From Hobby to Hustle: Jojo Guzman from The Opening Day
Jojo Guzman, founder of The Opening Day, started his candle business as a way to combine his passion for baseball and his love of candle making and fragrance. He wanted to create a collection with neutral branding that would appeal to those looking for a moment of self-care.
Keep reading to learn more about how Jojo found success in his small business and the moment his sales skyrocketed after being shown on live TV!
how it started
"I have always had a passion for candles and scents, so, I figured I would combine the two and start creating my own candles! I initially started with only candles and have since expanded to wax melts, occasionally a melt and pour soap, and even room sprays."
on building a business
"When I first started making, I knew that I wanted to build a business out of it. The issue? Figuring out all of the business logistics! I began making candles and experimenting with fragrances using the blogs and videos makesy offers on their YouTube channel.
Once I got the making down, then there was the testing (sigh) and back to the drawing board for any wick and fragrance oil combos that needed to be adjusted. I began visiting local popup events and made friends with local vendors that were all so kind in giving me advice on how to properly start up a candle business."
"Within 2 months of having my business online, a couple reached out to me and asked to purchase 80 candles as party favors for their wedding! At first, I thought it was a scam but when they offered a deposit up front and agreed to sign a contract, I knew it was for real.
Another milestone happened recently.
One of my candles was featured during a live TV broadcast of the Los Angeles Angels vs Kansas City Royals baseball game! My online sales went off the charts!
I wasn't watching the game but family, friends, and Instagram followers sent me tons of messages. It was the coolest moment when a huge entity like an MLB team chose to highlight a local small business."
on taking the leap
"I knew I could turn my hobby into a business when I finally nailed down my candle making recipe and started giving out candles to family and friends for free and asked for honest feedback.
Obviously, there were some adjustments needing to be made, however, one of the constants I kept getting was, “please tell me you plan on selling these?” and that is when I knew I had created a brand that was special to me.
It honestly felt like a dream; I tend to be someone who self-doubts a lot, so to receive honest feedback from people telling me to make this something bigger than I thought I could was pretty awesome."
on standing out
"Our products are made using eco-friendly and sustainable ingredients. What makes our products stand out is our unique branding.
One of the things I love hearing at maker events or reviews online is that customers have never seen a baseball-themed candle brand. As you can tell, baseball is one of my biggest passions, so I took the knowledge I had with it and used it in my marketing and brand aesthetic."
on making mistakes...or not
"I tend to move at a thousand miles per hour. One time, I was cleaning up my work station when I accidentally poured 1 type of fragrance oil that I was using to make candles into a brand new bottle of a completely different fragrance oil. I know, a recipe for disaster with the costs of those bad boys!
I decided 'what the heck, it’s already blended, might as well throw it in some wax' and that turned out to be one of my favorite candles I have in my lineup."
on getting advice
"I am fortunate to have a ton of maker friends that I can reach out to when I have business related questions. I also have a lawyer who specializes in small business, so it helps to know the legal ins and outs of things before I pursue them."
on where to invest
"100% supplies! It is terrible, because I am always finding ways to improve my business, I am constantly trying different waxes, fragrances, wicks, etc!"
on dreaming big
"I may sound delusional when I say this but I have dreams of my candles being sold at MLB stadiums across the country!
advice for new makers
"Be patient and test your products! Keep proper documentation of testing and do not rush into launching just for the heck of it. In candle making, I have learned that failing to do proper testing can push back launches and waste money.
I also suggest visiting local markets, meeting makers, talking to them, asking questions, and joining Facebook groups. The candle making community is always willing to help, you just have to be willing to ask!"