TAMPA, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Talk about competition. Your challenge: create a candle to stand out in the two-billion dollar industry. But Erin Grossman and her family did just that.
You’d think tank tops and necklaces are the main magnets that keep drawing customers into this trendy boutique. But Jennifer Dutkowski, owner of Why Not Boutique, says another draw is one you can smell, but can’t see.
“To be in a clothing boutique and to be in the top six of all of my vendors, when I sell clothing and accessories, is amazing,” she said.
These candle sales are on fire and they come from Seventh Avenue Apothecary. The company creates clean-burning, soy candles with whimsical scents … Cypress, citrus, sea salt and sandlewood. The three owners call themselves candle chemists. The spark to start the company came while making them for fun. They started giving some away to other retailers. Then, they sold candles at markets. From there, ignition.
Owner and co-founder of Seventh Avenue Apothecary, Erin Grossman, said, “We received a tremendous feedback and tremendous amount of support from the beginning, so we knew right away we were onto something with this business.”
But it wasn’t always easy. They didn’t turn a profit for the early, very lean years. But four years later, Erin and her family are now selling three thousand candles a month, up from six hundred. Grossman’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to give all you have to what lights you up.
She said, “There was quite a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get this business going but it was something we were really passionate about. You just have to get in there and grind. Being a business owner, it isn’t always glamorous, it isn’t always easy.”
Two-hundred retail stores across the country … and home-goods and amazon.com carry these 25 dollar candles.
Erin Grossman’s grandfather started the family’s first dry cleaning business in 1915 in Tampa in the very same building where they sell their candles. They are still family owned and 100 percent made in America.
Contributors to this news report include: Jackie Keenan, Supervising Producer; Wendy Chioji, Field Producer; Tony D’Astoli, Editor; Jim Webb, Videographer.
SEVENTH AVENUE APOTHECARY
“There was quite a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get this business going, but it was something we were really passionate about.”
Erin Grossman, Seventh Avenue Apothecary Co-Founder/Owner
BACKGROUND: Seventh Avenue Apothecary is a family owned and operated candle company located in Tampa, FL. The candles are reminiscent of the culture of Ybor City and their Cuban and Italian heritage. They are made from American-grown soybeans, and are manufactured solely in America, benefiting both U.S. agriculture and economy. The company says they “aim to benefit their community by spreading love and inspiration.” They offer a simple fundraising program for schools, churches and other community organizations. The company prides itself on its quality, using clean, biodegradable, water soluble wax, cotton coated and lead free wicks. They also boast of plenty of fragrance oil for a wider scent throw, and a longer burning time than most candles. The containers are reusable, and the candles are free of any toxins or carcinogens. Three women, Jessica Reisner, Erin Grossman, and Phala Pesano run Seventh Avenue Apothecary. The company prides itself on being both female and family owned. (Source: http://www.tampasoy.com/about-us/)
STEPS TO STARTING A BUSINESS: Combining what you love with market needs is a surefire way to find happiness and success. However, having a passion and the will to share it is only half of the battle when starting a business. The U.S. Small Business Administration shares a few tips to help you make money by doing what you love.
- Get Business Assistance and Training: Take advantage of free services which may help you prepare your business plan and explore financing options.
- Finance Your Business: Find government backed loans, venture capital, and research grants to help you get started.
- Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business: Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit, or cooperative. Make sure your location is in compliance with zoning laws.
- Register Your Business for State and Local Taxes, and Obtain Licenses and Permits: Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance. Acquire federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business.
- Understand Employer Responsibilities: Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees and how to successfully guide them.
SMART WOMAN CONTACT:
Seventh Avenue Apothecary, Co-Founder/Owner