Igniting Imagination was founded in August 2019 by me, Sharon. It started out as a combination between several different hobby’s and now it turned out to be so much more. If you’d like to know more about how Igniting Imagination was founded, you can read the story below.
Just a Hobby
Back in 2019 I was dealing with a lot of pressure and mental health issues. Some of these things, I am still batteling. I needed to get back some inner peace and started to look for a new hobby which would not give me pressure, but only joy and would distract me from negativity.
I have always loved to have decorations in my house and I absolutely love scented candles. When I was browsing in the hobby store I saw all kind of supplies to make your own candles and that when I started to experiment with candle making.
I really loved making all kinds of different candles and tea lights, so I went online and researched more and more about candle making. There were so many amazing candle makers out there and it really inspired me to be creative and create my own, unique candle making style. It really helped to bring my mind at rest and give my creativity some purpose. I have always been a creative person, but I never had a way to do something with it untill now.
From family and friends, I got a lot of amazing reactions because I gave a lot of my candles away on birthdays. The downside of the hobby was (like every hobby) that it costs a lot of money, so I was kinda thinking, how can I turn this so I can still enjoy it as a hobby, but it doesn’t cost me so much. And that’s when I kinda decided very impulsively that I wanted to start my own webshop.
Being an entrepreneur
I have always said that one day I wanted to own my own business. Ever since I was little, I was one way or another, selling things to make money off of it. When I was about 8 years old I went with my friends to pick flowers and then we put our blanket next to a store and sell our bouquets of flowers for €0.05 to customers. When I think back of it, it makes me really laugh because what kid does this, right?
When I was a bit older I used to have a subscription to a magazine which had a lot of posters from famous artists. This was my ‘next business’. In that time we had this website called marktplaats (it’s a sort of Dutch Ebay) where you could make an account and sell just about anything. This is where I went and sold the posters I didn’t want.
So you can say, I have always had the urge to be an entrepreneur. In 2019 I also did an internship for a company for which I had to design/built 3 websites, which I had never done before, and it turned out I really loved doing it. That is the place where I learned more about being an Entrepreneur and which really helped me to discover what I love to do.
In august 2019 I went to the Chamber of Commerce and registered myself as an official business. Shanthi Candles was born. I chose the name Shanthi because it has the first 3 letters of my first name, but also because Shanthi means ‘finding your inner peace’ in Sanskrit. Finding my inner peace was what candle making was doing for me and what I also wanted to create for others.
After a few months of trying to find my way in the candle business, I felt that I was just doing something. I didn’t have a clear way of how my candles looked and it was kind of a chaotic mess. Next to my normal candles I started making Harry Potter inspired candles. These were originally just made for myself because I love Harry Potter, but I noticed that these candles attracted way more people. After talking with one of my best friends I kinda rolled into the world of bookstagram and well, yeah… now we are here
Expanding and re-branding
Bookstagram was a whole new Instagram world for me, and I fell head over heels for it. I discovered so many amazing new books, fandoms and also met a lot of amazing people. I started to expand my potion bottle candles and slowly found my way of what I wanted my business to be: a place where your imagination will come to life.
My new way of creating my products and doing my business didn’t align with my original idea anymore. It created a gap on what I was doing and what I was ‘saying’ with my branding. At the moment that this happened, I was still studying for my Communications Bachelor, so I decided to use this as a project for my study.
Together with a few classmates of mine, we worked a few weeks very hard on a new branding, that would fit my products way better. After a lot of conversations I held with people that knew me and my business, it was a converstaion with one of my REPS (Sophia) that gave me the last inspiration to come up with the new webshop name: Igniting Imagination.
I am still so happy with my new branding, my logo and just my business overall. Everything I do, I do with a lot of love and passion. Every product is created from scratch and I love to see my ideas come to life. Next to the candles I expanded with booksleeves, scrunchies, headbands, bookmarks and art work. We are also going to create more bookish merchandise boxes under the name: imagination boxes. The very first Imagination Box is the Christmas of Maas box, themed all around all the Sarah J. Maas fandoms and Christmas.
Of course I do not work on everything alone anymore. I still make the products myself and most designs are by me, but since november 2020 I am so proud to be able to say that Rosanna and Dyonne are a part of Igniting Imagination.
Dyonne is an amazingly talented designer/artist who really gets me and knows how to draw out my ideas, but also has amazing ideas herself that work so good. We just started with a few amazing candles and bookmarks, but Dyonne is also working on the Imagination Boxes and we are also going to work on our own booksleeve, headband and scrunchie designs!
Rosanna joined our team for the Imagination Boxes. These boxes will be made every 4 months and will contain all kinds of merchandise around a certain theme or fandom. Rosanna helps Dyonne and me by creating content and products for these boxes.
Next to Rosanna and Dyonne, Yessica is also a huge part of this shop. Yessica was one of the first customers I had the pleasure of creating a CYO candle. Yessica has always been there after that and we even became really close friends. Whenever I need a pair of extra hands by preparing orders, Yessica will come over and help me with it.
And of course, I have an amazing REP team on Instagram. I have a few long-term-reps who are really invested in this business and are just a bunch of amazing girls that I am so grateful to know, and every 4 months I have a team of extra REPS that are also amazing and sweet people that I love to have on my team!
A court of imagination
If you’d like to get to know more about me, you can follow me on my personal bookstagram account @acourtofimagination. I also have a bookish blog, but that is in Dutch. In other blogs you can read about how our products are made and how to take care of them. If you have any other questions you can look if it is maybe answered in the FAQ or contact me through the contact page
Thank you for reading and thank you for supporting us!