Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in candle-making but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Diane Kennedy, owner of Three Wicks Candles, located in Courtice, ON, Canada.

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

Three Wicks Candles are made of 100% soy and hand-poured from my home in Courtice, Ontario. Making candles that are of high quality that are affordable, and Canadian-made is very important. Made in Canada means something, I source my materials from other Canadian companies.

It’s not just a candle, it’s a memory waiting to be made. If you take a moment and think about it, candles are at the center of life’s most precious memories. We use candles for special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and family gatherings. Candles symbolize coming together through hope, faith, romance, and at life’s end, the continuation of the spirit.

The flickering of candlelight creates a sparkling effect that many people find comforting, calming, and relaxing, while the smell of a candle can invoke special memories of loved ones. For me, that’s Baker’s Daughter, one of my fall scents. For years, my parents owned a bakery in Whitby, Ontario, and this fresh bread-smelling candle brings me back to my childhood and days of working together in the bakery as a family.

Tell us about yourself

When I set out on this journey of starting my business, I made the decision that I wanted to make a clean-burning candle that would be eco-friendly and as natural as possible. After much research, I settled on soy wax because it offers an alternative to traditional candles that are typically full of toxins. Making sure my candles are made from 100% soy wax with no added colour, phthalate-free, paraffin-free, with wicks that are lead free, and made in recyclable vessels is very important to me for the future of my daughters.

I’m Diane, the face behind the brand. I currently have a full-time career in the healthcare industry, but after 30 + years of service, I will soon retire. I wanted to find something that would keep me busy once I retire, that has meaning to me, and will be something that provides customers with an experience that invokes family memories. Family is very important to me, so much so that I named Three Wicks after my three daughters, who are the light of my life. They are my pillars of strength and inspire me every day to strive for more.

In small batches, I hand pour all candles from my home. I ensure every candle is of top quality and ready for you to start making your own memories.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

One of the services I offer is a refill program for all the candles I sell and any other candle company vessels. This program provides customers with a way to enjoy the candle over and over and avoid adding to landfills. Every little bit helps to keep our great Earth for generations to come. We all need to do our part, even with something as small as reusing candle jars.

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

A home-run business is much more than just the products we sell. No matter what business you run, the amount of time you put in matters. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for your business in order to grow, and it doesn't happen overnight. You have to be flexible to be able to accommodate changes that happen in the world. COVID is proof of that.

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

  1. Be passionate about what business you want to start.
  2. Have a business plan, set goals, and be ready to pivot as things change.
  3. Don't be afraid of your competition. Community over competition. There is room for everyone and working together with your competition makes everyone better.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

The small business community is the best support you will ever have. When I decided to have a small business, I had no idea how much other small businesses would be my biggest fans and support during difficult times, but I honestly cherish the friendships and networking that this community of other small businesses provides me in growing my business.

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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