Your Name: Courtney Radloff
Business Name: Wick Me Away
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Family? Pets? Hobbies? Etc.
My husband and I are originally from Los Angeles and we moved to San Diego in 2012 for his job. Though it’s been nearly 6 years, I’m just now starting to feel settled here. I did make a hefty commute to Santa Monica for work until about 2016, but of course it was well worth the sacrifice. We now have a rad little girl named Adler who recently turned 8 months. Motherhood is way better than I expected. It’s the adventure of a lifetime you didn’t know you needed. We also have two Huskies. Our pups are named Kirra and Dublin.
Tell us about your business. How did you start your business and why? What do you do? Would you go back and do anything differently?
We are a candle manufacturer based in San Diego, CA. Our story really began shortly after we were married in Ireland, March 17th of 2012. I wanted to create a fragrance that was reminiscent of this trip to Ireland where we said our vows. I was also looking for a way to connect with people, and to share stories with them the way I was able to as skin therapist for Dermalogica for many years prior. I researched all I could about candle making, began taking fragrance classes, and just loved every minute of it. In 2014 I created my first candle using a scent which I personally blended. I have absolutely enjoyed the journey this company has led me on since then, all the ups and the downs. I don’t think I would go back and change anything. You have to go through each moment, both planned and unplanned, to grow and learn.
Has it been a smooth road? Have you encountered struggles that you could share?
I think in life, and business especially, you will have great triumphs and equally great failures. But I feel you should view those failures as your “Business Degree” in Entrepreneurship. These are lessons that really cannot be learned in school, they require hands on trial and error. Failure or success. Someone once told me that I will have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I can honestly say I have not mastered this, but I strive daily to do so. I’ll be honest, sometimes there are lots of tears and waking up in the middle of the night worrying. Staying focused on my goals for the company, and for myself as an entrepreneur, help me to move through these struggles.
I think I was fortunate to work for a company that molded the type of woman I have become. Dermalogica’s founder, Jane Wurwand, was and still is an inspiration to me. She spoke at length about women who own businesses. She shared that someone once recommended she think outside of the box, to which she responded “what box?”. This concept has always resonated with me. I don’t ever base my decisions on what others are doing, but rather what makes sense to me. Maybe one year we are on trend, but the next were not. I do what makes my heart happy and I think people connect with that.
Some of my biggest bonehead moments (and don’t get me wrong, I still have them quit often) occur when I get really excited about a concept and start running with it before I give myself a chance to really develop it. I’m an ideas person, execution can be a bit more of a struggle. So at times I do find myself fully vested in the launch of an idea and my husband/co-founder will have to talk me into shelving that idea until we are ready. Which in turn gives me more time to develop it. So overall a good thing.
I’m also fortunate enough now to work a group of women I call my “advisory board”. These ladies are just amazing. I value their opinions greatly and can comfortably share my ideas with them. Most importantly the board helps with the execution of my vision, which is invaluable. I would love to see myself as visionary at some point. I’m still a ways off from that title, but I do feel I’m making progress in that direction. I have a number of new avenues I have been working towards taking the business. Our company will always be passionate about our candle making, but the next step for us will be to launch into the bath and body realm. With my skin care background it seems like a natural progression.
What do enjoy the most about what you do? What do you enjoy the least?
Connecting with people is what I love most about what we do. When at an event or in our little shop I love when someone picks up a candle takes a breathe in and instantly says.. This reminds me of… and then they share a memory of a loved one or a special place they visited as a child. Those memories often start in our olfactory. Watching people make those connections make my day! I love to hear customers say that one of our candles brought them back to a special moment. That statement embodies our company goal, and it brings a smile to my face to know we are getting it right.
It’s hard to find a negative in the experience of owning your own business if you approach it with the right perspective. Even the tough days teach you something valuable, arguably more valuable!
What inspires you?
My Husband and daughter, travel, being out in nature, and of course being with other people! I sincerely love the company of my friends, family and my customers. It brightens my day to talk with strangers about their day, and to potentially gain new friends in the process.
What is your farewell piece of advice for someone interested in starting their own business?
Always follow your heart, be authentic, tell your story to anyone who will listen and be NICE.
What is your favorite Candy Bar?
What is your favorite Childhood Memory?
Well, our business is built around memories and I feel truly connected to them through our scents. One of my favorite things as a child was going on what my Dad called a ‘Bonzai Trip’. We would pack up in the Subaru, grab cinnamon rolls and head up to the mountains to ski. Whether it was Mountain High in Wrightwood, CA where my dad was on the Ski Patrol or Lake Tahoe or Mammoth, my sister and I could be found in our neon ski suits chasing each other down the mountain. Me mostly chasing her. She was way faster. We did a lot of these trips when we were girls.
You are a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be?
Emerald Green Or Deep Ocean Blue lol My Two Favorites!