WHEN you’re 12 years old you’re usually thinking about school, homework and friends, but not for Charlie Griffiths.
He started a candle business at the age of 12, and two years on it’s making him thousands of pounds a year.
Charlie’s company – Hood + May – now also sells homeware, children’s clothing and diffusers, but it all started with candles.
“I’ve always been interested in starting my own business,” Charlie, from Herefordshire, told The Mirror.
“I decided on candles after I read about all the nasty things that go into making many of them and wanted to make some that were eco friendly,” he said.
A company makes the candles for him, but Charlie designs them himself and makes sure they contain sustainable ingredients and are free from additives.
The candles cost between £9 and £12 depending on the smell and packaging.
He also designs or hand picks the other products for his business from trade shows, which includes diffusers for £8 and clothing for children from £4.99.
The business currently sells about 250 products a year, giving it an annual turnover of roughly £10,000, Charlie told The Sun.
‘I run the business in my spare time’
Of course, running a business on top of schoolwork can be hectic, so he doesn’t have much spare time.
“I get home from school and do my homework first – and any spare time I dedicate to the business,” Charlie said.
This includes dealing with customer enquiries and suppliers, visiting trade shows as well as packaging goods to send out.
‘ I started the business in my bedroom’
Luckily, the business is going well so he’s expanded from his bedroom to his own office at home.
“I started off in my bedroom, but now have a small room to work from, as well as a few shelves for storage,” Charlie said.
His parents are also supportive and help him when he needs to travel to trade shows.
But as with any start-ups, his business journey hasn’t come without problems.
“It’s mostly been good fun. There have been a couple of dodgy boxes of candles and the occasional angry customer, but that’s about it.”
At the moment, Charlie currently has no plans of giving up his business. Instead, he wants to expand it.
“I’m looking at doing a pop-up shop and expanding the ranges of product on sale,” Charlie said.
“I could see myself doing this for a long time, but might switch to something new later on if a better business idea comes along.”
Keen to start your own business? Then Charlie’s best tip is to “start small and work your way up”.
How to get a start-up business loan
IF you need financial support in setting up your business, you can get loans of up to £25,000 to help along the way.
- Vrigin StartUP offers government-backed loans from £500 to £25,000 to help entrepreneurs launching or growing a business that’s under two-years-old in England or Scotland. It has a rate of 6 per cent interest.
- The Start-Up Loans Company, which lends government subsidised loans up to £25,000 at a rate of 6 per cent.
- The Princes Trust also offers loans, up to £5,000, at a rate of 6.2 per cent.
A 28-year-old property tycoon no longer needs to work after learning how to make millions by watching YouTube videos.
Meanwhile, a schoolbuy has built a £15k a year eBay empire selling kids toys.
Last month, we revealed how a 13-year-old boy went from washing cars in his parents’ driveway to running luxury car motor cleaning service – charging up to £4,000 each.