Having Passion- Being passionate is another essential trait for leaders. Passion is the fuel that gives you the motivation and confidence to deliver your mission and purpose for what you do and why you do it. It is the leading factor in becoming a successful entrepreneur. Passion keeps you going when all else seems to fell.
As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shondra Glover, founder of Anjelah Candle Company.
Shondra Glover is a strong and creative founder and entrepreneur committed to making her mark in the world of business. Using the highest grade of a coconut and soy wax blend infused with premium fragrance oils, you can ensure that every Anjelah Candle meets the highest of standards. Every candle carries a bit of love, light, and memories that will bring a warming presence to any environment.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
Anjelah Candle Company was birthed from a journey of love, patience, and healing between my mother and me after her cancer diagnosis. Prior to this, I had worked as an entrepreneur in the wedding industry, first as a linen rental store owner, a bridal show producer, then becoming the owner of a wedding magazine that was on the newsstand for 3 years. The wedding industry was my comfort zone, so getting into the art of candle-making was quite a surprise. During the short time, my mom lived with me during her treatments, we created a bond through the art of creation. As a form of relaxation and stress relief, I immersed myself in the art of candle making while my mother helped me create the perfect blend of aromatic fragrances. Candle-making became therapeutic during this difficult time. Although it was something that I never imagined myself doing as a business, I embraced it and quickly fell in love with candle-making.
The journey was difficult, but I saw it as a gift from my mom. Our candles are made using a coconut soy blend of wax and paired with a cotton wick for a cleaner burn and have a way of bringing people together through notes that evoke happy memories.
Inspired by the beautiful, happy memories that come with each candle made, we honor my mother through the name of our business Anjelah Candle Company. One of the greatest and final gifts she could give to me. We hope that with each candle you burn, you will be filled with your own memories and happiness.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
The most interesting thing I would say happened was when I received a phone call from an event planner asking if I could do custom candles for a client at the last minute. Not knowing who the client was, I agreed. I requested the logo so I could get started right away as we were on a limited time schedule. Once I received the logo, I realized it was for Diddy’s brand, Ciroc. This opportunity said to me you should always put your best effort into all you do because you never know who is watching.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest mistake I made was underestimating the retail market. I assumed that once I launched my candles everyone would come, and I would sell out immediately.
I had to learn how to communicate to a whole new audience as I moved out of the wedding industry and into candle-making. I was used to giving people tips and tricks, whereas now I had to sell them on my product and convenience them to purchase it. I have learned although some business strategies have similarities they do not work the same across every market.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My husband, Art Glover, inspired my entrepreneurial journey. Without his support and encouragement, I would not have achieved so many wonderful things in my 20-year career. He never looked at any of my failures negatively but as a learning curve that was preparing me for where I am supposed to be. He is always encouraging me to keep going. My favorite piece of advice he has given me has been, you can always try it and if it doesn’t work, you can always try something else.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?
I think self-doubt is one of the many factors that hold women back from founding companies. It is one of the things I once struggled with personally. Starting something that is in unfamiliar territory can create a lot of mental stress. It will have you questioning whether you are good enough, smart enough, or even strong enough. If your mindset is not focused on the bigger picture, it is easy to succumb to the pressures and doubts surrounding you. If you want success as an entrepreneur, you must believe in yourself.
Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?
I think having a great support system can help women overcome these obstacles. Joining and creating more networking groups can be very beneficial. Being around other talented women entrepreneurs is valuable because you can learn from their strengths, and they can often keep you motivated to continue to move forward.
This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?
Women have great leadership skills. We are strong, resilient, nurturing, and great communicators. We bring balance to every perspective of business while paying attention to every detail. This can lead to an extremely successful business. I like to think of women as trailblazers because they create their own path to success.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?
The idea that women cannot maintain a proper balance between their personal life and work life is a myth. Many believe women who wear many hats must choose and can’t have it all. With proper planning, prioritizing, and the right mindset women are more than capable of balancing their work and personal life. You can have it all!
Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?
No, I do not think everyone is cut out to be a founder, and that’s ok. Some people enjoy being part of the team. However, as a founder, it requires a certain skill set. The most important trait is self-motivation. Self-motivation is the key to achieve your goals and stay positive. This is one thing no one can do for you. It is your mindset that’s helps you never lose sight of the goal and the vision of why you are working so hard. As a founder, you must exhibit good leadership qualities to be a successful business owner. This is another important aspect of entrepreneurship. You must have the ability to lead.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your opinion and experience, what are the “Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder?” (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Having Passion- Being passionate is another essential trait for leaders. Passion is the fuel that gives you the motivation and confidence to deliver your mission and purpose for what you do and why you do it. It is the leading factor in becoming a successful entrepreneur. Passion keeps you going when all else seems to fell.
2. Being A Risk Taker- Successful entrepreneurs are not afraid of taking risks. We have heard the saying “The bigger the risk, the greater the reward.” This is true. Assessing risks and having the courage to take a calculated risk is part of successful leadership.
3. Having Determination- Successful entrepreneurs don’t give up easily. They are determined to build their business. Even when things aren’t going well, they will keep pushing until they have achieved their level of success. Determination is the key to success. A lot of great businesses failed simply because they gave up too soon.
4. Being Adaptable- As an entrepreneur, you need to find a way to grow your business. You must be able to adapt to changes as they may occur. Sometimes you may have to make a dollar out of 15 cents. You may have to make changes for the current need rather than the need that originally sparked your business idea. You must have an open mind and always be willing to change and grow as needed.
5. Having Knowledge — To make decisions for your business, you need to know your market well. Lack of knowledge and skills may lead you to make the wrong decisions that could affect your business. Before you start any business, I would recommend doing the research and maybe even working with a mentor. Having someone in the field who can teach you and guide you through the needs and responsibilities of the industry is incredibly important. This will help you improve your knowledge of the market that you have chosen. Knowledge will always give you a competitive advantage. The more you know the more likely you will succeed.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
I would use my success to make the world a better place by sharing my experience and knowledge with those who are struggling in business. Having free resources was something that I needed for my business but discovered it hard to find in the era where everything had a price on it. If that information helps another woman get closer to her dreams, I do not mind sharing. We are all in it together and we can all win.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I would like to see 1-week boot camps for female entrepreneurs. These boot camps would include daily activities that would focus on every aspect of your business, including how to manage taxes.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
I would love to sit down with the entire Shark Tank team. Having the opportunity to get feedback on my business and how I can take it to the next level would be priceless.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.