Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Britt Buntain, Founder of Picot Collective, located in Victoria, BC, Canada.

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

We are a plant-based, non-toxic candle and skincare manufacturing company. Our customers are predominately Canadian women from 24-65 who care about natural, high-quality ingredients for their home and body. Our signature scent, Honey Tobacco, started as a candle, and we have grown from there into moisturizers, facial serums, bath products, and personal fragrances.

Tell us about yourself

My business is a result of wanting better for myself and others. I learned of the harmful chemicals in a lot of candles that we typically see on shelves, so I created my own non-toxic, soy-wax candle for my home goods shop in 2015. People loved our Honey Tobacco scent so much as a candle that they would rub the wax on their skin as a scented moisturizer. Lightbulbs went off, and we expanded into personal fragrance and skincare. We closed the brick-and-mortar home goods shop in 2017 and have been selling out products online and wholesaling to Canadian retailers ever since.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Sticking it out for 8 years and not letting fear of a new venture hold me back from evolving the way the business needed to. But maybe even more than that, I have a lot of customers today that have been with us since day one in the shop in 2015, and that is probably the biggest accomplishment, the fact that we have evolved so much and they are still with us is a testament to the impact of our products, and the relationships we have built over the years.

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

I honestly struggle with writing this answer. There are a lot of challenges, but I don't think I have experienced any that are unique. Running a business requires you to thrive in chaos, so I've embraced certain challenges to be motivating. Burnout is real though, so learning to step back from work and genuinely carve time away from it is important. The working 24/7 thing rubs me the wrong way because it's simply unsustainable. Even when something commands your full attention, you have to take breaks and not sacrifice the basic necessities like healthy food, sleep, play, and exercise. It's the basic things outside of your business that can become hard.

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

  1. Write a really solid business plan and talk to an accountant about the best way to set your finances and taxes up. Don't forget that a business is not just an idea, service, or product; it's numbers and analytics. Get passionate about them and check them regularly to inform your decision-making.
  2. Don't be afraid to ask for help or advice on certain areas you feel out of your depth on, especially if it's going to save you time and money in the long run. Know when to trust your instincts on something over the advice of others, too.
  3. The only difference between you being successful at something and someone else doing it instead is not money; it's that they truly believed in what they were offering and didn't give up when it got hard. They got creative and probably pretty scrappy at times. If your idea is genuinely solving a problem and helping people feel better about something in their life, then stick with it and keep learning about it and its broader placement in the world, too.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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