Do the Thing Worth Doing
When I was furloughed from my advertising job in NYC at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, I was, at first upset and angry just like others who were in my position. I was doing well, hitting targets quarter over quarter and so I couldn’t make sense of it. Could it be because of the color of my skin? Did I piss off one of the higher up’s? What did I do to deserve this? These are some of the things I started to question. The experience was exhausting and humiliating, putting the essence of my core identity into question.
I realized I didn’t know who I was outside of my day job and that was frightening!
After a few hours of panicking about health insurance coverage, I decided that the only way to move forward was to create a name for myself independent of the company and people I worked for. That was the only thing that seemed worth doing.
In these moments was when I decided I would turn my long-standing passion for candle-making into something more than a hobby. For nearly 3 years I made candles for my friends and family but didn’t take it seriously enough to start a business. My closest of friends and colleagues knew about this passion and often encouraged me to consider it. With my new found time, I stocked up on wax and wicks, set up shop in my parent’s house in New Jersey and immersed myself in creating candles inspired by the ancient Tamil culture.
Born in Madras, India, I draw inspiration from the vibrant scents of the subcontinent. The brand visuals encapsulate the same vibrance and also emphasize the skill that goes into the craft. The central unit of the brand visuals is the reflection of a craftswoman, that represents two sides of the craft; skill and effort.
Every fragrance I add into my collection undergoes rigorous testing. Paraffin-based candles, such as Yankee Candle, contain harmful and toxic chemicals. Natural waxes such as coconut and soy, though unharmful, come with a challenge of holding in the fragrance well. Thus, testing was key. Experimenting day and night became the norm for me. This meant countless hours on subreddits, reading blogs, talking to other candle-makers, conducting burn tests and all-nighters dedicated to watching candles melt.
As I experimented with burn times and materials, searching for that perfect candle, I shared snippets of my journey on Twitter & Instagram, building an audience while gaining support and encouragement from the wider candle-making community. I launched shopaditi.com in September 2020, tripled my sales in the second month and during the 2020 holiday season, I was selling 5x the amount sold at launch. I highly encourage building in public to anyone who is working on their own side-hustles. You will gain support and attract customers even before you launch and build an organic feedback loop that will only give back to you.
I am proud to say that my candles are non-toxic and cruelty-free, burning longer and smoother than most candles and include fragrances such as honeysuckle jasmine, mango, sandalwood and vetiver. With evocative names like “Madras Summer” or “Twilight Moss”, the collection is as much a homage to my Indian roots as it is an exploration of my American identity.
For the past 5 years, I have been working in roles that range from Ad Operations to Partner Management. In the most recent roles, I’ve consulted major Agencies, Trade Desks and Brands on how to manage their programmatic advertising budgets, campaign strategies and have always been a top performer. The work is rewarding and I’ve even been able to leverage the skills learned into building my website and brand but it has never been enough. I’ve always wanted something that I could call mine, something that no one could take away from me. Something worth doing.
Candles are most enjoyed when shared. I believe in not only making well-crafted candles, but also in fostering a culture of spreading knowledge around the art. I strive to provide soulful scents that accompany others in the journey of their own growth, self care and love.
Do the thing worth doing,