It’s time for another inspirational lockdown business story! I hope that you are finding these blogs interesting and using them as a way to discover new small businesses to support…
So, today we are meeting the lovely Lou! Lou is a member of the Brown Paper Creative Community and I’ve absolutely loved getting to know her and her amazing business – Florriana !
Hi, Lou! Thankyou for joining us, tell us a little bit about your business …
Florriana is a small range of luxury candles, developed to be sustainable, good quality and free from nasty chemicals. I wanted to use a premium coconut soy wax as not too many brands use it – it is sustainable and helps the scent throw of my fragrances.
It is constantly inspired by my Maltese heritage- (Florriana is a place in Malta close to Valletta) the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino make up Malta and it’s visitors often fall in love with the rustic-ness of Gozo, which is where my Mother was born and where I have spent a lot of my childhood and holidays over the years.
Oh I didn’t know about your Maltese heritage, that’s so interesting to hear where the business name came from! So when did you start your small business and what made you want to start it ?
I start developing it before the first lockdown as a way to express my creative needs! A kind of therapy really as I had left behind a creative career that I’d loved. I wanted a craft I could try and sell – right now it’s more of a hobby really as I don’t have to rely on it as financial income.
That’s such a great reason to get started, I’m definitely like you and need something creative on the go! What was the biggest learning curve so far for you?
My biggest learning curve has been how best to market it. I do well at craft fairs but find it hard to drive traffic to my website. Also, it’s quite Xmas orientated and it would be nice to spread it out through the year. There have also been many supplier issues and what I originally developed I can no longer get hold of. As much as I love my boxes they are a high financial commitment so I am learning how to re develop the brand using components that are easy to source and more profitable.
Getting hold of supplies does seem to be such a big problem for many small businesses at the moment! What moment are you most proud of ?
I am most proud of a recent craft market where my sales exceeded my expectations. I am also proud of how easy I find talking and interacting with my customers when at the beginning this was the hardest part for me.
Yay! It’s such a great feeling when you have a successful market!! Let’s talk production, when you are working, what’s your set up (any snacks, drinks? what are you watching/listening to ?)
I tend to work at the weekends or during my school holidays as I work full time. I like to work in silence and not make too many candles in one day as they are time consuming. I give my self break times to eat or drink a snack as I’m working with wax and oils and need to take care.
My dream is to have a ‘posh shed studio’ where I will work, my current set up is not ideal and I have to work across two rooms in my house. At Christmas it’s crazy with candle making and postage boxes cluttering up my lounge!
I love a side hustle business! Now you are in full flow what would be your top tip to anyone wanting to start a business ?
Candles cannot be rushed. You need to spend time and money testing waxes and oils to get the right ratios and also to be sure what fits for the customer you are aiming for. The market is crowded so do your homework and try and find a way for your brand to stand out.
That’s such a good tip! Ok, time for a big question … what’s your favourite thing about running your business ?
I love that I am in control of every single detail. And the design part and fragrance testing are my favourite parts. I also formulate my own fragrances but this is hugely time consuming, but something I’d like to do more of in the future.
Oh yes that’s definitely a huge plus of running your own business! Do you have any plans for the future that you can give us a clue about ?
I will be rebranding and re launching my website next year. I also hope to expand my offer. Longer term plans include my own skincare and gift sets. I am also teaming up with the tiny marketplace. They are aiming to be the next Etsy and it could be a way for me to reach a larger audience as they can help me with marketing.
That sounds so exciting Lou! I can’t wait to see and hear more about your rebrand and new products! Thankyou for chatting to me !
You can have a look at the lovely Florriana’s online shop here and checkout Lou on Instagram here! Plus Lou will be joining the next online market taking place on November 27th & 28th, be sure to sign up to the mailing list so you don’t miss out on anything !
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You can also join myself and Lou (plus lots of other lovely small business owners!) over in the Brown Paper Creative Community! It’s a wonderful, supportive group full of tips, ideas, help and fun stuff to make sure you don’t feel alone running your business! Find out more here –