talked me into it… Now here we are!
What do you love most about running your own business?
It is SO FUN! Trying new scents, making candles, sharing my candles, and all the social media aspects are fun for me! My day job is in non-profit/higher education, so it is nice to have something outside of my day to day work that is creative in a new way. I also am REALLY excited to share my candles with everyone. I personally have always loved lighting candles, putting on a facemask, & just chilling at home. Hoping this will help everyone’s extra time spent at home these days more enjoyable and relaxing.
I also enjoy that since I have started my little candle business, I can connect with other Filipinx artists and businesses! It is so cool to see more Filipinx business owners and products on my timeline. I also have a lot of pride in being from Tacoma. It is also really amazing to see all the local businesses coming together.
What are your overall goals for your business?
I hope to make this a successful side hustle for my fiancé and me. After he has seen everything I’ve done the last couple of months, he wants to get in on the action and learn to make candles too! To be totally real with y’all, a little extra income would be hella helpful in life right now. I know we all can relate. I also have noticed the importance of having a creative outlet for my mental health, and I want to always make room in life for that.
What services do you provide for anyone who may want to reach out to you/work with you?
I am still super new to this small business world, so still looking into all the possibilities. I think it would be awesome to offer custom bulk orders in the future. A couple local Tacoma businesses already have reached out, and I am thinking of exploring the options there. But first, want to nail down the Etsy candle game. 🙂