March is Women’s History Month and we’re celebrating with Oh Joy! Academy students who are making great strides in their businesses. For our last installment of the series, we have two women who left their corporate jobs to start their own brands and companies…meet Jen of Wax Cabin Candle and Maja of Amblem Agency.
Wax Cabin Candle Co. was started by Jen Gunn. Each soy candle is now hand-poured in New Jersey, but was originally based out of a log cabin in Mendham! Jen is a graphic designer by trade and worked corporate jobs before starting Wax Cabin Candle Co. in 2016. Her line includes lots of fun scents, but originated with cocktail and happy hour candles.
Says Jen: “The business started out of misery. I was miserable at a cubicle job. I was a new mom, and my life had become…wake up early, sweat while running around to get the baby ready, kiss my husband goodbye, daycare drop off, and then arrive at a cold office with pencil skirts and bored faces. I needed a change! I am a graphic designer and love product design. I made a list of what I love to use as product, and the answers were…candles and wine! Then one morning, I had an opportunity [to be] a random guest on a morning radio show talking about making candles and my line. Anthropologie heard me and boom – a PO was set up for 7,000 units! My line grew, developed and then I needed help again! I needed mentors. I needed someone else that I trust with, “that eye” to enhance and inspire. I had a 1 of 1 meeting with Joy to help my brand expand. The candles were selling, but I wanted more. Joy looked at it all and gave me her opinions and suggestions. Today, my line is partly made with the help of a manufacturer and partly in-house with fun collaborations. The line is growing faster and faster, and it’s wild how a focus to find joy has brought me happiness.”
Jen had a business consulting session with Joy in 2019. Her business is flourishing, has had many licensing partnerships (even one with a fellow Oh Joy! Academy student!), and her business has grown so much that one contract requires 10,000 units a month! Congrats on all your success, Jen!
Maja Matas is the founder and creator of Amblem Agency. After leaving her corporate job (or what she calls “the corporate jaws), she took the leap in the middle of a pandemic and started her design agency earlier this year! She is a designer by trade located in Zagreb, Croatia, and started Amblem which is an independent creative agency specializing in building products and services with a focus on branding and design.
Says Maja: “I’ve been in the ‘Corporate Jaws’ for a couple of years. After this crazy 2020, I decided to take a big leap and start my own business in January 2021. A lot of people were asking my ‘why now?!’, in these uncertain times, but I think that now is as good as any time to just start to build something for yourself. Over the years I’ve been developing brands and private labels and am now started to build my creative agency for branding but also learning how to license my design because it’s not a common practice in my part of the world. The first time I understood what licensing was is when I came across Oh Joy! on Instagram. I was mesmerized by the colorful world of Joy and her team and enjoyed every product launch which was presented with such love for details. I’m sure this year will be full of new beginnings for a lot of people wherever they are in the world. I hope to be a part of helping other businesses thrive, and I wish for all of us to believe in ourselves more, learn something new whenever we have the chance, and to connect more to share our experiences.”
Maja took the “How to License Your Art and Design” class and downloaded the “What kind of business should I start” workbook. She credits these with helping to organize her business plan and also giving her a push. Amblem is up and running and we wish Maja every success in this exciting new venture!
Follow Jen and Maja on Instagram too!
This was such a great series – I loved, loved, loved, reading all the stories and getting to know these women. Thank you.
Thanks so much Veronika!