SPREAD PEACE, LOVE + LIGHT THROUGH CANDLES!
MILKA METHOD was founded by Kimberly Mocks based on the principles of faith. "Milka" means "queen or ruler" in Hebrew. She believes that being a "ruler" is a method we should apply to life, that “we should rule life, not the other way around.” Referencing the name from Genesis 24:15, she believes that her faith is an intricate and imperative detail that she must share with her audience.
Before joining the candle making community, Kimberly was a full-time licensed cosmetologist. She was in the beauty industry for eleven (11) years. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced her to end this career. To channel her creativity, she embarked on a career as a candle maker and a florist.
COMMUNITY OVER COMPETITION
Kimberly did not have any mentors when she started. But her connections with fellow candle makers made a huge difference! She was able to wing into her journey through support and guidance from her network of makers across cities and states. To her, these are the makers who are willing to share information and have a “community-over-competition” mindset. The support comes from building a community that reflects her principles and what she currently offers in her brand.
Besides having a community, she advises seeking a mentor, especially if you have extensive roles like being a mom or a wife.
As with many small businesses, she started by making candles at home and selling them online. To meet the demands for curbside order pickups and a bigger space for increasing orders, she leased a space in downtown Columbia. She was solely relying on online sales and was understandably nervous during these uncertain times.
She was fortunate to be invited by The Collective, a boutique store located in Columbia. It showcases 18 women-owned small businesses. These extraordinary women entrepreneurs are also full-time mothers, realtors, and school teachers.
The Collective not only inspired and motivated her but also helped her business significantly. She was able to increase her revenue and maximize her income by actually getting her products into a physical space. Customers have better buying decisions as they are able to have on-hand experience with candles through sight and smell.
SUSTAINABILITY AND RELATABILITY
At The Collective, Kimberly shared that they all chip in on sustainable packaging materials. They are also required to leave product informational sheets in their area. She's gotten messages from her customers saying, “Hey, I just went to The Collective. I didn't see you, but I love how you're telling me what's in my product.”
Aside from promoting sustainability, she would like to build relatability with her customers as well. She would go the extra mile to make them feel special. No matter how many orders she processes, she ensures that each one gets a handwritten thank you card. She writes their first name as if she knows them personally and invites them to subscribe to emails when something drops.
Eventually, she would love to offer an in-store and online VIP membership with perks and first dibs on new collections to extend gratitude to her loyal customers.
GETTING OUT THERE
Getting your products out there and being recognized is no easy feat.
Kimberly does all product photography by herself. Since she maintains a minimalistic visual style, most of her content features white or marble backgrounds. Her advice is to shoot in natural light so people can see your product without relying on filters. It’s all about angles and lighting. Try not to add too many props or filters as this will only distract customers from seeing your products' true beauty. Keep everything to bare minimum. Keep it clean, keep it simple. You will naturally draw the customers in if you maintain the focus on the product.
To get brand recognition, Kimberly initially offered free shipping. However, as her business grew, she was unable to sustain the free shipping charges. To resolve this, she did research on which platform would best suit her business. She transitioned from Etsy to Shopify, as the latter offers a shipping discount based on weight and package size.
Her advice is to learn about Shopify and other platforms that would help reduce shipping stressors. Take the time to do your research and figure out what platform works for you. Get business accounts or UPS. Talk to a customer care associate, and they will help you look into what is being offered to small businesses during this time.
She candidly opened up her current struggles with marketing on social media platforms – algorithms and the science of it all. Outside of Instagram and The Collective, she does not advertise. She explained, “I believe that I am supposed to enjoy this journey… There is nothing wrong with relying on a platform to do the work for you. However, trying to figure it all out will burn you out. You get overwhelmed or disappointed when your expectations are not met and that is where dreams stop.”
Kimberly also mentioned that organizing market events would also help grow your network and get brand recognition.
But when things get overwhelming whether online or offline, she advises to:
“Take some time to just be still, and just analyze and assess what we're doing and how we're doing it. It'll lead us to go to the places that we're supposed to be. And it'll tell us what we need to do at the right time.”
AS A ONE-WOMAN BUSINESS
Kimberly does everything herself. She is the business manager, marketer, social media manager, website designer, photographer, and customer service representative of her brand. She just takes it one day at a time.
Seeing how the amazing women entrepreneurs at The Collective are effortlessly juggling multiple roles, Kimberly noticed that she was not prioritizing her time efficiently. She realized that planning is key. So she sat down and mapped out each collection for all of 2022. This entire year has been planned out for MILKA METHOD.
When planning, she suggests checking nationalcalendar.com for the focus of each month and building a themed collection around it. By doing this, she can timely order her labels and supplies based on her upcoming product offers. She strongly advises against stressing out at the last minute.
ON DREAM VESSELS
Kimberly discovered DREAM VESSELS while searching for a quality and eye-catching vessel to house her premium candles. Since then, Dream Vessels had made a significant impact on her business. The luxurious and elegant appearance of the vessels exemplifies what she is trying to achieve with her brand, being the Infinia Gloss Black as her go-to vessel.
For Kimberly, Dream Vessels are TIMELESS.
WORDS OF WISDOM FROM ONE MAKER TO ANOTHER
Kimberly's additional advice for fellow makers:
- Protect yourself legally and from any unforeseen situations by getting a business license and insurance.
- Incorporate more diversity in your products.
- Give you and your business grace. Nothing is overnight.
- Pour back into the community.
- Be authentic. Build genuine connections with people.
“Keep going. You never know what tomorrow holds.
If not, you're going to always deal with the spirit of regret and wonder what would have happened. So I encourage you to keep going and really find out who you are. If there are any character attributes that you're lacking in business, well, expose them. If you're overly sensitive, you tend to respond from fear and emotion, then you do. It'll just keep going and continuing to travel your journey, your way, your pace, and give yourself grace, you know, nobody's perfect.
There are going to be hard days.
There are going to be good days, but the bottom line is just
LIVE YOUR DAYS TO THE FULLEST.”
- Kimberly Mocks, MILKA METHOD
Instagram : @MILKA METHOD
Website : www.milkamethodco.com
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Physical Location :
3128 Carlisle Street
Columbia, SC 29205
Gain more insights and learnings on Kimberly's candle making journey by watching the
March 2022 Maker of the Month series HERE.
Be one with fellow makers who inspire and empower each other
by joining the community at Dream Vessels Facebook Group.