1.Hey Maya, I just met you 3 weeks ago and I can’t be more happy to have you as my very first female founder, who I am interviewing now. Could you please introduce yourself and your wonderful project.
Hi Lilly! It’s great to meet young independent women business owners like yourself! I moved to Berlin nearly 5 years ago with my partner from Canada. When I first moved to Berlin, I actually didn’t know I was going to create my own business one day, but the city welcomed me with open arms and allowed me to tap into my creative side and make a living out of it – for which I am eternally grateful. I first worked in event planning and in business development for a few startups before deciding to create something I could call my own. Soon after, in the spring of 2017, Garden State Candles blossomed from my very own kitchen.
2. How did we meet and why did you want to work with me?
We met at the right place and just at the right time. It was back in December 2019 at the House House event hosted by Souq Berlin. You kindly came up to me and expressed your love for supporting women-owned businesses, it was obvious that you led your projects with a deep passion and we bonded over shared values. I wanted to offer you the platform to do so, and shortly after, you moved into my shop to curate a 6 week long pop-up for your brand Lalovliy.
3. I love your Logo. Does it have a special meaning to you?
Garden State Candle’s logo is a one line drawing inspired by my rescue, Louee. I adopted Louee back when I was a student in Montreal, Canada and we were quite the pair! We had the most special bond, and I am forever grateful to all the animal rescue shelters out there, who work diligently to give these sweet animals a second chance. Our way of giving thanks is by donating a portion of our profits to animal rescue shelters around the world. We are proud to say that we work with shelters in Germany, Morocco, France, Canada, and the US.
4. When did you decide to make a living out of your passion? Which were your hardest challenges? How did it work out?
That’s a complex question. Working in a startup allowed me to take a step back and re-evaluate myself and what I wanted in life. I quickly realized that I wanted more than to just dedicate my time and skills towards a bigger entity’s goals – trading my happiness for financial stability and security isn’t me. I had a clear idea of what I didn’t want but finding the answers to what I did want proved to be a bit of a soul-searching process. Expressing myself in a creative way has always been a release for me – whether it was through set decorating for film, theatre or visual display design for stores, I discovered a true love for turning ideas into realities by making & creating with my hands. Candle making has such a creative & therapeutic process of production – I often feel like a little witch blending fragrances together with emotions and memories to create a beautiful yet sensitive candle with a story.
5. A part of your successful business is not only having your own shop, but also doing weekly candle making workshops. Why do you think, giving away your knowledge and secrets behind your candles, is a good idea?
I absolutely love hosting my candle making workshops. They allow me to get to know my clients on a personal level, offer a creative moment to disconnect from the digital and reconnect with our senses, as well as offer brand transparency. The feedback from my workshops makes being an independent business owner that much more worth it! Some participants have felt inspired to launch themselves in their own venture, others have taken their candle making knowledge home with them to continue the process. The question “aren’t you afraid someone will copy you?” comes up often, but I believe more in community over competition and as my mom would say “if someone copies you, take it as a compliment.”
If you want to join Maya for her Candle making workshop, you can click the link and book your ticket! I totally recommend that!
To the workshops: https://themakery.de/natural-candle/Berlin
6. Which tips would you give other girls pursuing their dreams or are afraid of doing what the love?
I would first ask the question “how do you measure success and what does that mean to you. Personally, trading my happiness and freedom for financial stability isn’t how I measure success. I would advise them to be patient and truly believe in their project and themselves. Self doubt is real, especially in the harder times, nothing is handed to you, so be persistent, honest and kind in everything you do. Open your mind yourself to others, as you never know what opportunity is just around the corner – sometimes it’s just about being in the right place at the right time.
Thank you so much, Maya!
Please check out her wonderful work on www.gardenstatecandles.com!