I want to introduce you to Jamina from Red Brick Candle! She has agreed to allow us into her business as Speaking of Everything’s first Girl Powered Business spotlight. This year, we will be following her journey to success as she builds her business and creates AMAZING candles! (I had the chance to sample a few… and they are my absolute favorite!) Here is our first look into Red Brick Candle. Please welcome Jamina!
Name: Jamina Cole DAmico
Job Title/Company: Creative Principal | Red Brick Candle CompanyEducation Background: BFA, California Institute of the Arts
1. Tell us a little about who you are and how you got started with Red Brick Candle.
So I’m a wife, mom and self-proclaimed shaker of the world. A SoCal girl living as a Georgia peach. I enjoy a good bourbon (Maker’s please) and will wear Chuck Taylors with A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G. I believe in beauty and excellence and the good in people, above all. Oh, and true love.
For the last eight-ish years of my career, I’ve been a non-profit professional, specializing in resource development. That’s a fancy way of saying I found the people, opportunities and capital to ensure the success of mission-driven organizations. It was wonderful work. Hard work. But it required me to be away from my family more than I wanted to. At some point I thought “I’m working so hard for the dreams/visions/missions of others. I can make this happen for myself.” So I took the full time plunge in November, 2014 of being an entrepreneur.
2. How did you find your passion for candles/ candle making?
I was planning my wedding in 2010, and knew that I wanted a more sustainable option than flowers. I loved candlelight and remembered a candle set that my college roommate purchased from some big box store (think Costco) ten years ago. It was full of pillars and votives and jars. I thought if I could find something like that, something that had everything I needed, I could make beautiful centerpieces. Needless to say, it didn’t exist anywhere. I began pinning inspiration to piecemeal my own version together. In the process, I fell absolutely in love with the beauty of candles placed together, and wanted to create a company where that beauty could be replicated by anyone.
Luxury. I wanted to be sure that we offer fragrances that evoke a sense of luxury. There’s nothing I hate more than burning a candle that smells cheap. And flat. When I think luxury I think layers and opulence and texture. That’s how our fragrances smell to me (if all of those things could be described by a smell). Each of our scents is layered and complex. Some are more subtle than others, but they all are rich and deep. And have incredible scent throw. Because why burn a candle if you can’t smell it?
4. What goes into your design process?
This is actually my favorite part of our business. Red Brick Candle will be growing to five architecturally inspired collections by 2016. Each collection is influenced by and named after distinct architecture types: LOFT, MANOR, BUNGALOW, COTTAGE and FARMHOUSE. For example, for LOFT I wanted to capture swag and sophistication, clean lines and a contemporary look.
The initial step is to find the perfect vessel – our vessels drive the design process and are the foundations for our candlescapes. Once I’ve selected the right vessel, I’ll create an inspiration board for our designer that captures my favorite elements of each type of architectural space. We’ll discuss the experience we want patrons to have when they open the candles (for example, with LOFT, we wanted it to feel like opening a large pull up door coming off an elevator). Once all of that is settled on, our designer gets to work and we finalize our design. Each design has to have elements of texture and/or layers. It’s really a lot of fun. Like decorating a little tiny house.
This is going to age me dramatically, but I worked at a Blockbuster Video, when Blockbuster was the thing. I checked out videos/DVDs to customers and managed inventory. I got to see all the movies before they hit DVD. I worked there my entire junior and senior years of high school.
6. What inspired you to create your first candles?
With our first collection, I knew we needed to create something that was beautiful and simple. Something that would tie everything together as we grow. That’s why we started with LOFT. It took over a year to settle on a final design and get it into production.
7. What are your initial goals with your work?
I want to make our patrons happy. That’s my first priority. All of this is about bringing beauty into people’s lives and homes and memories. We can’t do that if folks don’t enjoy their candles, or their experience. So my goal over the last year, and for 2015 is to ensure that all of customers have the absolute best experience. When that doesn’t happen, I take it very seriously and personally. I hope it’s an orientation I never lose.
8. What do you think is the most important life skill you learned so far from being an entrepreneur?
Self-motivation is something that has been piqued for me over the last six months. There’s not going to be anyone managing me through this. I’m not accountable to anyone but myself. That means that I’ve got to hold myself accountable and figure out what pushes me to keep going. I’m still getting the hang of it (my first priority when we move into our new home is to create a space for me to work in that keeps me motivated).
9. Where do you hope to be by the end of the year?
It’s ambitious, but I want to have all of our collections launched by the end of the year, and move into our candlescape production. I also want to get up to 12 scents before the holidays. We’re closer to that goal in the first quarter of 2015.
I’d say having courage to do this full time. Leaving a steady paying job, and throwing myself into this was scary. And I’m still figuring it out as I go along. There’s no tried and true roadmap for what I’m doing. So my biggest obstacle for a long time was me.
11. What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Commit to everything and marry nothing. Things change and be willing to change and fail gracefully with them.
Any time after 9p. I’m a night owl. This drives my husband crazy, because he’s the complete opposite.
13. What challenges do you foresee?
I’m concerned we won’t be able to get candles into production fast enough. This stuff takes time (you’d be surprised how long it takes to do wick and burn testing can take). And because we won’t cut corners and want to make sure we’re producing the highest quality candles, the process can sometimes move slower than I would want it to.
14. How do you unwind?
I have the best time with great girlfriends, excellent wine and really good food. That combination always refreshed me. Laughing with some of my best gal pals centers me and reminds me of what really matters.
15. What would you tell someone else who wants to start their own business?
Figure out what about your idea makes you one of a kind and build on that. And commit to doing that WELL! Keep it simple and stay focused. There will be a lot of good ideas. Some are for now. Others are for later. And some are for someone else. Be sure to know the difference.
16. What do you hope people take away from your story?
I want the women who read my story and see my journey to be inspired to create something beautiful. There’s a bit of beauty in all of us. To me, that’s what this is about. A movement of beauty and light. If this inspires more movement makers, I’ll be happy.
17. What are you most excited about for 2015?
I’m most excited about spending in-person time with my creative partners. Our designer is brilliant, but based in Romania. So we’ve never actually met in person. I dead set on getting the chance to collaborate with her in person this year. So I guess a trip across the pond is in order for 2015.