From Hobby to Hustle: Jesse Orefice of Cinder&Loam
Jesse Orefice, founder and maker behind Cinder&Loam shares the journey behind building her successful candle making business. From creating her first collection to collaborating with a cause she's passionate about, she has a brand story that really inspired us. We hope it resonates with you too!
how it started
"Ever since I was little, I’ve been really creatively driven.
Building and creating things is where I find the most peace.
I was always surrounded by people who were encouraging me in creative endeavors.
I’ve made candles on and off since I was young, and eventually decided that I wanted to make a business out of it.
When I decided to start as a company, I had something very different in mind compared to what you see today as Cinder&Loam.
There were many iterations before I got to a place that felt right, and getting my products where I wanted was extremely involved.
Finding a company that had the quality I was looking for was time consuming. It took me a long time to settle on my first collection, which was nine fragrances."
how it's going
"I’m currently in the process of adding a second collection to my line up. Always evolving and expanding!
I started selling at markets and have pursued those markets as enthusiastically as possible. They’re where I make a lot of connections and get to learn what's working and what's not for my customers.
The markets are still my primary source of business while I build my online presence up."
on taking the leap
"I finally had the realization that I had the capability and drive to bring something to life. It always seemed like something that other people could do, but just out of grasp for me.
I’ve often been one to start a project and get distracted by something else so when starting a candle business kept my interest for a long time, it felt great to have that follow through and keep moving forward with it."
on surreal small biz moments
"Seeing Cinder&Loam come to life with a website was surreal! It meant that all of my efforts and ideas were coming together, and that they were turning into a tangible successful candle business.
Before that, working with my wonderful graphic designer (who also did my website) and getting my labels printed was incredibly special. It made me feel validated and gave me the confidence to pursue my business more vigorously!"
"The whole process has been incredibly empowering. Getting the confidence to take the next steps as a business has given me boosts in other areas of my life.
It’s been so fulfilling to be working with other candle makers that I’ve admired for a long time, and it makes me want to keep creating more."
on standing out & giving back
"A huge component of creating the company I want has been focussing on high quality and thoughtfully curated products that also give back. It’s extremely important to me to have products that are not only luxurious and beautiful, but that are also good for your home and the environment.
Finding Makesy was an immense step for Cinder&Loam, as their components aligned with the standards I had envisioned for my products.
I’ve endeavored to lend a chic and elegant look to products that customers can feel good about, and have made it a cornerstone of Cinder&Loam to make sure that I can guarantee a toxin free experience for them.
I’ve been lucky enough to connect with a local organization, The Monka Foundation, and am in the final production stages of “The Insley Candle”, which will see 100% of proceeds go to research for pediatric cancer."
on making mistakes
"The biggest challenge has been learning to go with the flow.
I often start out with a concrete vision of a product and am now comfortable letting that evolve into something else as it comes to life.
I feel that being so attached to my initial ideas hindered me creatively in the beginning, as I was putting myself into a box of limited options.
I would get so attached to the initial concept and inevitably end up frustrated with myself for not bringing it to life EXACTLY like I had envisioned.
It’s been a work in progress, learning to let go, but I’ve definitely found value in being flexible, accepting feedback and admitting that there’s no defeat in changing things around and letting a product develop organically. It’s all part of the creative process!"
on seeking business advice
"I’m blessed to be in a community that has a multitude of successful makers and entrepreneurs. There are so many generous business owners who are willing to share their insight and experiences, and I’ve been lucky enough to call on them when I need input.
My husband has been really helpful, as he’s much more pragmatic than myself, so he’s been a really valuable resource in encouraging me, but still keeping me tethered when I get ahead of myself and overwhelmed."
on investing in the future
"I invest the most in candle supplies. Every dollar made is turned around and put back into the business. I would love to expand in my marketing strategy, however being a newer business, I have to be judicious about where I allocate my budget.
I look forward to being able to spend more on other aspects of my business, but am really grateful to be where Cinder&Loam is at today."
on staying motivated
"The biggest motivation is knowing that every little bit counts. I’m working towards my own goals and dreams even when the individual accomplishments may seem small.
It’s the first time that I’m truly working on my own idea and bringing it to fruition. I also find motivation in the success of others, when I see them succeed, it lets me know that it’s possible for me too.
Having return customers that I get to know is invaluable, and a huge compliment. Knowing that they choose to shop with me is so special."
on helping new makers
"Give yourself grace. It’s so important to treat yourself and encourage yourself like you would a friend or a partner. Your efforts and ideas are all so important, and putting yourself down is demeaning to the hard work you’re doing. I’d also suggest knowing your worth and doing your research.
I learned the hard way that even though a project might sound fun, it might not be the right fit. I’d be so excited that someone was interested in my product, that I’d say yes to a collaboration or project that ultimately did not align with my personal or business needs.
It’s ok to say no to something, and it's so important to let your priorities and individual needs guide the choices you make. The energy you put into your business isn’t endless, so make sure to protect and care for yourself too."