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Conversations with Tami Mayhew

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tami Mayhew. 

Hi Tami, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers.
It was mid-2019 when I was tackling changing all my cleaning products out to more natural and sustainable. As the year progressed and I was pretty much done doing all my research and changing everything out, including bath and body supplies as well, I started thinking about my candle and home fragrance addiction. I have always been known as the smell-good house. While I was researching cleaning and beauty supplies, I was running across how to make more natural candles but didn’t really think anything if it. I did read the articles and websites because I am a documentary junkie. I had changed my plug-in fragrance to 100% natural already and was purchasing soy candles online and in the stores. They were so expensive and didn’t give off the fragrant scent I was used to. So, after doing quite a bit of research and my husband giving me a little nudge on, I needed a “new hobby.” (I had a very small business as a makeup artist before COVID hit and also worked a full-time job.) I decided I would try making candles for our home. I pretty much struck gold on my first attempts. Although we test everything today, when it was just me and my very close friends and family burning them, it didn’t really matter. I was making them just for us and giving them away. Then that holiday season, friends and family wanted to buy them. I still was basically giving them away. Then in January 2020, I posted a Facebook post to my friends asking “if anyone wanted to buy my candles?” They all chimed in. Some with special scent requests, and that started the ball rolling. Within that week, I had to get my website up, name my business, and everything was created. I was familiar with web design because I created my makeup artist website from scratch. My business name came from our property we own on a mill pond in Valentine, Nebraska. Everything has just evolved from there. We have grown so much in the past two years, and everyone is so supportive. My very first customers are still my customer’s and they are inspiring and so supportive of me. My customers have given me some of the best ideas. Today we are in a few retail locations and do some smaller wholesale jobs, custom corporate gifts with bath and body products as well. But mostly, our core is luxury home fragrance. We have created some of the best body and home sprays that we have every tried. I have a men’s line with very exclusive scents in retail that includes a wax cologne line. We just keep on creating and having fun while doing it. I have had some amazing opportunities and support along the way. My husband and son are my biggest fans, and my family and friends are my biggest promoters. Without them not sure I would be where I am today without them. The maker community in San Diego is huge. I have been fortunate enough to have a handful of maker women take me under their wing and guide me through with recommendations to other organizers of markets and retail. Although I still do everything myself, I have a friend who helps me at markets on occasion and also helps in the creation process during the holidays. She has been a lifesaver. It literal takes a village, and my village just happens to be amazing! 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have had some hiccups. Luxury candle products aren’t cheap, but I insist on keeping my products reasonably priced and the best quality. I do a lot of research online before buying anything. Thank goodness I have a merchandising and buyer background to help, but I still make mistakes. My very first corporate job, I had to buy from a different fragrance company because my go-to was out of stock. I had to throw the entire job out; it was just awful smelling. I actually have had to re-pour two corporate jobs because of this. Label creation is difficult too because I design the labels and print them. Let’s just say my printer and I have a love-hate relationship, and all the defect labels go on our free tea lights with purchase because I just can’t waste them. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I think what sets this candle business apart is our proprietary wax formulation and our nontoxic custom scents. I have formulated our wax to not only be clean burning but also very long burning. I do custom blended scents that only I make, which is not only fun but sets us apart. I have also made sure to only use the best quality of products. When you pick up and smell the candles out of the vessel, it smells amazing. And that is the wow factor I want. They are very true to scent and are clean and non-toxic. The cold throw (unlit candle) and hot throw (lit candle) is one of the best out there that I have smelled, and I pride myself on that. We have a proprietary process that creates that scent experience. 

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
I have a handful of women I completely rely on for advice. They have been with me since my first small home market. Some have been around for years, while others have just started. We communicate weekly, sometimes daily. They are my “go-to” for anything to do with the creative markets. Without them and their advice and support, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Find your people and hang on to them. They are invaluable. 

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Image Credits

Jordan Hedrick Photography

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