Two Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers had the idea last semester to combine two of a college student’s favorite things: coffee and candles. Now, Coffee Candles Co. has poured and sold over 600 of their signature candle/ mug hybrids.
Little Rock, Ark., junior William Goodrich and Moraga, Calif., junior Tyler Bartis developed the concept on the car ride home from Thanksgiving break. Both finance and entrepreneurship majors, they had a conversation about how they wished they could put into practice the skills they learned in class.
“The entrepreneurship program really does a lot to push you to start your own business,” Goodrich said. “You have to create an imaginary one just to do a lot of the projects.”
Goodrich and Bartis realized they put so much effort into making up fake businesses for their classes that they might as well create a real one.
Once the idea to sell candles in coffee mugs solidified, the two rushed to a craft store to buy materials to test the product.
“We made one on our stove, and it was absolutely horrible,” Goodrich said. “But after doing that a couple of times, we kind of learned our technique.”
Coffee Candle Co. produced its first official batch in mid-December and sold the 144 candles to Roots Boutique. The company sells a majority of their products through Roots, but they also recently launched a website that allows for online purchases.
“Oakmoss + Amber” and “Sweet Annie,” the two scents currently on the market, both sell for $22 each.
Bartis said Goodrich handles the behind-the-scenes aspects of the business, like social media and finances, while Bartis deals more often with face-to-face sales.
Bartis said that having a real business to base his entrepreneurship projects on has made school more enjoyable. He’s also learned much more about the importance of networking when growing a business.
“A big thing that we’ve taken away is being able to make connections,” Bartis said. “We’re at Roots Boutique right now, and we would never have even gotten our foot in the door if we didn’t have friends there.”
Lubbock senior Jacq Kasemsri worked at Roots Boutique last semester when she overheard Goodrich talking about Coffee Candles Co. After talking with him, she texted the owner of the store to recommend they try the candles.
“I just thought it was a really great idea,” Kasemsri said, “and they were much cheaper than a lot of the other candles that Roots sells.”
Kamsemsri said she considers herself Coffee Candle Co.’s best customer. She said she bought her first candle to support her friend’s business, then she bought about five more because she loved the scent and the mug she got to keep once the wax in the candle ran out.