Interview conducted by Fatema Sitabkhan
Photos supplied by Lucy Pickering of Pixie & Co.
If you’re someone who LOVES the market scene in Adelaide and religiously attends all the possible markets around Adelaide and its surrounding suburbs, then you would know of the beautiful little business Pixie & Co., which makes an appearance fairly frequently. Owned by Lucy Pickering, Pixie & Co. embodies its unique designs of candles (not to mention their scented candles, which are basically relaxation station central!) and its products are the kind that won’t take too much room, will freshen up the place with its nice aroma, and may add a minimalistic, beautiful touch to the little nook in your home!
Having recently interacted with her gorgeous candles at the Gathered SA Style Challenge a couple of weeks ago, I knew that I wanted to find out more about this business that has slowly but surely gained a generous following over the last 9 months – have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Can you tell me a bit about yourself, Lucy?
Hi, I’m Lucy. I am 28 years old and work as a teacher full-time. I have grown up and lived in South Australia my whole life. I am a firm believer in buying local, especially supporting all South Australian businesses. I lived in the remote South Australian town of Roxby Downs for three years as a teaching graduate. My experience in Roxby taught me a lot about the community and the importance of small businesses in our South Australian economy…as well as the big ones like BHP 🙂
Tema: What made you decide on opening up your own business?
Lucy: I having been teaching for five years. I was looking for something to channel my own creative flair and to help me maintain a work ‘teacher’/ life balance. I have always had a love of candles and love to make my house smell like an inviting place. The [candles] offer tranquillity and a sense of calm. This is really important in my busy life. Candle making is highly methodical and soothing. I find it to be an awesome stress reliever. I had thought long and hard for about six months before opening my business (9 months ago now!). I absolutely love the market scene in Adelaide and enjoy spending my Sundays meeting new people and spreading my little pots of joy!
Tema: What is your range of products that you offer via Pixie & Co.?
Lucy: I absolutely love interior design and décor styling and could spend hours at Adelaide’s home wares stores. But, one thing that stands out for me in some of these stores is the range of candles. Some mass produced candles lack the creative or styling flair to their jar design and focus more on stocking large amounts of scents. I wanted to create the opposite. My range includes canisters, quotes, limited editions and tumblers.
My printed canisters are sourced from suppliers in Australia and New Zealand. I only ever get between 15– 20 of each design and they constantly change. My quote candles remind me of my classroom inspirational walls, that are filled with quotes of joy, hard work, and love. All of my quote candles are designed and printed by myself in my home studio in Norwood. I like playing around in Adobe Illustrator, especially when I see or read something that I think will look great on my candles. I also customize all of my quote candles – I can customize a one-off to really whatever you are thinking / wanting. I have done some weddings / bridesmaids / farewells / birthday designs.
Then there are our limited editions. These jars come and go – just like interior design and what’s ‘on trend’. Having this line lets me change it up constantly. In some designs, I may only get four to six in quantity, but they range in price and size – because who doesn’t want a candle that not only smells amazing, but also fits into the décor of your home!
Tema: Where do you get inspiration for your quotes that you put on your candles? Is it a mix of what’s already out there and what you can think of?
Lucy: If you walk into my classroom, you will probably notice the large wall of inspirational quotes above my teaching desk. I work in a middle school. These students often need motivation and inspiration to get through the tough teenage times. I am constantly on the look out for new quotes, or quotes that are relevant to my students and my own life. Building up a growth mindset and trying to have a positive psychology is beyond important for our mental health. My quote range of candles is just a little something that can cheer you up, make your day a little better when you read it again, and makes your house smell great too!
My quotes are a mix of loads of different people and places and things, some are short – ‘Choose Happy!’ and some are long – like my favourite Harry Potter quote ‘Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light’. I usually print them in small batches, maybe 4 or 5 labels at time. As I said above – I can also customize. This can be done through my Etsy store or through my website as well (under events/ custom).
Tema: Can you tell me a bit more about the limited edition candles (love the marble one, btw – how beautiful is it!)? Do you do these for special occasions or like a flash sale (when we least expect it)?
Lucy: My limited edition candles are just that – limited edition. Interior style and décor trends are constantly changing. So this range was created for just that! My limited edition candle stock numbers can be as low as 4 of each design or if I am lucky…I got my hands on 30 of the marble jars. However, after Gathered (14th and 15th April) and Gilles at the Grounds (15th of April) I don’t have any more stock available to make – so if you are wanting one of these marble jars, best pop in over the weekend! I get stock in usually when you least expect it! If I see something I like I always buy 4/5, test them, then decide if they are safe and would suit my range.
Tema: What do you think was one of the biggest challenges of setting up your business from scratch?
Lucy: The organization and the paperwork! When I started Pixie & Co., I didn’t really have a plan or a vision – just an idea. Over the last 9 months, I have spent a lot of time learning from other people – usually by talking to them at markets and following people online. One of my biggest challenges is maintaining my business alongside my full time work and career as a teacher. I want my business to remain small batch – to constantly change and to be about what I started out to achieve, which is to create stylish candles that suit the interior style of people’s homes. Another challenge would also be time management. I am getting better at this, but am still working on what works best for me.
Tema: What do you hope for your customers to experience from purchasing something from Pixie & Co.?
Lucy: A candle that is different and unique. A candle that not only smells amazing, but also looks great. I hope that the people of South Australia share the same passion as me. When people buy our quote candles are gifts, I hope that it sparks the same feeling of joy or love that it brings me when I read these quotes. If you buy them for yourself (which is totally an okay thing to do!), I hope they bring you warmth, calm, peace and a fresh smelling room!
Tema: What is it about being a South Australian / local brand that makes it all the more special?
Lucy: South Australia is a great place to grow an idea and a passion like this. I truly believe that I would not have been as successful in places like Melbourne & Sydney. In South Australia, we pride ourselves on our state and I absolutely love that people choose to buy handmade and local. I really enjoy the market vibes in all corners of Adelaide and love spending my Sundays meeting new people and being present with other local designers and makers. It’s hard to really put my finger on what makes it more special – but it mostly comes from community support and the initiative behind South Australians to support our local economy and build up small businesses.
Tema: What are you hoping for 2018 to have in-store for you and your brand?
Lucy: While I still can’t believe that it’s already April (!!!), I am overwhelmed and excited at how my business has grown and how much support I have had in the last 9 months. For the rest of 2018, I am hoping to have a re-launch of some of our packaging and tumbler range in the second half of the year. I am also traveling overseas before Christmas and am hoping to gather some insight and reconnect with myself about my purpose and plan for my business. I am also simply enjoying the ride and have a genuine love for what I do.
Tema: Is there anything else that you’d like your customers to know about Pixie & Co.?
Lucy: Pixie & Co. was a dream and an idea I had during the school holidays. Without the support of the South Australian market organizers and customers, I am not sure where Pixie & Co would be. From my brief experience in running Pixie & Co., I have learnt that there are a large number of amazing men and women who have built incredible businesses, most of which mainly operate out of the market scene in Adelaide. Many of them have children, work full time and have wives and husbands. They are doing amazing things and all South Australians should be proud that we support all of our makers and small business operators by choosing SA.