Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Jo Macfarlane: The Fife candle maker inspiring hundreds of women around the world to start in business

Jo Macfarlane started her business at her kitchen table, and now she is reaching women across the world.
Jo Macfarlane started her business at her kitchen table, and now she is reaching women across the world.

Jo Macfarlane started her business by pouring candles at her kitchen table.

Now the Anstruther entrepreneur is helping women across the world do the same thing.

Jo started her candle business in 2009, which came from a desire to be sustainable.

Instead of throwing out old candle vessels, she figured she could just reuse them.

She says: “I bought some ingredients, but not really knowing a lot about them.  I did some research when I came home and realised that they weren’t very eco-friendly.

“I couldn’t contemplate using these ingredients, so I did more research online and found sustainable soy wax, rather than paraffin wax, and wicks that don’t contain metal.”

As well as selling candles under her own brand, she started doing corporate gifts for a hotel in St Andrews. The tiny jug that poured the few hundred first candles still sits in Jo’s studio.

From the kitchen to the internet

Requests from friends grew Jo’s business further. They wanted to learn how to make their own candles, and Jo set up a workshop around her kitchen table.

The first year she held 10 workshops, which grew to 72 workshops in 2016.

During lockdown, Jo had to pivot her business and put her workshops online. Her three courses – candle making made easy, advanced candle making and ignite your creativity – are spreading across the world.

Jo has started running online candle making workshops over lockdown.

Jo says: “At the moment, people are taking the workshop in India, Mexico, South America and France.

“If I can encourage women to start a business from their kitchen table, then that’s really what makes me happy. That’s what makes me tick.”

Through her ignite your creativity course she teaches women how to start their own candle business.

At candle making workshops, she noticed people were interested in knowing how to set up their own business, but were too embarrassed to ask. That led to Jo spending 9 months creating the course and putting it online.

Jo Macfarlane focus on sustainability

Jo describes being able to help other women create their own business as a privilege.

Rather than keeping her secrets to herself, she believes “everything doubles” by sharing.

She says: “For me, to see other women start a business from their kitchen tables, see them grow, thrive and leave the jobs they don’t want is amazing.”

Her goal for this year is to serve 1,000 attendees from 50 countries.

While maintaining her online workshops, she is also taking steps to make her business more sustainable.

Jo is looking to make all her candles organic.

She already offers a “Fill it up Friday” where people can take their empty candle vessels to her studio and have them filled up.

Now, she will start sending out eucalyptus tree seeds with all her orders.

Jo says: “I’m sending them out with every other to encourage people to use their candle vessel as a little plant pot.”

Constantly looking for ways to make her business sustainable, she hopes her efforts will rub off on her customers across the world as well.

She says: “The business has always been customer driven, the workshops happened because people were asking for them.

“When I started making candles, I thought I would just have my own brand, but the business has been pulled in directions I would have never anticipated.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]