When your product is a vessel full of memories and helps connect customers to their idea of home, it’s easy to grow a global business model that truly glows.
Etikette pour wax in Adelaide and ship worldwide
“Last week I was wheeling a sack truck full of boxes into the Adelaide bus station to put on a Stateliner bus, because they were too heavy to freight any other way,” says founder and director of Etikette Candles, Ella Walker.
“I couldn’t help but think, ‘What am I doing?’” she finishes. Etikette recently released a new, national range of fragranced candles inspired by native flora and fauna.
See Etikette’s full range at their website.
Etikette recently released a new, national range of fragranced candles inspired by native flora and fauna.
Ella is recounting the lead up to last Christmas and the huge orders she and her company’s first employee – her sister, Georgia Walker – had to fulfill before 25 December.
Today CityMag is standing in Etikette’s Unley warehouse where Ella and Georgia hand-pour every single scented candle they sell. Ordinarily, there are 3,000 candles in Etikette’s Unley facility, but when we visit in early January there are less than 30 on the shelves.
“We completely sold out,” says Ella. “We’ve poured 2.5 tonnes of wax in 2019 alone.”
Business is booming for the small fragrance company, which names its signature scents after South Australian places. Names like Yorke, Innes, Penneshaw and Middleton adorn the simple brown paper labels in a typewriter font.
The very idea that handmade candles with South Australian namesakes could find a market interstate and overseas is some sort of contender for a Harvard Business School Case Study, in our opinion.
“It’s incredible,” Ella agrees. “People really get engaged in Etikette as more than just a brand. They are part of the recycling program, they really, genuinely go out and sell the product for us.”
“If you look at most of our tagged images [on Instagram] they’re by other people who go out and sing the Etikette Song and it’s amazing.”
Ella is the first to admit Etikette’s business has blossomed because of the social media platform and the following she’s been able to amass on Instagram. But while the social media platform is good for business, she’s also steadily been growing the company’s network of wholesale accounts across the country.
“We have 80 stockists now,” says Ella. “This time last year, we had about 35. It’s been huge.”
And the future is expected to be even bigger, with Ella’s Business SA mentor suggesting Etikette could achieve 300 per cent growth this year.
A lot of this projected growth is thanks to the addition of Etikette’s first full-time employee, Georgia.
“We had our 2020 planning day this week,” says Georgia, “as well as wanting to push further interstate and overseas with our product and distribution, our big plan for 2020 is to go to France.”
“We want to go and study a botanical extraction course for perfumery at The Grasse Institute of Perfumery in southern France,” says Ella.
“To date, the connection [of our products] to place and scent is fairly lateral, but I love the idea of going out and spending time in these locations and finding whatever the native plants are that can actually inform that scent,” says Ella.
Ella and Georgia are more than excited about the prospect of a trip to France, they are deeply passionate about their business’ mission and purpose.
“They say that smell is your strongest sense, because it responds directly to memory and emotion,” says Ella. “In an instant you can smell something and go 20 years back in time. There is a real power in scent and then when you add a namesake to that, all of a sudden it’s an emotional intersection of a literal memory someone has of a place and the ability to connect that for them in a way that no other product can.”
Etikette’s glass-encased candles may be a heavy product to shift, but it’s clearly a labour of love for this growing global fragrance company.