Chelsey O’Neil, Founder of Chelsea Candle, Kent

Chelsea Candle is a small company based in Kent, England. Founded by Chelsey, a former production manager. In 2015 ,she decided to start over in the beautiful English countryside to launch a batch of candles inspired by her travels.

Chelsea Candle

Smart Girl Tribe: What was the catalyst for becoming a female founder?

Chelsey: I have always wanted to take ownership of my life, I was freelance for six years before founding Chelsea Candle. The 9-5 has never and will never work for me. Chelsea Candle was an accident – I started seeing all of these indie brands popping up and wanted to jump on that bandwagon.

S: Who has had the greatest influence on your work?

C: There isn’t a specific person that has influenced my work. However, I’m inspired by many females; including Emma Gannon, Sam Burgess, Pandora Sykes, and Dolly Alderton. These ladies constantly motivate me to work harder in my field.

S: How did you fund the business at the start and how did you secure customers in the beginning?

C: I started my business with less than £100 in my bank. All you need these days is a website and social media accounts and you’re halfway there. I still freelanced in fashion and film for the first year of building Chelsea Candle, this allowed me to invest my own money and minimise debt.

S: Tell us your career path so far?

C: I studied fashion promotion and imaging at UCA in Epsom. While in my final year I freelanced in still production then moved into film and TV. I absolutely loved production but the long days start to take their toll after a while. Being freelance gave me the confidence to start my own business.

“Whenever something goes wrong, I always remember there’s someone worse off than me right now.”

S: What is a habit that contributes most to your success?

C: I tell myself to never give up. Don’t be disheartened by rejection, it happens to all of us, just keep pushing and your break will come.

S: To do what you do you have to be very creative. What do you do when lacking inspiration?

C: I listen to a lot of podcasts, they really motivate me when I’m having off days. Connecting with other small businesses really inspires me too.

S: How important is social media for your business?

C: Extremely. Shouldn’t it be for every business?! It baffles me when I see small businesses not utilising these platforms.

S: What is the best career advice you would tell others?

C: Be firm but nice, work hard and constantly network.

S: What is the challenge you face most regularly?

C: As a small business, our regular challenge is growth versus cash flow.  

S: One entrepreneurial book you would recommend?

C: The Multi Hyphen Method by Emma Gannon.

S: What are three traits ever self-starter needs?

C: Dedication, drive and commitment.

S: What’s next?

C: Continue to grow Chelsea Candle. We are worldwide, however, I would like us to hit the American market.

S: What would you tell your 22-year-old self?

C: Continue enjoying yourself, you don’t need everything figured out.

Chelsea Candle is available to buy at Wolf and Badger.

To Read Next:

Line Jacobsen, Founder of Anpé Atelier Cph, Copenhagen

Cydney Irby, Founder of Dream on Youth

Anna Stainsby, Founder of Neophyte Jewels

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