Starting a small business in Nova Scotia was something I have dreamed of and as a new full time resident on Cape Breton Island I made that dream a reality in the summer of 2021.
I'd love to share a little bit from my journey as a new business owner in Nova Scotia. My hope is to inspire, encourage and share tips and tricks that have worked well for me as I further explore the path of being a business owner here in beautiful Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
The process of starting a soy candle business in Nova Scotia was both exciting and challenging. What started as several months of research, testing, testing and more testing I finally developed the perfect natural soy candle recipe for made in Cape Breton candles. From that point I hit the gas and didn't stop moving. My first tip for new small business owners, take time to research your target market and test, test, test. Take time to determine the cost of starting a small business in your area, because that can really impact your profit margin and business growth as a whole. The cost of starting a business in Toronto, Ontario might be different than starting a business in Sydney, Nova Scotia, so always factor in costs associated before moving to launch phase.
Lets fast forward to December, 2021. After lots of testing and research and planning, I was stocked up with candles and ready for launch! One thing that helped make my launch a success was the support from the small business community here in Nova Scotia and from my friends and family. Without support, it can be tough. Owning a small business at times can be lonely, so I always recommend new business owners make it a point to surround ourselves with likeminded people. Get into that space in your local community, find a facebook group to join or send other business owners a DM to connect. Find your people and stick with them.
The launch was super successful, but the cost of starting a new small business can be high. Nobody told me the expenses involved with starting a soy candle business in Canada, owch! I ended up emptying my bank account to get things moving and continue to invest back into the business. That is tip number three that I'll share with readers, I found that by investing money back into my business helped me grow and succeed. A great example, a few months ago I invested in a photo shoot with an amazing local photographer, Ireland Marchand. The photos of my candles you see here in this post were some from the shoot. Worth every penny and so glad I made that investment.
Investing into my business has helped to lay a foundation to work smarter, not harder. This has been such a win as I continue to develop and grow. Ask yourself, how can I invest in my business? Write it down, map it out and go for it!
Shortly after launch, I was featured in a Saltwire article and in the Chronicle Herald, that helped propel things forward. There was lots of excitement and over the next couple months I was able to sell out my Bake Shop scent, more than once! Small business tip number four, celebrate the wins no matter how small! Every win counts. Use the excitement to help keep you moving forward.
I get asked often what platform I use to host my website. I use Shopify and have used it for roughly eight-ish years, I have another side hustle where I make artwork and so I was already using Shopify for that business and was comfortable with the platform. Overall, I am really in love the with features Shopify offers, it isn't about operating just an online shop. It is about all the other channels you'll sell on, like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Shopify also offers the options and tools needed to sell in person, you'll find lots of great hardware on their Canadian hardware shop like card readers or other retail equipment. I really love the platform, what Shopify represents and how I have full control over my online presence. I highly recomend this platform for any business owners out there.
A lot of people don't know this, but I work for Shopify full time and run Canapa Candle as well. Please know the thoughts and suggestions shared here are my own :) Tip number five, always do work you enjoy. When coming up with a new business idea, consider writing down a list of your top 10 favourite things or activities. Then narrow down that list and you will hopefully end on something you are passionate about.
As I continue to grow and develop Canapa Candle I have been focused on my current pillars which are to create some of the best scented candles not only here in Nova Scotia but in Canada. I hope to connect with more store owners and get into local shops here in Cape Breton and to continue to grow my brand. All very exciting goals and of course without a strong foundation it can be hard to work towards your pillars. My final tip for you, if you are a new small business owner or looking to start a new small business, focus on building a strong foundation and a brand image before you take your next steps.
Don't be afraid to ask for feedback either. I do it all the time, I ask my audience on instagram or ask my friends, family members or business owner friends to give me feedback in certain areas or to test things on my website. It can be super helpful and helps to build trust and relationships with your audience as well. Remember, you can't do it alone!
I hope this blog post was inspiring and encouraging and if you are a new small business owner or someone looking to start a small business - comment below if you'd like to see more posts like this!
If you'd like to follow me, I spend most of my time on instagram and you can find me @canapacandle or on Tik Tok. Thanks so much for reading and to all the small business owners out there, lets make 2022 an amazing year!
Farrah | Canapa Candle