Born in Lockdown: Happy Paws Candle Co

In an earlier article, we spoke about businesses that started up in Lockdown. One of our members came forward and said they would be happy to talk to us about their business born in lockdown. Kiera runs a home fragrance business called Happy Paws Candle Co. Happy Paws Candle Co is a candle business that makes nice-smelling candles for you and uses safe ingredients for your pets.

Happy Paws Candle Co was born in 2020, during the pandemic. Kiera noticed that her cat had some issues related to breathing. The problems continued for a while until Kiera noticed that the candles and home fragrance products she was using might contain ingredients that could be harmful to her pets. The other products were using Paraffin wax which may cause breathing difficulties or trigger asthma attacks for our pets. Happy Paws candles use Rapeseed oil, instead of Paraffin Wax.

What is the business aim of Happy Paws Candle Co? To make candles safe for our pets as well as ourselves. Kiera noticed that the mass-produced store-bought candles were making her cat, Tinkerbell, unwell. By making her own candle, Kiera was able to have a nice-smelling home and a cat that was well, all at the same time.

One of the first steps for Kiera, other than trialling the product in her own home, was developing an online presence for Happy Paws Candle Co. She took to TikTok and Instagram as her main social media platforms. We asked why she only used two platforms, and not Twitter or LinkedIn, and she told us that people tend to use visual apps. It made sense for Happy Paws Candle Co to use visual content to attract an audience, and having two platforms instead of four was actually more efficient and effective. Instead of putting the same content across different platforms, you may get a couple of extra views, but the amount of time you would have to spend on the other platforms would outweigh the potential benefits of using another platform.

We spoke to Kiera about the experience of starting a business, running it during lockdown and the effects the pandemic had on buyer trends.

Starting a business is a big step. It does not happen overnight and isn’t something that you should jump into with little research and without thinking about it. Kiera spent some time researching social media platforms, other home fragrances and how to make home fragrance products safe for people's pets. Research, online presence and then sales is the order Kiera applied to her business, and it worked, very well. With regular sales and a popular social media network, Kiera made sure the foundations of her business were solid before selling any products. This is something that you can see when you scroll through the products available or the social media content.

We asked Kiera if there was an increase in interest during the pandemic, or if the business had a quiet start. Kiera said that there is a clear need for the business, and as we all become that little bit more eco-friendly, focusing on our pets’ health is the way forward. So not only do many people buy home fragrance products, Kiera also tapped into the Eco-Friendly market which has become quite trendy over the last couple of years. She also said that while we were all at home, working from home or on furlough, finding eco-friendly products that improve our home life was a way to pass the time. Kiera said we were all shopping online, we were all waiting for new products to come in and Kiera took this as an opportunity to start up her unique business. There were many signs for Kiera to start her business, and it sounds like lockdown was the perfect time for her to do it.

We asked Kiera how the business did during lockdown. She said that the business took a couple of months from the idea being formed to the Etsy store being set up and the social media accounts being developed. She said she had to focus on her online presence.

Kiera took to TikTok and Instagram and built a following there. These followers would, in time, become her customers and she has been continuing with this business ever since. She regularly sells her products and intends to continue with the business as a passion project, rather than upscaling and making the business busier and veering away from her core values as a business owner. So growth isn’t really something that Kiera measures when it comes to success. She instead focuses on how she feels, the experience of her customers and how her social media looks.

It is great to hear of a business that has started up during Lockdown and is continuing to serve its customers. It is also really interesting to hear a company want to stick to their personal values, rather than expand their business to make more money. It was great to chat with Kiera and to hear all about her business and her use of social media. You can find Happy Paws Candle Co on ETSY, Facebook and TikTok.