Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Fernando Crisantos, co-founder of BADWAX, located in Santa Ana, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

BADWAX makes candles that are hand-poured & hand-packaged in Orange County, California. We believe in doing things the old-fashioned way - focusing on quality and crafting things with our hands. We make custom fragrances for BADWAX with premium scented oils ensuring strong but not overly powering scents.

Our mission is to provide the best quality hand-crafted candles in the world while putting smiles on people's faces.

Tell us about yourself

During Covid - I know that's a cliche story now - but during Covid, my girlfriend Sophia purchased an at-home paraffin wax kit, like the kind they dip your hands in at the nail salon. She continued to dip my hands and feet in this hot wax, and I realized that paraffin is the same typical wax you find in commercially available candles. I peeled that wax from my limbs, rolled up a piece of napkin paper into a wick, crafted a phallic male organ around it, slapped it on our countertop, and lit it. Behold...This wax penis burned just like a candle!

Immediately, I purchased us an Amazon candle-making kit to pass the time during Covid. Two days later - God bless two-day Prime shipping - we started making wax candles for our home. Before the candles even hardened and set, I was thinking of cool candle company names (I like to buy website domains for fun and speculation). BADWAX was one of the first domains that had a nice ring and fell in line with the title of our first two candle names: EAT ME OUT FOR ONCE & DON'T DO DRUGS IN OUR BATHROOM. The domain had been purchased by a website shark selling it for a profit, and he was selling it for $2,000!

We were both struggling financially after Covid, but something in my gut forced me to click the purchase button on GoDaddy. Sophia thought I was crazy, and I knew she was questioning if I would be a reckless lover and life partner. She was still the most supportive queen and started designing some label templates. We created a shared Apple notepad with all the badass, edgy and funny names we could come up with. The dirtiest ones came from her mind... I was both impressed and concerned with what went on in her mind.

Within two weeks, we sought out the best quality suppliers of wax, glass containers, and other materials we could find and set up a Shopify store with the experience of the previously failed companies I had attempted. We were up and running in less than two weeks with a few thousand dollars of inventory, mounting sunk costs, and ZERO sales. November was a couple of days away, and holidays were right around the corner, and still no sales after day 1. I brought free candles to friends, and everyone loved the packaging and names. I knew they were something people would love, but how would everyone know that candles of this quality with these amazing titles were available? I started blasting ads on every social platform I knew, and sales started cranking.

There was one problem - We had no idea how to make a candle properly. After the first few days of making candles on the small stovetop kit from Amazon, we knew we were way in over our heads. With hours of research, and advice from the homie & owner John, over at California Candle Supply, upgrading to a large commercial wax melter and converting my office den to a candle factory, we were properly ready for production. It was a madhouse, with scattered candle jars, stacks of boxes, spilled wax, etc. Sophia and I couldn't do it alone, so my parents, both mom and dad came over a few nights a week after their jobs and helped with what they could. They are amazing.

We got all the orders out in time and quickly improved our process. A big shoutout goes to guys over at Suavecito Pomade who have allowed us to use a portion of their warehouse and helped us set up our first storefront in Downtown Santa Ana. Their drive for success, experience, and ability to turn everything they touch into gold is something to be revered. We are now in multiple stores across the US and love our awesome growing community.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Our biggest accomplishment was being able to swiftly navigate growth and overcome every obstacle thrown our way.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The hardest part has to be focusing on starting a business and maintaining and keeping your current business, job, or main flow of income to support the ability to keep growing.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Just do it. Grow from failure.
  2. Learn about marketing and ads.
  3. Provide value and a service or product people want, not just something you want.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Please reach out if you have any questions or comments on how we can better improve our candles or improve the community.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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