As with many product businesses, Happy Little Flame was born in my home kitchen. I had always loved burning candles - at home, at work - but after making a startling discovery on how toxic they were, I wanted to find a healthier option, especially with two little ones at home. But all of the "natural" candles I tried didn't seem to offer much fragrance when burned.
In the fall of 2017, with a toddler at my feet and a 6-month old baby on my hip, I began experimenting with wax and fragrances. What started out as curiosity (and an outlet for my creativity) quickly turned into a journey I never expected. I knew that I could easily duplicate what was already on the market, but I really wanted to create something healthier. Something better.
After spending eight months experimenting, testing, and refining my recipe, I finally had a product that I loved. In the process, I learned about various health risks associated with certain ingredients, and the health benefits of others. With a product that was well-researched, clean, AND fragrant, I knew that I was on to something, and in May of 2018 I launched my online store. By September of that year, my products were in two local stores with a growing local and online presence. In February of 2019, business had grown so much that I needed help! Luckily, my sister Elisabeth was available and willing to help me, and she jumped right in. Her help with production & fulfillment allowed me to focus on the creative aspect of the business and growing our reach.
In July of 2020, we moved into a 2,000sqft commercial space in Libertyville, IL and out of Elisabeth's basement where we had previously been doing all of our production, labeling, and shipping. And that November, we opened our own storefront in a small portion of our space - just in time for the Holidays!
That winter, during the height of Covid, our kids were able to attend preschool & pre-k (taught by a teacher who was out of work at the time) in a room we converted into a classroom. They made it through an entire year of in-person school at the shop, and we got to focus on growing the business - with our kids right there - while the rest of the world was shut down.
In 2021, HLF reached new heights. With the release of our "Conversation Collection" (which featured trendy sweary and snarky sayings), business exploded. Our team, then comprised of seven hardworking mamas, dug our heels in and got through a massive and quite unexpected growth spurt. At the end of the year, exhausted and overwhelmed, I decided to slow down. I had gotten so lost in the hustle that I lost my passion. I needed to re-evaluate my mission and goals.
I let go of most of my staff, taking on their roles, determined to get re-organized, caught up, and ready for the next chapter.
In April of 2022, I unexpectedly found my way back to my faith. Every part of my life was changed. I was changed. And in turn, my business needed to reflect that. I pulled our best-selling sweary/snarky collection and began creating products that were joyful, fun, inspirational, and/or faith-focused. While the economy declined and continued to decline all throughout 2022, I began to wonder if the decrease in sales was due to the changes I had made. Nevertheless, I persisted, establishing a new foundation for my business - one that mirrored my new values.
Today, HLF is steadily growing as we recreate our presence in marketplace. With the continued help of my sister Elisabeth, we are excited to take on 2023 and everything it brings!