Voss Boss Entrepreneur Spotlight Series — Montana Hartle, Owner of West Coast Candle Co.

Mandi Relyea-Voss
Sep 28 · 6 min read

For many entrepreneurs and small businesses, social media can be an absolute game-changer! All it takes is one viral post and a business can suddenly take off.

At Like A Voss Social Inc., we’re highlighting local businesses and entrepreneurs who are killing the online game. This week’s spotlight is on Montana Hartle, Owner of West Coast Candle Co.!

West Coast Candle Co. is a natural product based business for both your home and lifestyle that is inspired by the West Coast. We are a mother-daughter run business based in Campbell River on beautiful Vancouver Island. We specialize in soy wax candles, bath, beauty, and wellness products that are handmade for the soul and with love.

Our CEO Mandi interviewed Montana about her secret to success in business and in life. We also got some awesome insights into what they think makes social media such an effective tool in business.

A Little Bit About Being a Female Entrepreneur

1: How long have you been in business?

We have only been in business for a short time! We launched October 27th, 2020!

2: What made you decide to start West Coast Candle Co.?

I actually have two reasons WHY I started this business. I started making homemade beauty products with my cousin Courtney (we called each other sisters since we were both only children) when we were just 19 and 20 years old. We sold the products in my Aunt’s Hair Salon and did a few fairs and markets. It was a little side hustle and hobby that we both loved, and it also did quite well!

I then decided to go away to college, and we both said that when I came back, we would start the business up again and make it LEGIT this time. Sadly when I was in college, I fell very ill. I was in so much pain that I could barely walk, and every day felt like I had the worst flu imaginable. I still somehow managed to graduate from my degree, but once I came home, I completely fell apart.

I was seeing specialist after specialist when finally, one doctor believed me and diagnosed me with Late Stage Lyme Disease. I then started treatment, and Courtney was there for me every step of the way. Even though we hit this speed bump, we still had a dream to start the business once I was in remission.

In September of 2018 while I was going through treatment, Courtney unexpectedly passed away. My best friend, sister and soulmate was all of a sudden ripped away from me. All of our plans ruined. I was absolutely devastated and heartbroken, and felt like my life was truly over.

After two years of grieving and healing, my mom stepped up and said that she would start the business with me. And I guess the rest is history! This business isn’t just a business for us. It’s also a way to honour our beloved girl Courtney.

My second reason as to why I started this business has to do with my Chronic Lyme Disease. Before I started treatment, my doctor told me that I had to get rid of every single toxic/chemical filled product from my life. That meant any makeup, skin care, hair care, and cleaning product that wasn’t all natural had to go! Thankfully nowadays, all natural products are more readily available, and their quality has gone up tremendously in the last 10 years. BUT holy crap are they EXPENSIVE. While I was doing my research and with my background in making homemade products, I knew I could start my own company and create products that were both AFFORDABLE and still contained HIGH QUALITY and EFFECTIVE ingredients.

3: What do you love most about being a female entrepreneur?

I love being able to encourage and inspire other strong and talented women that they too can follow their dreams. I also love the girl gang that comes with it. I’m all about supporting one another rather than competing. Even though I have an abundance of candles and bath bombs at home, I still buy from other local female candle and bath bomb makers just to show my support!

4: What is the hardest thing you have had to overcome as a female entrepreneur?

Honestly…coming up with the money to start the business in the first place!! LOL — I didn’t have a man helping me out with a loan or anything, we did all of that by ourselves!

5: What is one thing about working in the maker industry that people would be surprised to learn?

HOW MUCH WORK IT IS!! Since we can’t order our products already made from a supplier, it’s up to us to stock the shelves! We usually work between 12–18 hours per day.

And Now Onto The Social Media Questions!

6: Do you have a favorite social media platform? Why?

Definitely Instagram. The layout and platform was literally designed for business owners. We are still waiting to hear back from the name registry before we launch our website, so our only way of advertising and selling has been on Instagram. In only two and a half months time, we have generated more than 700 orders by just using Instagram. Yes a few of those orders came from Facebook and word of mouth, but most came from Instagram.

7: What made you decide to start using social media as a way to promote your company?

BECAUSE IT’S FREE!! And also the easiest way to engage with your audience since they are scrolling through the app all day anyways. I don’t even read the newspaper anymore, I just follow them on social media. That’s how I find most people stay up to date on global information nowadays.

8: How has social media impacted your business? Would you say that it’s an effective marketing tool?

Other than word of mouth, it’s been the MAIN success of our business. Without it, instead of 700 orders in 2 months, we probably would have only had about 50.

In our opinion, it’s the BEST marketing tool out there! If you are a business owner and do not have social media, you are doing something wrong!

9: What advice would you give to other businesses and entrepreneurs who want to use social media as a way to connect with customers?

I would tell them to stop hesitating and just do it!! Like I said before, if you are a business without a social media page, you are TRULY missing out on your true potential. I for one am so thankful to social media in helping with the success of my business. I have always said — “You can have an amazing product and business idea, but without advertising, you have nothing.”

A Little More About Montana

I think I covered some of that in my WHY, but something that people might find interesting about me is that I am also a horse trainer! My degree is in Equine Science majoring in horse training and minoring in breeding. My dream is to one day have my own training and breeding facility, but we all know how much money that costs!!

I started this business to hopefully get me to a place where I can make that dream a reality. Do not worry though, West Coast Candle Co. isn’t stopping anytime soon. If I ever do make it to my goal, I will hire someone to run the day to day operations of the business, so we are here to stay for the long haul! :)

Connect with Montana

Instagram
Facebook
Website — Still in progress. Will be launching soon!

Know Any Voss Bosses?

Do you know a female entrepreneur who loves social media as much as we do? Contact us today — we’d love to tell her story!

Voss Boss Entrepreneur Spotlight Series

Highlighting women who are hustling hard, and building amazing businesses (big + small).

Voss Boss Entrepreneur Spotlight Series

The Voss Boss Entrepreneur Spotlight Series is about women lifting up women. As a female-owned business in the social industry, we understand the importance of empowering other female entrepreneurs + sharing their stories. Each week we will release an interview done by our CEO.

Mandi Relyea-Voss

Written by

Owner / CEO — Like A Voss Inc.

Voss Boss Entrepreneur Spotlight Series

The Voss Boss Entrepreneur Spotlight Series is about women lifting up women. As a female-owned business in the social industry, we understand the importance of empowering other female entrepreneurs + sharing their stories. Each week we will release an interview done by our CEO.