Community Stories: The Copper Bell

Posted on Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Written by The John F. Wood Centre For Business and Student Enterprise

The Copper Bell is a small candle business based in Downtown Guelph, created by Katrina Bell. After having her daughter Katrina developed a sensitivity to scented candles. Determined to find a solution that would allow herself and others with a scent sensitivity to have candles in their home, she started creating her own candles. All of Katrina's candles are made with natural soy wax, high quality fragrance oils, cotton wicks and a fun personality. Katrina's hand-poured soy candles come in a variety of scents, each with their own funny and unique name! Katrina is an inspiring entrepreneur who we wanted to learn from. 

What inspired you to start your business?

The Copper Bell first started as a creative side hustle to my day job. I had been doing the same job for a little over 4 years and really wanted a change. I had a difficult time moving to a new role within the organization I was working for so was looking for something to vent creativity into. I played around with making wreaths and candles and booked my first artisan markets in Fall 2019. At around the same time I was starting a new day job in a totally new field and had a very full plate. I started that job at the end of October 2019 and by the end of March 2020 I was part of a large Covid-related layoff at the company. Daycares had also closed so I was now jobless and home with a 2 year old. I decided to focus on growing my side hustle into something full time and by Fall 2020 things were really taking off!

What problem were you trying to solve?

I first made candles because I wanted to make something better than what I had been buying. After having my daughter I noticed I became very sensitive to candles and would often get headaches when burning them. I did some hunting around on Google and learned about different wax types and fragrance oil qualities. The first candles I made were just to give myself something I could burn and enjoy again and I quickly started sharing these with my friends. Now the scent list is constantly growing and I love coming up with new fragrance combinations and funny names for my stuff. 

What helps you to keep generating you new ideas to grow or change your business?

I have some really great Instagram followers who are super engaged with what I do! I constantly get new ideas from my customers and ask for feedback on what people like and don't like. My friends are a constant source of support when I want to try new things and I've developed strong relationships with other small businesses in the Guelph and tri-cities areas. Talking to others and being willing to try new things has been the best source of generating new ideas to help me grow.

What’s a piece of advice you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Find your minimum viable offer and start! You don't have to have everything perfect to test the market and see if there's demand for something you do or make. You don't have to invest huge amounts of time or money into something, there's always time and space to tweak and improve your craft. Be willing to fail and quickly get back up to try something different.

Check out The Copper Bell to learn more about the business and check out the awesome products offered!



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