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Meet Karla Teuffer of Improper Candles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karla Teuffer.

Hi Karla, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Since I was young, I loved candles and choosing a certain scent for each room. I always splurged and bought so many when they were on sale at a certain store. When the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown happened and knew I was going to be at home for a long time. I wanted to restock my candle supply because for me candles are like the cherry on top for creating a comfortable, loving, and happy space.

At the time, local retail stores were either closed or sold out of candles and online stores were delayed and on backorder. I had made candles before so I took matters into my own hands and made my own candles as a fun quarantine activity. I wanted to create my own candle that was made from the best materials and ingredients. I also wanted to create a label that would make me smile or laugh during a scary time. The first label I made read “Stay The F*ck Home,” referring to the current stay-at-home orders. I snapped a photo of it and posted it to my IG stories, and my friends kept asking where I got it and I made some for them but then their friends asked where they got theirs, so I started taking small personal orders.

I continued making different labels and it made me happy knowing it made other people smile and laugh. I chose scents that reminded me of a luxury hotel room or the next vacation I wanted to take when I would be able to travel again.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Being a business owner of other companies, I went into this as a hobby so I never started and treated this candle journey in any kind of strategic business way. When the demand started, I had major supplier issues because so many people started a candle company as their side hustle. I had to change vessels (candle jars) so many times. I was “out of stock” for weeks. People would become upset at why I would sell something I wouldn’t have in the future. Most people were very understanding. We are still facing supplier issues due to COVID-19 and the demand that comes from so many candle companies starting too.

We’ve been impressed with Improper Candles, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We donate 5% of each sale to help homeless, abused, or injured dogs in Tijuana. Funds are given to our hand-picked and vetted volunteer groups that get the dogs off the street or abusive homes. We help pay for medical if needed and then get them placed in a rescue or a permanent loving home once they are medically cleared. We have helped more than 50 dogs in the one year we have been in business.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Life will always throw curveballs. The road will never be a straight, smooth road. Patience, strategizing, and implementing systems and processes right away is what helped me stay on the path.

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