We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Michelle Moses Marquez. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Michelle below.
Michelle, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today So, naming is such a challenge. How did you come up with the name of your brand?
My company’s name was born from an improvisation that works so perfectly that it seems intentional. After tossing out so many names that just didn’t feel right, I decided to name my company after my daughter, Mila. I was set on Mila & Company and started drawing up the documentation to make it official. During that process, I realized how common the name “Mila” was and saw many already established businesses with Mila in their company name. With my daughter’s blessing, we decided to flip the first letter. “Wila” & Company was born. It was unique and complemented our refillable wooden wick candles perfectly.
Michelle, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
During the pandemic, I was working part-time from home and pregnant with my second child. I would often use major chain brand candles and plug-ins to relax while working in my home office. Over time I started to notice I was experiencing headaches whenever I would use those particular products. I started researching what could have been the cause. I was shocked to discover all of the toxins and carcinogens used in the products we were inhaling. I immediately decided to stop using them and after a while, I decided to make my own. I figured if I could make one without the harmful toxins I could go back to my relaxation routine without harming myself or my family.
Within a few months, my newly found interest became my hobby. And after a year my hobby became my passion. I love that I could refill my candles and reduce waste and I loved that they were clean-burning and toxin-free. With much support from my family, I decided to explore the idea of creating a small business that featured clean-burning candles that were refillable. Something I haven’t encountered on the market.
Once I had a solid idea of how I would do it I spent months testing and gifting candles. I loved sharing the information I’ve gathered and received feedback from the candle-loving community. I sat on it for a year and by the end of 2021 I made up my mind to go for it. Spring of 2022 I launched my website showcasing my unique candle business based in San Antonio, Texas. We make handmade Coconut Soy candles infused with essential oils that are refillable and good for the environment.
Our handcrafted blend of coconut soy is sustainable, organic, phthalate-free, and paraben-free. All candles are made in small batches to ensure our best quality and love in every pour. We have a collection of earthy, warm, and floral available with some unique combinations and scent blends.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
I decided to launch my website and start doing markets in late spring. This year we were experiencing record heat all spring and summer and being that I use organic ingredients, I began dealing with some candles melting during events. My choice was either to wait for cooler days or find a way. I decided to invest in some coolers and a rechargeable fan to keep my candles at indoor room temperature instead of sitting the summer out as many had suggested. I truly enjoy meeting customers and talking about my products. I’m glad I pushed through the unforgiving heat and kept going. Now it is fall, it is getting slightly cooler and I have met so many wonderful customers that I see regularly at markets.
Can you talk to us about how you funded your business?
Lots of saving and praying. During the time that I was building the foundation for my business. I had a full-time job, and an additional part-time job on weekends, and when my kids were asleep I would work on my dream of Wila & Company.
I’ve always been a firm believer that “hard work pays off,” so I started small. A pot, a few cups of organic ingredients, and the thought that I will continue to put in the work that is necessary to see my dreams come true.