Working in a busy bar in Penryn, Kia-vanna Harrison was frustrated by the amount of waste that was being sent to landfill, particularly the waste wax from the thousands of candles being burned every year.
She set about finding a sustainable solution, collecting the waste candle wax and teaching herself the process of candle making, filtering the old wax and moulding it into new candle creations.
“I’ve always wanted to do something creative and I am really passionate about the environment. Moving to live by the sea in Cornwall has made me so aware of how disposable the world has become. Doing something positive, even if it’s something small like keeping some wax out of landfill, is really motivating.”
Although candle making started out as a hobby, Kia began to sell some of her candles to friends, on Etsy and back into the bar where the wax originated from. After posting her story and products online, word spread, and more local restaurants and bars began to save their wax and join Kia on her recycling mission, seeing the value in reducing their waste removal costs.
At the beginning of 2020 Kia realised she needed more support if she was going to turn her hobby into a professional and profitable enterprise and, after a friend recommended the Outset Cornwall programme, she signed up and Kiandles was launched.
“Outset has been really motivational; each session gets me so excited about my business and makes me feel like I’m really onto something. The sections on finance showed me what I am actually getting out of the business and what I could achieve if I managed and organised it all properly.”
Kia now has a rapidly growing business, collecting waste wax from thirteen bars and restaurants as well as from individual households, who donate at a local Zero Waste shop. She sells her candles back to the original venues at a reduced price, to consumers all over the world via her website and Etsy and through a retailer in Falmouth. Stock is selling out faster than she can produce and deliver it, so she is now looking to increase the number of businesses supplying her with waste wax and at ways in which she can make the collection process more structured, efficient and sustainable.
About the Outset programme she says; “I would definitely recommend Outset Cornwall if you need encouragement to get your business started. Even if you don’t have a completely clear idea of what you want your business to be, you will definitely come out of the sessions with one. I’ve been using Outset Online alongside the taught sessions and it’s really helpful. Once you have answered the questions, a complete business plan will come out the end.”
Find out more about Kiandles here – www.kiavanna.wixsite.com/kiandles