Interview with Tarraza Millard: Candles by Tarraza

This entrepreneur turned a small craft project into a full-fledged business. Learn how she utilizes low-cost marketing tactics to build her brand.

A few years ago, Tarraza Millard grew tired of constantly burning through expensive candles and decided to try her hand at making her own. After loads of research and multiple test runs in her home kitchen, she perfected her formula: a soy base, all-natural fragrances and plant-based colors. After, she started giving the candles to friends and family as gifts. And the response prompted her to start Candles by Tarraza. “They were so well received that people implored me to sell them,” she explains.

So, that’s exactly what she did.

Tarraza’s attention to detail, focus on quality ingredients and ability to customize her product define her brand. “I can customize any candle by offering the customer the choice of their favorite scent and color combo in the various containers I have available: I like finding unique containers to fill,” she says. But unlike other similar-quality candle brands, Tarraza doesn’t charge customers an arm and a leg: “My 100% soy candles are well below market value because my philosophy is: I cannot charge more than I would pay myself.”

Because of this outlook, Tarraza absolutely has to stick to low-cost marketing tactics to keep her brand growing. But she’s found various strategies and tools that help her stick to a small budget. She explains, “I have utilized free or low-cost services, such as Wix for my website, Site Booster for website traffic, Biz.me and a Facebook business page. I also registered with Yelp, Google and Bing.”

In addition to online marketing tactics, Tarraza also leverages old-school strategies, including working her local area and tapping into her network. “I have been doing various craft shows and festivals to increase patronage. I was also featured in my local bank for a month—for free—just for opening a business account. I hang my business cards on the bulletin boards I see in grocery stores, banks and laundromats. I have friends hand out my cards and promote my candles,” she says.

While marketing on a budget isn’t easy—“it is hard work, especially in the beginning”—Tarraza works constantly to perfect her methods, just as she did when creating her candle formula. For other entrepreneurs out there, she advises focusing on free methods first: “Tell your friends and family to help promote you in any way: on Facebook, handing out cards, trying your product and leaving online reviews. Go to your local banks and chambers to help promote you.”

Interested in checking out what Tarraza has to offer? Check out her website at www.candlesbytarraza.com and follow her on Facebook.

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