Just one year into their operation, Texas-based Calyan Wax won $1,000 as a runner-up in Nav’s recent Business Grant round. As their operation grows, not only will their efforts to offer quality candle products to the public expand, but their efforts to end human trafficking will as well.
Owner Jacob Johnson took some time to answer our questions to give us better insight into their business and efforts to make great changes in the world.
1. When did you start your company?
We did pre-orders mid-May 2017, then launched June 1st, 2017.
2. Where is your company based?
3. How many employees do you have?
Three part-time, plus our weekend warriors who help with local events.
4. Why did you start the company?
I’m infatuated with the idea that commerce can encourage social change. I created Calyan Wax Co. to give each of us a simple way to make a tangible social impact in our local communities. To create a workplace for passionate, driven people to thrive in. To end human trafficking.
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5. What makes your business unique/different?
These days there are plenty of social ventures that operate on a give-back model. We seek to differentiate ourselves within the subset of business through the crafting of not only quality candle products but also affordable for us everyday folks. We then see to showcase the financials of the give-back transparently so everyone who enjoys our products know exactly how much is being donated and exactly how that money is being utilized to help end trafficking. Finally, our message is simple. In a world of constant marketing messages, we seek to stand out with a clear, easily understood message. Help end human trafficking. Enjoy a soy candle.
6. How did you get the money to start the company?
I self-funded the company at the beginning. Close to a year into the business, I took a relatively small equity investment to build out more company infrastructure. Recently, we’ve utilized small business loans to fund larger PO’s, raw material purchases.
Running The Business
7. How will you be using the prize money from Nav?
To buy wax. We need more wax than ever.
8.What do you love most about your business/having your own business?
I love the idea that a small candle purchase can lead to someone coming from the dark world of human trafficking into a world of love, respect, and dignity. It never gets old to me. I love getting to orchestrate the ins and outs of the business. And I love getting to hire and encourage employees that have chosen to go on this adventure with me.
9. How do you manage cash flow in the company?
As best as I can. Spreadsheets. Spending as little as possible. Always asking, “Can I go one more week without this purchase?”.
10. What’s the most challenging thing about running the company?
The mental side of it. Running and trying to grow a business is the most mentally taxing thing I have ever done. When problems arise or sales are stagnant, it takes alot out of you. We are currently facing cash flow issues as we continue to grow and are fulfilling larger purchase orders and needing to hire more production help.
11. What’s the most rewarding thing about running the company?
Seeing something come from nothing. Seeing someone enjoy your product. See the social impact made from our efforts and people choosing to take part in our business.
12. What’s the biggest mistake you made when you were starting the company?
I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but probably timing. Starting a candle company at the beginning of summer was difficult. I also got engaged at the exact same time. Not good timing.
13. What’s the smartest thing you did when you were first starting out?
Survey people about pricing. Have people test our products. Doing pre-orders to generate excitement.
14. What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
Prepare for things to go wrong and not according to plan. Enjoy the adventure as best you can.
15. What’s next for your business?
Getting a new space where people can come see the candle production process, take in the smells, and learn about our social mission. Praying this stage comes soon for us!
What could your business do with $10,000? Check out Nav's Small Business Grant now to find out how your business could win interest-free financing.