A passion Mel Barnes shared with her Grandma as a child first sparked the creation of her candle business.
Originally launched as Happy Little Nomad in 2014, the company rebranded to become Nomad Candle Co, selling a wide range of beautiful plant based candles, diffusers and more.
A teacher by day, Mel shares her childhood memories, the highs and lows of small business life, and why she’s proud to be an SA Woman.
Lauren Zwaans had a chat with Mel to find out more…
When and how did Nomad Candle Co come about?
I recall vivid memories of being creative with my Grandma when I was young. We were always making something – sewing, planting in the garden, cooking and painting. I remember making candles with her and I was fascinated by the process and the end result. As I grew up I dabbled in other outlets, but in 2014 an old memory of younger days got me excited about igniting an old hobby I shared with Gran. At first I made them for myself, family and close friends. Back then the early stages of this business was Happy Little Nomad, named after my gypsy life having moved 15 times in 15 years. Back then I sold small batch, one off products. As I perfected my skills I noticed how passionate I had become about it and soon formed Nomad Candle Co. A few years down the track and here we are today. Three weeks ago I relaunched my website (nomadcandleco.com.au) while celebrating a bohemian inspired launch party and my heart couldn’t be more full. I now have 11 permanent product lines and offer bespoke event services.
What products do you sell?
You’ll find something for every occasion or style – from the eye catching luxe range, to tropical vibes with our coconut candles and botanical tins, to amber apothecary jars, diffuser gift packs, crystal wellness candles and oil burners and melts. Nomad Candle Co. has you covered.
What do your candles contain?
Each candle is made from 100% natural, plant based products. The secret ingredient is hydrated soya oil (with a dash of coconut wax).
Where does your product inspiration come from?
Good question. As a teacher in my day job, my brain never stops ticking over. I can go for a walk, be inspired by nature and get home to a thousand new ideas to sift through. I also do a lot of research in attempts to remain unique with my own particular style.
You seem to have a style of candle to suit every décor! Is this intentional or does it reflect your style? Before my website relaunch I only had a few product lines and it never sat well with me. As the business grew I was able to plan for a larger range to suit a variety of target audiences. Minimalist aesthetics are what I prefer to work with as they can adapt to any space.
I can go for a walk, be inspired by nature and get home to a thousand new ideas to sift through.
What do you love most about having your own business? And what do you find most challenging?
The freedom! I can take it wherever I choose. I’m always experimenting with new ideas, so each day is always different. Time management is my biggest downfall. Teaching is super rewarding, I love it don’t get me wrong, but it is exhausting. Staying on top of all things Nomad Candle Co. throughout the week means long days, but at the same time I love coming home to this brand that I’ve created.
Tell us about your bespoke event candles! What types of events have you created these for?
I love working with people to help them create magic. I’ve enjoyed making candles for weddings, bridesmaid gifts, baby showers, corporate gifts and for memoriam events.
Why do you love being a part of the SA Woman community?
Exactly that – the community. I’ve been itching to get involved with connector events after forming lasting friendships with fellow women in business in Inner Circle workshops with Carly from She Nurtures. It’s all support, nourishment and encouragement with no competitive vibes. There’s always something happening – it’s exciting and invigorating.
If you weren’t running your business, what would you be doing?
Probably living the van life around Australia (I can still see myself packing everything up to do that).
Where are you currently wander lusting?
My backyard. There’s nothing better than a few mindful moments in the garden. I’m always on the road. The school I work at is an hour and a half away on the Adelaide Plains, so I get to experience country life on the daily. On weekends, you will find me at the Southern beaches (all year round) and exploring the Adelaide Hills. #iChooseSA!
Get in touch with Mel…