Innovation Keeps The London Candle Company Burning

London Candle Company
The London Candle Company candles at evening event.

Jonathan Welland, the founder and managing director at The London Candle Company, learned about his trade when he was a college student studying political science at the University of Nottingham. When not at school, he would occasionally work for his friend’s local candle shop, which is where his interest in starting his own candle business began. In 2015, he launched The London Candle Company, with a focus on selling high-quality, competitively priced bulk candles to businesses in the catering and hospitality industry.

As with many other small businesses, Jonathan had to be flexible and evolve his strategy when the COVID pandemic hit. During the height of the pandemic, when many of his business customers across the hospitality industry were forced to temporarily shut their doors, Jonathan pivoted to expand his business model from solely serving business customers to also serving consumers. His business is now 60% business-to-business (B2B) and 40% business-to-consumer (B2C).

As he moved into the B2C space, he knew that leveraging PayPal’s trusted brand and the payment choice PayPal Complete Payments offered his customers – from PayPal and Pay in 3 to cards and other popular digital wallets – was critical for his business. Previously, he used different payment providers that were not only more expensive, but also resulted in him having to double up his work.

London Candle Company owner Jonathan Welland at the PayPal office in London
Jonathan Welland at PayPal’s London office

“Small business owners wear many hats and are always strapped for time. We are always looking to find the fastest, most efficient, and cost-effective way to do things,” Jonathan shared. “Before integrating PayPal Complete Payments – which was surprisingly fast and easy to integrate – we were paying higher processing fees with another provider, and because I had to reconcile my payments across multiple payment partners, I was essentially adding additional work to my plate. Now, with PayPal, it’s so nice to be able to offer my customers a range of payment options and save time by having everything settled into one place. I’ve also noticed that with PayPal, funds from my sales settle near instantly, which was not the case with other providers I’ve used. It really helps from a cashflow perspective.”

Being in the candle business, where seasonality plays a big role in sales, having a healthy cash flow is critical. In the winter months when nights are longer, there is a larger demand for his products, but in the summer months, when nights are shorter, demand is limited. Despite that, Jonathan needs to have his warehouse fully stocked and ready to ship out to customers as demand comes in. To help with cash flow, Jonathan leverages PayPal Working Capital*.

The London Candle Company exhibiting at a London hospitality trade show.
The London Candle Company exhibiting at a London hospitality trade show.

“PayPal Working Capital has been so helpful when I’ve needed to stock up on bulk candles ahead of the busy winter months, especially because I need to pay my suppliers right away. I see it more as a cash advance rather than a loan that you have to repay monthly, and I much prefer that. I feel like it kind of repays itself,” Jonathan shared.

The London Candle Company relies on PayPal Complete Payments for their payment processing, to offer their customers a range of payment options, and because their customers trust PayPal. “Our customers really trust the PayPal brand because they know they’re protected when they pay with PayPal. As a business owner, I also know I’m protected with PayPal through things like Seller Protection, and since switching to PayPal Complete Payments, I’ve had no chargeback issues, which saves me a lot of time and hassle,” Jonathan shared. “It’s allowed me to develop a B2C model that works very nicely for both me and my customers.

The London Candle Company Tiki Torches
The London Candle Company Tiki Torches

When asked what advice he has for other entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses, Jonathan shared that adaptability, understating your market and never getting too comfortable all critical to success. “If you want to start your own business, it’s crucial to first do your research,” he shared. “You need to really understand the market, know about pricing so you can effectively negotiate and maintain a healthy profit margin. Don’t ever rest on your laurels – continue to innovate, make sure you continue to be flexible and adaptable as you will undoubtedly experience ups and downs, and don’t ever get too comfortable.”

As Jonathan continues to innovate himself, he’s been focused on more environmentally conscious practices, like evolving his packaging to be more sustainable – moving away from plastics to cardboard packaging, working with factories that are at least partially powered by solar power and double stacking trailers to reduce his business’s carbon footprint.

*The lender for PayPal Working Capital is WebBank. PayPal Working Capital is currently unavailable to businesses located in certain states. Check out the FAQ above for more details on PayPal Working Capital availability.

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