This weeks Creative Biz Series is with the inspiring girlboss founder of Hutwoods candles, Becky Hutley. I first met Becky at the New Beginnings Fair in Sydney. I had just started my business and it was great to be able to connect with a like-minded lady that was already a few years into her own business baby. We have kept in touch ever since and I have absolutely loved watching her brand grow and grow. From pop-up stores in Westfield, to her own flagship store in Caringbah, to recently launching a skin care section of the Hutwoods, there is no stopping this beautiful brand.
So Becky, tell us what you are up to today over at Hutwoods?
Today was actually a really exciting day! Around 14 months ago we moved our business from our home studio into our first commercial premises, which doubles as a shop and a warehouse where we make, store and distribute all of our products. We have very quickly outgrown it and have been searching for bigger premises for some time now. Today we found the perfect space that literally ticks every box! As a business owner it is hard to know how quickly you’ll grow, but what we have come to realise, is that planning for 18+ months ahead is just as important as planning 1 month ahead! Especially relevant for us, given we manufacture our products in house and need to store so many different raw materials.
What do you LOVE about your business?
Where do I start! Starting Hutwoods was literally a dream come true and although at the beginning I didn’t plan for it to become a business, dedicating the time to develop it was the best decision I’ve ever made. After feeling a bit lost in previous jobs, I finally feel like I’ve found my ‘calling’. One of the main things I love about Hutwoods is that I’m able to do something I’m truly passionate about, every single day. I’m working harder and longer hours than I’ve ever worked before but because I really enjoy what I do, it never really feels like hard work. Although there are days where I think “what on earth am I doing” (we all get those right?!), I can honestly say that having the ability to develop a brand and work for myself, is amazing. I also love that I’m able to surround myself with incredible staff who inspire me every day. This brings so much motivation to both myself, and the rest of the team.
What are your daily habits to keep you on track for world domination?
I strongly believe that having a great morning routine sets you up for a good day! I always start my day by determining 3 important tasks that need to be completed before anything else. This then gives me the momentum and motivation to keep going for the rest of the day and helps to keep me on track. I also think it’s really important to take time away from the madness of running your own business to try to achieve balance. I personally do this by meditating and doing yoga most days, which I find really works. I’m currently using a meditation app called Headspace and it’s really helping me to quiet my mind, especially on those crazy busy days!
What has been your biggest business challenge to date and how have you overcome it?
When I first started the business, the home fragrance and candle industry wasn’t as saturated or competitive as it is now. When we launched back in 2013, we were one of first brands to offer candles with wood wicks, which gave us a big point of difference. Obviously fast forward 5 years and this has changed considerably.
I have always been very confident in the quality of our products and experience it offers our customers, but branding and marketing the business is so important for long term success. In 2016 (around 2.5 years after launching) we made a huge decision to do a major brand overhaul. We literally updated everything from our logo, packaging, website and even the glassware we used. It was a big risk as we changed almost every aspect of the business, which required some pretty daunting decisions. However, deep down we knew we needed to evolve to stand out and future proof our business. It was definitely one of our most challenging periods, which resulted in many sleepless nights! It was also around this time that we started to think more about the future of Hutwoods, and what our long-term goals were to evolve the brand. Expanding our offering into bath and body products was a big objective for us, so I’m say happy we’ve been able to make this a reality in 2018 and I’m really proud of the new range we have just introduced!
If you could pick just one thing that has contributed to your success to date, what has it been?
I think this would be my sheer determination! When I first started Hutwoods, I was also working full-time, but never felt truly satisfied. I explained to my husband that I really wanted to work purely on Hutwoods and he suggested that I wait to quit my job until I had our products stocked in 20 retail outlets. This was the exact challenge I needed and I don’t think I’ve ever been more determined in my life! I literally went on the streets introducing myself to home and gift shops and giving out samples and brochures until I’d achieved the goal! I also think that having support from family and friends is hugely important and it’s been so valuable being on this journey alongside my husband, Tom. He works in advertising so is able to give insight in different areas of the business that I’m not as familiar with. I feel lucky to have him by my side and we make all the big business decisions together.
If you could only work 2 hours per week on your business (lucky you!) what would you do?
Hmmm I wish! That really would be the dream! I think if I only had 2 hours a week, I’d most likely dedicate it to working on our digital marketing as this such an important way to keep in touch with our loyal customers, as well as attract new ones!
What is your go-to for getting a dose of inspiration?
I’m a huge fan of podcasts and listen to them daily. They give me so much inspiration and I feel I learn so much from them. My favorites would have to be “How I built this” by Gus Raz and also #AskJackD. I also love reading autobiographies and learning about entrepreneur’s journeys. Each one is so unique, which has made me come to realise, there’s no right or wrong when growing your business and that each one of us has our own individual story.
What is your favorite quote that gets you fired up?
Ever since I started Hutwoods back in 2013 I’ve had the same quote up on my desk, it says “Do What You Love, Love What You Do”. It sounds cheesy but if I’m having a hard day, I always look at it and remind myself how lucky I am to be doing something I love!
If you could give budding entrepreneurs one piece of advice, what would it be?
I love the saying:
“One Day or Day One”
I’d say that if you’re thinking of starting your own business, don’t put it off until “the time is right” or until you have “everything perfect”. Just start. I always ask myself when making a scary change “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” I believe it is always better to have tried something and given it your best shot, than to wonder what it would have been like. Surround yourself with supportive people, give it your all and don’t be scared to ask for help.
Becky Hutley is the founder of Hutwoods, a wood wick candle, home fragrance and bath & body brand based in Sydney, Australia.
After spending 7 years working in sales, Becky launched Hutwoods in 2013. She quickly realised it was an industry she was passionate about and within 6 months of starting the business, she quit her job to focus on Hutwoods full-time.
Today, Hutwoods has evolved to offer reed diffusers, homewares and bath & body products, all handmade in Australia. The brand has also expanded globally with retailers in Japan, USA and the UK.
Becky is originally from a small coastal seaside town in the UK, but has lived in Sydney for over 10 years after falling in love with the climate and lifestyle. When she’s not working on the business, you can find her spending quality time with her husband and going for long walks on the beach with their dog, Milly.