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Candle Corner

A Case Study
From a Victoria market stall
Candle Corner Achievements

Candle Corner grew from a humble part time market stall to a thriving business. What did they do to achieve their goals of a a boutique retailer selling unique candles and gifts sourced from all over the world? What started out as just a bit of fun for owners Nyree Hibberd and Tui Cordemans has grown into a serious business.

Nyree and Tui started out by making a one-off purchase of 2000 unique Lumiere candles that they sold at Melbourne's Queen
 Victoria Market on the weekends. Neither Nyree nor Tui had even bought a candle before, and they were thrilled that the beautiful, hand carved designs proved popular with customers.

They grew their product range, sourcing candles and gifts from all over the world. Candle Corner now sells a fantastic range of German tealight holders and lamps; pure essential oils and lumiere; and a variety of Aboriginal, Australian, scented, beeswax, pillar and taper candles.

The unique designs were a hit, and the business began to sell products wholesale to a number of shops, as well as direct to customers online. Over six years they built a reputation for providing first class customer service experience.

Excerpt from Candles Corner web site

At Candle Corner, our philosophy is FUN

We started selling candles on a Sunday purely for enjoyment - drinking and smoking the profits away on Sunday afternoon and night. About 4 weeks after opening, and having spent all of our takings, we realised that we needed to SAVE some of the money that we made each Sunday to buy more products.

It's been five years since then and we've come a very long way. While we try to keep the fun going without the intermittent self indulging, there's nothing better than owning an enjoyable, successful, growing business with your best friend!!

How did Candle Corner Start?

Our first set of candles were the Lumiere hand-carved ones. At almost 30 years of age, neither of us had ever purchased a candle in our lives. But we didn't let that stop us. We went ahead and purchased 2000 of them. The first photo is of us when we received our first order, complete with a bottle of champers to celebrate. Yes, PJ's indicate the time of day, but there's orange juice in those glasses too!

And as you can see in the second & third photo, we have a great stall at the Queen Vic Market (the largest open air market in the southern hemisphere) and we never stop joking around, keeping things fun.

Help from SBMS

The Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS) helped Candle Corner to assist it's growth. According to Business Victoria, Tui and Nyree were keen to explore further opportunities to expand, but felt they needed advice to give them the confidence to do something different.

During their mentoring sessions, Joanne explained how much bigger Candle Corner could be, and provided valuable advice regarding:

  • other potential retail outlets
  • protecting their designs
  • marketing
  • managing staff and employee relations
  • negotiation
  • corporate sales
  • customer service.
Net Needs Web Assessment

The Candle Corner web site is clear and well presented. It presents enticing bargains on the home page and invites the reader with a customer login and viewing a range of products. The navigation is easy and intuitive and online purchasing is straight forward. It was difficult to find the web site on Google and gave up after trying several key phrases. In terms of links there were 4240 web links to www.candlecorner.com.au while the top competing web site reflect 17,300 referring web links.

Over congratulations to Nyree and Tui and good luck for the future.


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