On the surface, The Little Flame Co is a handmade candle and fragrance business that creates coconut soy candles and home fragrance products that fit into any space, with an abundance of fragrances for any mood. But go a little deeper and you’ll find that The Little Flame Co is for home-lovers of all shapes and sizes. Whether it be homebodies who enjoy pottering around the house or introverts who come home to curl up with their dog and read a good book, The Little Flame Co has coconut soy candles and home fragrance products that are worth coming home to.
Cheyenne Heath, the maker behind The Little Flame Co, was kind enough to answer a few questions about her business for us.
What’s the story behind your business name?
I’ve always believed in brand awareness in the sense that it needs to be something strong, easy to remember, and create a presence. Personally, “Handmade by:” was not something I felt could have scale and growth, so I decided to brainstorm ideas around what the business would be and where I’d like it to go. I came up with “Little” because the business originated with just me, so a “little” business or side hustle that could grow into a small team, but I also wanted to highlight the fact that I would always want it to be a handmade and small batch business. I don’t want to take over the world – I want to stay true to the handmade, small batch, female-led business. I was standing by the fire thinking of names while my baby slept, and “The Little Flame Co” was born.
When did you start The Little Flame Co and why?
I started all the way back in 2012 while on maternity leave. Being from a long line of creative women, I was finding my creative feet after having my second child, my daughter Asher. It was before the mental health movement of crafting for mindfulness, and I just needed something to bring joy and quiet my mind. I soon realised that not only was the making important for that, but also the coconut soy candles and what they provided while burning in my space was just as significant too. At the time, I was also looking for soy candles in a different style of jar. I wanted something that was really pretty yet classic, but I couldn’t find what I wanted, so I decided to embark on a journey to create that.
What do you love about coming to Canberra and the Handmade market?
Canberra is like home to me. It’s close in proximity to Goulburn (where I live), and when I started out doing markets with little kids, I needed to be able to service that area and not stray from home too far – such an introvert! I have a deep love for Canberra and its people because I think they understand on a different level what it is to buy handmade products. They want to know who makes the products they are consuming by meeting them at markets and following along on socials, but they are also cold climate people. Yes, it’s a little controversial that I absolutely LOVE cold weather, but who doesn’t love a soy candle, blanket, and a good book on a Saturday afternoon in winter?!
My first Handmade market was in 2014 while I was heavily pregnant, but from that moment I knew that it was definitely my place to exhibit my coconut soy candles – we are handmade, we are small batch, and we are creatives. Handmade embodies all that we are, it connects us with like-minded people, and it gives us that regular place for connection. I’ve been at Handmade for almost 10 years, and one of the most joyous things to me is recognising and knowing my customer base. I have customers that shopped in the early days who are still shopping today! The loyalty is not lost on me, and the ability to have conversations and catch-ups at the market is probably one of the best things about it.
What do you love about being in business?
I love being able to create comfort for my customers because, above all, I’m in the business of comfort through scent, and being continually chosen to do that online and at markets is a very big privilege. I love owning my own business because of the creative freedom, creative joy, and flexibility it provides my family and me. It’s not an easy road whatsoever because every year is another challenge (whether it be something going on externally like Covid or climate change or now the economy), but doing this for myself and my family is the biggest benefit and reward for all of the challenges we face.
What drives your creativity or passion?
My mental health mostly. I am definitely a creative person (and it took 26 years to really step into that and embrace it), but honestly on the day to day – apart from my passion for my products, business, and brand – my mental health has always been a really big factor in driving me to make. It’s “my” time to put all the thoughts on the shelf and step into making, which clears my mind and gives me joy.
What new plans or products do you have coming up?
Launching in April, we have the return of the reed diffuser (with new packaging and in a fresh style that matches our latest collection, which was released last year), a new-look reed diffuser refill, AND the brand new room spray. It’s absolutely amazing, and the feedback I’ve received has been ever so positive – I can’t wait to see all our customers face-to-face to talk about it and have them try it out!
How has your business evolved since you started?
Since I started, I’ve changed some products, but I’ve deepened my understanding of my products more. Aesthetically, I’ve experimented with many different styles of candle receptacles made of both glass and ceramics, and last year I settled on a very elegant and minimalistic cream-coloured design, which I absolutely love and am so glad I finally found it! Both the brand and I have grown too. I believe I’m not for everyone and neither are my products or business, but I know when I’ve found my people because we absolutely click.
What is the best business tip you have ever received?
Growth and success don’t have a straight-line trajectory. During certain times in your life, it’s not always about growth in your business – sometimes it’s about maintaining the level you’re at while managing and nurturing yourself. When I was considering whether to have another baby or not, I was worried about how I would manage everything, but listening to this advice was almost like permission to take time out to grow a baby and be a mum. I knew the business would be maintained and waiting for the next surge of growth and development when I got back.
Do you have any advice for someone starting out?
Yes! Start with a side hustle first and know that having a part-time or casual job at any point (not just as you start out either – you may need to go back or you may always have it) to provide cash flow and relieve the pressure a bit is completely fine. Learn to rest rather than quit, and definitely don’t listen to all of the noise. Find the people you align with and have a few people you get advice from because getting advice from one person is limiting. Finally, be authentic to who you are and trust yourself.
The Little Flame Co is a regular at our markets in Canberra where you can expect to see an assortment of reed diffusers, their new room sprays, and – as always – coconut soy candles! Their latest home fragrance, Earl Grey, is launched in April 2023 too, so be sure to prepare your nostrils (we’re not sure how!) for the citrusy aromas of bergamot. You can see their full range of products on The Little Flame Co website. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram for a healthy dose of content that’ll have you wishing you were curled up on the couch with delicious soy candle scents wafting through the air.