ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY Breaking into retail is never easy, which is why Tiffany Greenlee tapped into her creativity and obtained a kiosk in the Wolfchase Galleria to give herself a leg up.
Rather than wait for her candles to be in every retail store, Greenlee decided to create her own retail opportunity and now envisions a chain of kiosks across the region.
Carlee McCullough: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Tiffany Greenlee: I wear many hats! I am a mother of three boys, one of whom has autism. I am a wife, a published author and a nurse by profession. I am an advocate for autism and currently sit on the board of The Autism Lives Foundation. I am a very humble God-fearing woman.
CM: How and when did you begin your career in the candle making industry?
TG: I love burning candles and I would purchase them all the time. After spending so much money on them I began to research and see if I could make them myself, and I did. That is when I started making candles as a hobby. Once I became good at it, I began giving them as gifts to see what type of feedback I would receive. When my husband and I heard about a flea market that was coming to Memphis, we seized the opportunity and jumped straight on it. That is when we set up a permanent space to sell our products.
CM: Did you create a business plan before starting out?
TG: Before I began selling them for profit...no. However, once I saw that I could create a full business around my hobby that is when I created a full detailed business plan and a marketing plan as well.
CM: What has been your greatest challenge?
TG: Finding a permanent central retail location for our customers.
CM: Tell me about your decision to move into a retail store.
TG: We needed a space for our customers to touch and smell on the spot.
CM: Where are you located and how is it going?
TG: We are currently opening in the Wolfchase Galleria Mall on August 24th.
CM: Are you in any other retail stores and what has been your experience with retail?
TG: We have been featured in local shops and boutiques and the support and love we have received from the owners and their customers has been very rewarding.
CM: What is the greatest reward in being an entrepreneur?
TG: Being in control of my own destiny, managing my own time and being my own boss.
CM: What has been your experience with handmade candles in the local market vs. the nationally?
TG: I have found that many consumers appreciate handcrafted products.
CM: Do you notice any new trends in the marketplace? If so, what are they?
TG: Yes, the trend has been bakery scented candles and cupcake candles.
CM: Of the candles that you create, which is your favorite and which is your best seller/most popular product?
TG: I have many favorites; however, I enjoy our bakery collection the most. Our most popular candles are our cupcake candles!
CM: How can people purchase your candles?
TG: Through our website, fundraisers, home parties and at our new kiosk located inside Wolfchase Mall.
CM: What types of marketing do you employ?
TG: Direct mail, social media, the Internet, word of mouth
CM: What are some daily habits that made you successful?
TG: Before starting my day, my family and I say a daily prayer, meditate and create a positive atmosphere around us.
CM: What books or resources would you recommend for individuals starting out?
TG: "Rich Dad Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki, "The E Myth" by Michael E. Gerber, "The Magic of Thinking Big" by David J. Schwartz and any self-help resources or books that are available.
CM: Any advice for aspiring candle makers?
TG: Learn the candle making industry before getting started to ensure you are making quality safe candles.
CM: What's the next step for you as a candle manufacturer and as a candle retailer?
TG: To have a full functioning warehouse to create some jobs and begin a chain of kiosksthroughout the southern region.
CM: Any closing remarks?
TG: Always give your customer quality products and outstanding customer service. Don't be afraid to take risk. When you see opportunity, examine it carefully and GO FOR IT!!! And as I tell myself and others daily....Keep God first and watch him work!