We had the good fortune of connecting with Kay Luttrell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kay, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Being in the military for seven years, it really started to take a toll on my mental health. After finally getting the courage to seek therapy, I discovered that my anxiety was triggered by my inability to just simply RELAX. I then started making candles as a hobby and incorporating them into my self care routines to unwind after my stressful days and keep the anxiety under control. My thought process behind creating my business came in when I realized that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness amongst us. Something so simple as relaxing that I did not know about, I knew other people may be going through the same things. At that moment, UNLAX Candles was born. It became my purpose and mission to tell my story for others to know that they are not alone.
What should our readers know about your business?
What sets our business apart is that we use a blend of 100% natural soy wax, essential oils, phthalate-free fragrance oils, and zinc and lead-free eco wicks. But our business is deeper than the products. We strive for collective self care of the community through our story and initiatives while also giving back to Mother Earth by planting one tree with every purchase.
What I am most proud of is just my journey of where I started to where I am now. I am excited to reach more people in my community locally by opening up our new store pod this summer that will allow our customers to have an in person self-care experience. How I got here today is through consistency and trusting in my vision. It definitely has not been easy but to overcome my challenges I’ve learned to adapt in difficult situations and take everything as a learning experience.
Some lessons I’ve learned along the way is that it’s okay to ask for help. As a small business owner we wear many hats and we can’t do it all. To scale your business and prevent burnout it’s important to build a team when the time is right. Also what I’ve learned is to not compare your business to others out there. In the social media world, we can easily get lost in looking at what others are doing that we lose sight of our path. Comparison is the thief of joy!
As a minority and service member, mental health is not talked about or supported as much as it should in both communities so it’s our goal to normalize the conversation around it through our natural aromas.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One of my favorite things to do is hiking! I would definitely take my best friend to Paradise Falls in Thousand Oaks. They have beautiful views and waterfalls. I have only lived around the area for 5 months so maybe we can just explore new places together. I’m always down for an adventure!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to Erica Parham, my business mentor & owner of Sugar & Grace Candle Co. With her knowledge and willingness to make herself available she has helped me to scale and grow my business and reach unimaginable goals.
I would also like to dedicate my shoutout to my UNLAX community because they remind me of my ‘why’ everyday and as much as I am there to encourage them through their mental health journey they do the same for me.