Owner/Maker Astyn Gould creates a luxurious line of eco-friendly and affordable soy candles and wax melts. I spoke to her to hear how she finds inspiration and balances a growing business with a full-time job...
Describe your brand in 3 words?
Simple, Memorable, Me
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind Home Jewels Co?
I think it's fair to say that the inspiration behind Home Jewels Co came from my upbringing. I grew up in a home where my mum grew our veg and old curtains would suddenly appear as cushions. I was taught that just because something is expensive doesn't mean that it's good quality. In creating Home Jewels Co I almost wanted to change the perception that 'affordable' meant poor quality. You can buy a luxury item at a reasonable price and in an age where 'fast consumerism' is having such an impact on our planet, also highlight the importance of making conscious decisions as consumers.
What is your career background, and have you always wanted to become an entrepreneur?
My background is in sales and account management. I never considered myself
an entrepreneur, nor did I have plans to become one, it kind of happened by accident. I opened my Etsy store in 2017 with no expectations; and speaking honestly, I was surprised every time someone purchased from me. I'll never forget the night I finished work and I got an alert that an order was placed for £30! I immediately called my friend, overjoyed shouting "A complete stranger bought my candles!" because up until this point all my customers had been family and friends. I couldn't believe that anyone would buy something I made in my kitchen. I guess, to answer the question, I started to become an entrepreneur or at least see myself as one as my confidence grew.
How do you balance Home Jewels Co with a full-time career?
Speaking honestly, it is a real challenge. I have found that as my business grows so do its demands and I now live to a very tight schedule and literally plan every aspect of my day down to the hour.
What makes your brand unique?
I have found its simple design means it appeals to all and our fragrances are known to pack a punch.
Can you tell us briefly about your products and which one is the bestseller?
We produce soy candles and wax melts made with essential oils and phthalate-free fragrance oils. Currently, we offer 18 different scents from the classic vanilla down to the more obscure banana bread, which became a fan favourite during lockdown. Since its release, our bestselling candle by far has been rose and oud. It has a nice spicy, woody aroma that really seems to appeal to everyone, myself included.
Individuals often rave about the scents of your products-does it take a long time to come up with the perfect scent and what is your process?
It can take months to perfect a scent and it's down to a lot of trial and error. Usually, it starts with an idea, and I go from there. For example, roughly around lockdown 2 I really started to miss going to the cinema and I spent months and months trying to create a popcorn scented candle. I've probably made it 20 different ways and have had a handful of people test them, but I have never quite got it right so it’s kind of my new obsession if that gives you some insight into my process.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs that want to start a business?
In my personal experience, I have found it’s very easy to fall into the trap of the whole "hustle culture" or this “no days off" attitude as it simply isn't healthy. It's important to remember that there is no shame in taking time for yourself because you can't work to your best if you’re not at your best.
What has been your biggest challenge so far since starting the business?
Starting a business and running a business is my challenge, as I say I didn't plan to be where I am nor did I ever envision it, so every aspect of running my business has been an exciting challenge. Understanding marketing, keeping up with industry trends, finance, managing inventory to even printing my own labels, which if you follow my Instagram stories, you'll know it was an ordeal.
Where do you see Home Jewels co in the next 5-10 years?
I'd love to see Home Jewels Co in stores across the nation and although I love and appreciate that my friends are happy to work in exchange for prosecco and candles, it would be great to have a dedicated team behind me.