Kylie Antolini has always loved candles, but when she took a candle making class, she was completely hooked. With website building and photography already skill sets in her repertoire, she launched her own candle company Wildwood Candle Co completely on her own. The candles are inspired by scents from nature, specifically from a nearby park to the Portland, Oregon-based entrepreneur, Forest Park. Today Antolini is focused on hiring her first employee to help her grown her budding business and donating 5% of all her profits to her beloved Forest Park.
Antolini’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
What was your reason for starting your business?
Having a passion for trail running and spending many years in Forest Park fueled my idea to start this candle business after I took an intro to candles class (I’m obsessed with candles!). I left feeling so excited and inspired by scent creation telling a story, and within just a few days, came up with my business concept. I wanted to inspire others to spend more time outdoors and support a local park that is so meaningful and unique (5% of my profits are donated to Forest Park), but also encourage the restful downtime at home taking care of oneself with the single act of lighting a candle. Both activities make my soul very happy, and I wanted to help share that awareness and inspire others.
How do you define success?
Being able to find balance with something you love to do, inspiring and fulfilling a need for others. In terms of future successes and goals for my business, I am working on brand awareness mostly, and hiring my first employee for growth and help!
Tell us about your biggest success to date
Landing my candles in multiple Whole Foods locations in the Pacific Northwest!
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
A big challenge recently was production; needing to be able to produce a higher volume of candles, I needed a bigger wax melter capacity, so I invested in a new 75 lb melter that I had been eyeing for years.
Have you experienced any significant personal situations that have affected your business decisions?
After spending a few years maintaining a baking food blog, and loving photography growing up, I already had some skills to self-start my business without much outside help. I created my business completely DIY without outside sourcing; I figured out how to make my own labels, my own product photography, website… all of those skills led up to helping me with my business today.
Who is your most important role model?
Other candle brands like PF Candle Co. and small businesses that are experiencing success and growth.