Welcome back to Get Inspired, a bi-weekly (yes, I promise it'll be bi-weekly now!) Q&A series with some of our favourite creatives. Grab a snack, put up your feet, and start scrolling. We've decided to opt out of intros this time around and get right into the good stuff. You ready?!
Hi Monika! Can you talk to us about how MMann came to be?
Honestly, I’ve been obsessed with home decor & lifestyle since I can remember. Growing up I didn’t always have the most stable home life which really made me want to nurture and create dream spaces with warm ambiances of my own. I always pictured a large family surrounding a beautifully decorated table enjoying delicious food, so now as an adult, I have taken on this role within my small family and friends. I’m always hosting and I truly take it very seriously. I want everyone coming into our home to feel special and loved - one of the most important things that can elevate your space is lighting - I always have candles lit in the house and at the table. Doesn’t matter what time of year or what time of day. I also knew I wanted to do something creative and work for myself. I come from a self-made-entrepreneur family, but couldn’t ever pinpoint what I could succeed at. Flash forward to pandemic life 2020, my partner and I were at one of my favourite shops and I was eyeing yet another beautifully sculpted candle that I needed (and in my eyes was too expensive - now I know why ;) ) and he said to me...why don’t you just make your own? I looked at him like it was the most insane thing I ever heard him say…but it all made sense….so I started making them just for me, until everyone within my community was asking how they could get their hands on them!
You launched your company during a pandemic () - how has that experience impacted you both as an entrepreneur and human!?
If you told 2019 Monika Mann that she would have started a small business during a pandemic the following year and leave her salary paid job, I would have told you...You obviously don’t know who I am. I have always played it safe. But I don’t think I realized how much my corporate hustle life was not serving me. It took the pandemic and seeing how quickly life can change, how quickly one can lose everything to finally realize I wasn’t fully living. I had worked so hard for amazing people and companies, what would happen if I worked as hard for myself? I knew if I didn’t try I would regret it.
Is there a piece of advice you were given when you first started that really stuck with you?
You will struggle, a lot, in your first year of starting your own business, but it's the ones who stick it out that succeed.
Can you talk a little bit about the process of making candles? How did you learn?
I researched a lot, I watched videos, I read a lot of articles but it was a lot of trial and error. Candle making is a science - the type of wax you use, the dye, the temperature you melt, stir the dye, and pour. Even the temperature of your space is important. I learned the staples from the research but had to create my own science and guidelines around it by messing up.
When you're coming up with a new concept or new shape, how do you approach production?
The first thing I think about is how will this elevate a person’s mood + space. I tend to create/make things that I like but I test them out with my amazing community and request feedback etc. But at the end of the day, I create things I love because that’s why I created MMann Candles and I’m happy that so many people also feel the same way about my candles.
I know that life as an entrepreneur presents you with new challenges and projects every day but, could you tell us what an average day looks like for you?
Almost every morning I try to start my day with a walk around my neighbourhood, it gets the blood flowing and energizes me for the day. I try very hard not to start with emails in bed but I can't say it doesn’t happen. After walking, I properly tackle emails and re-organize my to-do list, by then Hot Heidi (my wax melter) is ready to go - I work on wholesale + website orders (I keep a very small inventory amount) and then work on product development/admin and finish the day with more emails. I always go over my yearly goals and turn them into affirmations, it sounds silly but it's so important. It helps me work to get over imposter syndrome.
What inspires you?
I try to have a weekly call with powerful women that I’m lucky to call friends, just to share our struggles and successes and it’s always uplifting. I also draw inspiration from moments with loved ones and with myself. This may sound weird but I always go to moments, spaces and food. A bubble bath, entertaining friends and family around our table with good wine and food. Sitting in the park reading. Pouring how I feel in those moments into a candle, so I can revisit that feeling wherever and whenever. I bring my own candles + holders when I travel - why can’t we always try and make ourselves feel good + create warm ambiances? We deserve it!
Are there any projects you can tell us about?
I have heard everyone loud and clear - I'm working on scents! Just delivered in more ways than one - also stay tuned for a little MMann upgrade coming soon!
If you had to pick a favourite creation of yours, what would it be?
What are you a neophyte at right now?
I’m a neophyte at owning a small business! I'm constantly growing and learning. I hope that never changes. This summer I loved playing around with making my own floral arrangements for my place (fresh flowers and candles are a must for every home) I don’t exactly know what I’m doing and I’m very bad with flower names but I'm learning and I love the way it makes me feel.
Monika's Neophyte Picks!
1. Shameless plug but the Corny for You candle - because I made it and how can you go wrong?
2. The Fly away anklet - it makes me feel nostalgic and I love all the colours ( this is new for me, I used to be all black all the time baby)
3. The Pearl Party Vase - Love me some home goods, this is such a beautiful creative piece that I would love to create some arrangements in!!