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AMA: Sophie Labat, founder of Shmood

AMA: Sophie Labat, founder of Shmood

We all love a lockdown startup success story. Sophie Labat's company Shmood is a perfect example. Shmood produce candles that smell good and do good too.

sophie

Hi Sophie! Tell us a bit about your company.

Shmood looks to bring an ethical and accessible approach to the candle market with aromatherapy candles for emotional well-being.

Shmood candles are hand-poured by myself and are 100% natural made using sustainably sourced soy wax, pure essential oils and unbleached cotton wicks.

Being vegan, cruelty-free and plastic-free is core to the ethos of Shmood as great candles should never cost the earth. My studio also runs on renewable energy which is pretty awesome!

Each scent comes with its own Spotify playlist which you can scan straight from the label on the jar, and we’re super proud to donate 50p from every candle sold to Mind charity.

Fantastic! So, how did the idea for Shmood come about?

In March 2020 my final year, the university came to an abrupt end due to lockdown 1.0 and I returned to my family home, cue me filling the house with candles to help me feel more settled. I really became a crazy candle lady.

After a while I started to notice I was getting headaches and coughing a lot more than usual - after a quick Google search, it was soon evident why. Many candles use paraffin wax, artificial fragrances and bleached wicks to make them cheaper and easier to produce.

These chemicals can be extremely damaging to our health over long periods of time. This really shocked me, I couldn’t believe that companies were allowed to sell these products knowing what is in them. So I began to make my own.

After weeks of testing, designing and making, I finally created a range that is not only affordable but clean-burning, hand-made and free from all those nasty chemicals.

candle-lounge

What’s the big aim?

To become a global household name offering natural products that are affordable and accessible to everyone, without ever compromising on quality or aesthetic.

Big ambitions, love it! Who has had the most impact on your life, and the decisions you make in business?

My friends 100%. From the very beginning, they have always bounced ideas off me, given me constructive feedback and are always there whenever I have self-doubt, feel stressed or need to celebrate!

Then, of course, my parents, they run their own businesses so their advice is always very welcomed and has prevented many mistakes!

What is the biggest mistake you've made as an entrepreneur?

Well, I guess my parents haven’t prevented every mistake. I would say my biggest mistake/learning curve has been stock management. With every product launch, I have completely underestimated how much stock we would need to fulfil demand and this has led to growth being hindered.

How do you keep your team aligned?

At the moment my team consists of just myself so it’s all about self-discipline to keep everything aligned. I make myself overarching goals that I want to achieve on a monthly basis and then I break this down into daily tasks so everything is more manageable.

small-business

Thinking ahead, as the company grows, is an employee share or option scheme something you'd consider?

As we continue to grow, this is something I will definitely implement as a rewards incentive and this would ensure my team feels invested within Shmood and part of the growth journey.

Can you share any practical tips or processes to help people work remotely?

Ensure you have a comfortable and positive workspace that you will want to work from. No working in your pyjamas from your bed. Get dressed and ready as you would for work and map out your day to help you stay on track.

If you could resurrect any long-gone genius for advice, who would it be and why?

Dame Anita Roddick for sure. Her legacy and impact on the world have set a precedent for how business should be - adding value to the wider world beyond your physical product.

This is what I try to do with our monthly donations to Mind charity - for me this surpasses the feeling of getting orders, knowing that we are helping to change someone's life means so much.

What a great initiative. Final question, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or the Marvel Universe?

You won’t believe me when I say this but I have never seen any. I fall asleep as soon as I watch TV but I would imagine Marvel would be most up my street!

We'll let you off! Thanks so much for your time Sophie. It's been a pleasure!

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