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Meet Lola Ajayi-Ogundipe of Cooper Lake Candle Co. in Smyrna

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lola Ajayi-Ogundipe.

Lola, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Candle making was supposed to be a therapeutic hobby. I was feeling a lot of stress around 2013/2014 and I wanted… needed to do something creative. I was watching an episode of The Profit in which Marcus Lemonis was consulting with a candle company. It wasn’t until then that I realized that candles could be made at home. I thought to myself, “that seems cool and I love candles. I’ll give it a try.”

A quick trip to the local hobby store and a $25 candle kit later, I fell in love with the whole process.

Don’t get me wrong, it has been a journey. My first candles looked great but burned horribly. Friends and family who received them as gifts were loving enough to lie about how great they were! Ha! But I pressed on and spent almost two years researching, testing, and retesting different waxes and wicks and fragrances until I got it right. That formula is the one I still use today.

I still feel happy and relaxed when making candles, so the original goal definitely worked out. However, my dear husband believed in me so much and he encouraged me to turn it into a little business. My first good candle sold to a real customer in 2015 and it’s been non-stop ever since.

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?
If any business owner tells you that it has been a smooth road, run!

The biggest struggle that I faced at the beginning of forming my candle company was trying to put enough of a different twist on my product to help it stand out in a sea of similar products. I tried everything. I mean, everything! Candles in boxes, candles in tins, candles in glass, basic fragrances vs. luxury fragrances, simple labels vs. complex labels and on and on.

I eventually figured out that if I don’t just pick something and stick with it, I would never be able to find “my” customer.

Today, my struggle is finding a balance between online customer orders, wholesale, and direct to consumer orders. I’m currently working on a strategy to shift the majority of sales to the online sector.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Cooper Lake Candle Co. – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Cooper Lake Candle Co. was named after the road we live on. I wanted a simple name that represented where the dream started. I make candles that burn very well, using top-notch fragrance oils which appeal to all senses and I especially focus on the beauty of the candle itself. I believe that a candle is a decor element as well as a source of the pleasant aroma. My packaging, which I design and apply myself, uses beautiful metallic foiling on opaque vellum to create a small piece of art in the home.

My biggest point of pride with Cooper Lake Candle Co. is that I have managed to offer other lines of service under the company name. Last year, we began working as a private label candle supplier for a well-known clothing store with over 10 locations.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Most major business owners would cringe to hear me say this but I don’t mind keeping Cooper Lake Candle Co. operating as a small side business. I like that I can still have my hands in every part of the process and I love that I can continue to be creative and change course at a moments notice if needed. I have two young, amazing daughters, an extremely supportive, busy husband and another business that I run independently from the candle company. I am not pressed to push the candles more than I can handle. I’m very happy with where it is right now. I think a lot of people get scared if they are not growing exponentially, but I don’t mind enjoying what is at the moment.


  • 8.2 Oz candle $16

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