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How These Best Friends Took Their Passion for Candle Making From the Dining Room Table to Sephora

After the pandemic, the two women continued to face a steep learning curve as they struggled to expand their business without any formal training.

One thing they discovered is that customers are constantly looking for new experiences. To keep them interested and engaged, Mrs. Su and Mrs. Low are always looking for customer feedback. Learning from customer feedback, for example, they launched reed diffusers for those who prefer “a more subtle but consistent background scent.”

“But product diversification should not dilute the brand’s DNA,” says Su. “We make sure that any new product we create fits our criteria of easily improving the self-care process.”

Another challenge faced by Ms. Su, who oversees sales, business development and growth, was managing the company’s accounts.

“I’m old school and not tech savvy,” he admits. His spent hours reviewing sales reports, manually entering figures into Microsoft Excel or PowerPoint.

“We spent a lot of time making sure everything fit together and was error-free. It was tedious, extremely frustrating and we were afraid to do the math at the end of the month.”

The two decided to hire an independent accountant, who recommended two cloud accounting software options. Ms. Su chose Xero for its versatility and easy-to-use interface that allow her to check her store’s inventory and revenue in real time using just a web browser. She made core business tasks, from sales management to invoicing, much faster and easier.

She says: “Xero gives an overview of our sales performance across our retailers, so I know which products I should stock up on in each store.”

For a small business, it is essential to closely monitor overhead expenses and maintain healthy cash flow. Xero dashboards provide Ms Su with a clear view of outstanding payments owed to Hush Candle.

The intuitive design of the solution also means that your staff can seamlessly take over while you’re away. “I just create a new account for them and they can navigate Xero independently.”

Anticipate the future amid uncertainties

As Xero solutions free up time by speeding up tedious accounting tasks, Ms Su and Ms Low can now channel their energies into growing their business. This includes planning the career progression of its close-knit team of five and expanding the business into Southeast Asia, starting with Malaysia in January 2024.

There is also the constant task of evolving the business in line with broader market trends, including sustainability. When more environmentally conscious customers began suggesting recycling candle jars, Hush Candle launched the “Refill and Recycle” program that allows customers to bring in candle jars of any brand for recycling.

“When we started, we didn’t have big plans or strategies. For us, making candles was just a great, spontaneous idea. Hush Candle’s growth is driven by the genuine interest of our customers,” says Ms. Su.

The duo’s personal relationship also makes running a business even more fun. Calling her friendship with Low unique, Su says they value their friendship so much that “everything else is secondary.” They have often been asked if it is difficult to run a business with a close friend. However, Ms. Su shares that they maintain their bond by holding work discussions exclusively during office hours.

In fact, the duo has introduced a “penalty” system. Ms. Su shares, “After work, any mention of the business results in a $50 fine for the offender!”

To find out more about how Xero can help your business, click here.

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