At just 25 years old, Founder and Director of Sassy Shop Wax, Keely Parsons, has taken what started out as a hobby making scented wax melts to fragrance her first home, and turned it into a multi-million pound home fragrance brand with a community of over 90 thousand customers, and stocked by the likes of Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing and Prezzy Box. Here are Keely’s top 5 tips to do the same.
1. Embrace your struggles
You might not know it at the time, but 9/10 when you arrive at a place you’ve been working to get to, you’ll look back and think, I don’t think I would be here without that happening. Just go for it.
When I first started making wax melts just over 4 years ago I wasn’t planning on it turning into a brand as big as it is today. I was burnt out from the pressure I had put on myself at school and miserable doing the 9 to 5 job I thought I had to do to pay the bills and live with my partner in our first home together, but it was doing just that, that made me realise where the gap was in the market and find my passion for wax melts that have given me the life I have today.
2. Pick your moment
Once you’re at a comfortable risk level, go all in. This time will be different for everyone and is never easy. I started doing longer days at my job with the goal to save money that could be invested into the start of my business. This meant that at one point I was doing 12-hour days at work, commuting 2 hours, and then working on the wax melts when I got home. Something I’m sure many side-hustlers will empathise with. In the end, the right time for me was when I fell pregnant with my first child – I had maternity pay to fall back on but risked the precious time with my young family.
3. Don’t look for validation in other people
What I was doing wasn’t easy and my friends and colleagues at work would often ask me why I even bothered, but I knew there was potential for this to work and it taught me this important lesson, not to look for validation in other people.
A lot of people won’t understand what you’re doing, some will learn to and some will never. Back yourself. People will probably tell you you’re doing too much. When you have tunnel vision, those who don’t get it will observe everything you’re doing and be negative about it. “You’ll get burn out” “you’re doing too much” “I don’t get how you do it all” “calm down”. Ignore them, listen to yourself. If you are lucky enough to have people around you that do learn to understand what you are doing, get them to join you quick! No one will work harder towards the vision than your loved ones who share it. My partner Theo quit his job and joined Sassy Shop Wax in 2019 as Operations Director and we would never go back.
4. Make time for you, but not because other people said too.
If you’ve got a spare hour but your head is in finishing your project then work and don’t let anyone else make you feel bad for working towards your dreams. On the other hand, you have a spare hour and you feel yourself low energy, take a bath, watch Netflix, do whatever you do to recalibrate.
5. Know your industry
This might seem like an obvious one but for me, it quickly turned from hobby to business and it’s easy to underestimate how much background work you have to put in to be an expert in your field. In my case, it was wax melts but also e-commerce. You might spend a lot of time on social media anyway, get on ok making a website and just seeing what happens as a hobby, but as a business, you need to think about driving traffic, engaging content and actually noticing what is working and what’s not. It’s a whole other world. Get comfortable with high pressure. If you’re not, don’t start your own business!