The Luxury Sparkle World
Lh Exclusive Interview with Kirri Preo, Founder of Luxury Sparkle
Love Happens: What first sparked your idea to partner with champagne houses & wineries to produce luxury candles?
Kirri Preo: There are a few reasons! The first reason being that I moved to Switzerland, from Australia, two years ago and the job search was really challenging which actually had me thinking that I have to change this situation, and starting something of my own seemed to be the best idea.
The second reason is that I love beautiful wine and candles and so I decided to combine the two. I have always thought that some bottles and labels are so beautiful and some of the labels are so exquisite that they should be used for something that lasts longer than when it’s consumed! It sounds so simple but the process behind the creation involves a lot of logistics and we wanted to produce something luxurious and finding the right partners for this was really important for us, of course, all of this takes time. The world views French wine as epicurean and it only seemed right that the quality of our candles matched this.
Lh: How did you decide on the name “Luxury Sparkle”?
Kirri: Great question! Now you ask me I don’t even know if I can remember! My business partner wanted the world to know that what we are producing is luxurious and that’s where the word luxury came into play. I had a moment and thought that sparkle represents sparkling wine and when candles are lit they are sparkling, so together, Luxury Sparkle.
Lh: Has the pandemic affected your business? How so?
Kirri: Yes it has, more specifically our distribution strategy. Candles are a product that people like to touch and smell and assess the quality, particularly for the first purchase. It can be a risk to purchase a home fragrance product online in case you are not fond of the scent. We had big plans to get into some beautiful department and homeware stores but with a lot of these being closed, we have pivoted to focus more online and to also diversify our income streams into other types of candle production. I think right now that collaborations are also really important because we are all in this together and this is a good way that we can support each other and help each other to get a wider reach.
Lh: We love your Instagram videos (@luxurysparkleco)! Can we expect to see more of those in the future? If so, what kind of content do you think you will be focusing on?
Kirri: Yes you sure can! I think it’s really important to educate our audience about our candles and our background. I will continue with Candle Tip Tuesday for a little while longer as the feedback has been really good and we want people to enjoy burning their candles and to understand that there are things you can do to ensure a longer and clean candle burn. We would also love to feature the Champagne Houses and Wineries more because without them we would not be here! We will also give a little bit away on our production process and more about the scent and how complex scents are. It is amazing that there are many aspects to our candle production so we can feature all of these which is really fun.
Lh: As a first-time business owner, how do you handle the stress of the unknown?
Kirri: I don’t know if I do handle it, to be honest, but I try my best! You are right in saying the stress of the unknown, it really is that. At times I think we have things under control and then something completely surprises you and finding a solution can sometimes be really difficult! It is really important for me to start my day exercising. It clears my mind and gives me energy for the day ahead. I love running and being active so this is something I love to do!
I think it is also good to try not to respond to a situation immediately. Think about it, step away and come back again. Sometimes stepping away and coming back can give you a completely different perspective. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either, this helped me a lot at the start and even if you feel stupid, just keep asking. I always remind myself that it is better to keep asking to find the right answer than to not ask and continue to be in doubt.
Lh: Describe a typical day for yourself.
Kirri: I love the morning and I am all about the sunrise. My day starts with exercise, usually something of high intensity. I have loads of energy and if I don’t exercise in the morning then often the day gets in the way and it’s 7 pm. Breakfast is also my favourite meal of the day and I like to enjoy it mindfully. I usually work in chunks of time with a good to-do list! I love to break my days down into must-be-done tasks and then strategy-related work. The must-be-done tasks are usually done in the morning. Then I enjoy the marketing and strategic tasks in the afternoon.
I think it’s really important to be structured when you are self-employed. It is easy to try and do a little bit of everything and then you find you don’t do anything properly! I love to finish the day with a session of yoga and a lovely candle burning and I also don’t mind a beautiful glass of wine on Friday evenings!
Lh: How did you choose the signature notes in your candles?
Kirri: This was actually a really fun process. We work with a candle producer in Grasse, France, which is the parfum capital of the world. They only produce original fragrance, nothing is ever the same. We were asked what our favourite notes are and I provided perhaps four or five different ones and they have been beautifully blended into our current candle scent.
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Lh: What advice would you give others (in particular women!) who want to start their own small business?
Kirri: If you love something, give it a go! I always try to think about the worst-case scenario, and if that is that something doesn’t work out then I have learned loads and life goes on! It is not always easy and you have to be prepared for the highs and lows of a start-up which are very real. Some days feel really hard and others are amazing and then of course there are days in between. Be okay with all of this.
I think it’s also important to know that what you take to market won’t be perfect on the first go. Launch and then refine it as time goes by. Customer feedback is your friend and it’s a great way to make things better. It is also a great story to share with your customers, who matter so much.
I think as women we can also doubt ourselves and lose confidence easily sometimes. Don’t doubt yourself because you haven’t done something before, embrace this and create the space to do something amazing. Whatever you have created, you have done that and that is so fabulous! No one knows the details of what you have created more than you. Be prepared to take risks and be faced with surprises. Enjoy learning something new every day. And when something doesn’t quite go to plan don’t focus on that as a negative, view it as something that can help to improve what you are doing.
Lh: Which candle is your favorite?
Kirri: It depends on my mood! I love all of them and I love how each bottle is different and sometimes there are slight imperfections which add to the uniqueness of our candles. I also love how some of the labels have transparent or lighter elements which create an amazing light through the glass form. During winter and the colder months, the dark green candles add a really nice warming touch. And in the warmer months, the clear glass is fresh and lighter!
Lh: Describe the perfect evening involving your candles…
Kirri: I love candlelight! I love all of the lights off and only the candles burning. A beautiful glass of wine in the bath or while sitting on the couch reading a fabulous magazine with the candles burning. These are the perfect candle moments for me!
By Anna Beck Bimba
All Photos Courtesy Luxury Sparkle
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