Lockdown hobby turns to business for student

Tue, 15 Dec 2020 16:19:00 GMT
Ese is gaining support from GCU's UHatch service to help his business develop further
Ese is gaining support from GCU's UHatch service to help his business develop further

A GCU student has taken inspiration from his childhood and creative spark to help form his very own candle and wax melt making business.

MSc Public Health student Ese Johnson started his Etsy shop named “Candles by Yoma” at the start of this month after making candles for friends and flatmates during lockdown.

He explained more about his journey and ultimately what turned a hobby into a business.

Ese said: “During lockdown there was almost nothing to do - I didn’t have to go into University every day and I couldn’t work. I was looking for things to pass the time and I actually started baking but I thought candles would be more popular!

I’ve always loved the amazing scents you get off them, so I started making them for people in September and then decided to start the Etsy shop.”

He added: “Initially, I remember thinking: ‘why do people sell candles? All you need to do is pour wax, put in a wick and then burn’, then I made my first candle and realised it’s not that easy! There are actually a lot of calculations and testing you need to do, so it really was an eye opening experience.”

Originally from Nigeria, Ese also spoke about the impact of his family on his latest venture – which even shone through in the name of the business.

He explained: “Yoma is my pet name given to me by my family. When I was very small, I had Aunts and Uncles living with me – it was a big family and we were very close.

Eventually I stopped being called Yoma by them but it was important for me to remember that point in my life as it was a time where I was free and happy as a child. It makes me think about exploring the world the way a child does and that freedom of being able to express myself.”

Ese added: “My brother is an architect and a very good artist. My dad is very creative and my mum taught me how to draw - she’s really talented. Creative people don’t really think they’re being creative – they just do it and then think it’s a normal thing. I would say I am creative and that’s definitely played a part in me taking this on.”

Despite the business only recently being established, Ese already has big plans for the future.

He said: “I’m focusing on candles and wax melts just now but I hope to open it up to making hand wash, bath bombs and shower gel over time.

I’m really looking to develop the business. I had a call with UHatch to learn about the beauty industry and the UK economy and ultimately to see what opportunities are out there for me. I’m really interested in growing it into as big a business as possible.”

Find out more by visiting Ese’s “Candles by Yoma” Facebook page

By Ross Clark
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