Female Founders Series | Jess, House of Wellington
Hi, I'm Jess, Founder and Chief Candle Maker at House of Wellington, although you could also call me the businesses director, accountant, social media manager, sourcing specialist, customer service champion, pick & packer (I love wearing many hats hehe). First and foremost, I am mum to two incredible little humans who I just adore more than life itself, and then of course, my third baby is this business.
Tell us about you!
When I'm not playing mum, I am head down tail up completely immersed in nurturing my business and helping it grow. It's probably also important to mention here that I'm also lucky enough to be married to my best friend, who continues to let me live my best life, and fulfil my dreams and goals as a small business owner.
"So, in a nutshell, I'm a juggler.... I like to think I'm good at it, but generally drop at least one ball most days haha"
I try to make sure that I add that personal touch to all aspects of my business, whether it be developing a signature fragrance, building meaningful business relationships with our suppliers and stockists, or making sure I get to chat with our customers, I believe that it’s those little details that are the ones that often make the biggest impression and difference.
And your brand...
House of Wellington is a boutique fragrance house located in Cairns, Far North Queensland. I launched my business, in early 2016, under the brand Wellingtons Wick, where we quickly grew a reputation for creating beautifully scented, and high-quality hand poured Australian made candles and home fragrance products. And I'm super proud to say that we now supply retailers with our candles and home fragrance products around the country.
"I draw on nature and our beautiful location to inspire our fragrances and collections. Our signature scent for example, Palm Cove, is named after one of my favourite places. It's where we went camping as a family when we were kids, it's where my hubby and I were married, and it's where we take our kids for day trips now."
Our focus is, and will always be, to produce sustainable, Australian made products that inspire daily-rituals to encourage self-care. Nothing reflects this ethos more than our shiny new Goddess Collection.
What inspired you to start your own business?
"It didn't happen overnight. I spent months and months (and months) testing, trialling, failing, almost succeeding, failing again, and so on, until.... I finally came up with a recipe for the perfect candle, and we still base all our candles today on that same original recipe that started it all."
I am a qualified social worker, and in an extremely stressful role… then my dad received some pretty devastating health news, which kind of made me reconsider everything I knew to be true.
It was in that moment I decided I didn't want to spend another day doing something that I didn't love or that wasn't making me happy. So, there I was.... happy.... but suddenly unemployed.
Long story short, I paired my creative flair and design knowledge (I'm also a qualified graphic Designer) with my absurd obsession for candles, and Wellingtons Wick was born.
What's the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a female founder?
Definitely location! Whilst living in Far North Queensland, which is a beautiful part of the country and is the backbone of my inspiration, it has also been an obstacle to our business growth.
Being in a regional area, everything costs more to send or receive, and it has been harder for us to get national exposure - always hugely challenging when travel is required to attend interstate trade shows. That being said, this has only pushed me harder to get this business where I want it to be.
"I take on challenges and see them as opportunities … to learn, or grow personally or professionally, because I know that when I am out of my comfort zone, or having to think outside the box, that I am learning something new."
What’s the best advice you’ve been given and who shared this with you?
One of my close girlfriends (just in passing really) gave me this advice, quite early on in the business. Looking back, it was probably the most powerful advice I could have received.
Every time I feel the slightest bit of doubt creeping in, I remind myself of those two words, I pull my sh*t together, and remind myself that 'I got this!'
Celebrate other female founders and win!
We've teamed up with Jessica M Studio to celebrate IWD 2021 with this amazing giveaway worth $1000. Head over to the 'gram to enter and for all the details - winner announced 9 March 2021.