Today we’d like to introduce you to Ebonney Williams.
Ebonney, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
The idea for Maison Noir came about 3 or 4 years ago. I originally wanted to launch a shoe line. I have a formal degree in Fashion Merchandising. I called my mentor, Super producer Warryn Campbell and spoke with him about the idea. Warryn himself had previously owned a shoe store and created his own line of shoes. He explained the costs of creating a shoe line would be extremely expensive. I only wanted to produce the best and wanted my line to be manufactured in Italy. He suggested that I create a business that had low start-up costs but would yield a high return. In his words, ” like candles or something.” Within a couple of days, I had a conversation with my good girlfriend Oshanda about the shoe line and crazy enough, she also suggested a business with a low start-up that had a high return. Surprisingly, she suggested candles as well.
Over the next couple of years, I set out to learn everything I could about creating a candle line. I would be on google for hours researching wax, wicks, glass, fragrance oil, mixing, etc. I would also research my favorite candle lines and their founders. I wanted to learn as much as possible. Before moving to Atlanta two years ago, I flew down to take classes on candle making & fragrance mixing. To the untrained professional, candles would seem like the easiest thing to create. One too many ounces of fragrance can cause a candle to explode or clog the wick and not burn properly. Not having the properly sized wick can cause a candle to burn too fast or not fast enough. I remember calling Libbey, the glass manufacturer, to inquire about colored glass. If you can’t tell, I am an extreme perfectionist. Finally, in May 2019, I launched Maison Noir.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Absolutely not. I believe in current times and with social media, people tend to believe that you launch a business and boom you’re a millionaire and that is the furthest thing from the truth. You also have business owners giving the impression that you can start a business with $500. In the beginning, you are using your personal money to fund your business. I literally started testing candles back in 2017 while working a 9-5. I know that I have spent thousands of dollars alone on testing. I’ve had to purchase glass, wax, wicks, fragrance oil, and let’s not talk about shipping prices. And in the candle business, you’re constantly testing. It’s almost like being in Chemistry class all over again. You finally get the fragrance ratio correct and then your candle has sinkholes. You also have to have money to continue to put into the business, buy shipping supplies, run a website, promotional products, photoshoots, etc. Of course, I’d rather spend that money on a nice vacay or a night on the town with my girls.
I currently work in the TV/Film industry and it sometimes becomes overwhelming to have a full-time job and run Maison Noir. Once I get home, I have to devote time to run my business. You have to fulfill orders, reply to emails, post on social media, create Instagram and Facebook campaigns, send and create email campaigns, etc. On top of that, I also try to at least attend one vending event a month to continue to grow Maison Noir organically. And sometimes that means driving 2-3 hours for a 6-hour event. These events can range anywhere from $250-$1k+. All the while trying to maintain a social life!!
I’ve learned that running a business is about consistency and sacrifice. You will have to decide between buying a new outfit and replenishing supplies. Even now, I sometimes have to take personal money to put into Masion Noir and that is ok. You will also have your days where you are not motivated or discouraged because sales are not where you want them to be. But you have to get up every day and push through. Even when you think no one will see your post when you feel like your products may be “too pricey,” when you’ve had $0 sales for 2 or 3 weeks or when your family and friends are no longer supporting. As my trainer, Dooley would say “Find A Way.”
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Maison Noir – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Maison Noir is a premier luxury candle company. We use quality wax and the finest fragrance oils. Every candle is handmade with love. I often get the question of where I source my candles. Each candle is handmade in my kitchen by me. That is what sets us apart.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I am currently working on a brand makeover. I always want to improve my products and give my customers the absolute best. The brand makeover will include new vessels, new labels and new fragrances. I am working with a perfumer out of Paris to create the absolute most tantalizing fragrances. My long term goal is to have Maison Noir inside of Neiman Marcus, Saks, etc. Maison Noir will also expand its product offering into perfumes, room/linen sprays and diffusers.
- Signature 9oz Candles $30
- Travel 4oz Candles $15
- Website: www.maisonnoir.co
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @maisonnoir.co
- Facebook: @maisonnoir.co