When it comes to starting your own business, in my experience, there is no one correct formula or precise method to achieve success. As an entrepreneur, you’re met with countless closed doors, rejections, and setbacks. It’s enough to make anyone question the merit of their goal or vision. But you can’t take all those obstacles to heart; to realize success, you must meet them head on, embrace them, and push through the white noise.  
From a young age, I was always fascinated with finding ways to make money - from selling freshly baked cookies to marketing my hand-made bracelets to family and friends. Growing up in a family where money was tight, the financial freedom that entrepreneurship offered was addicting. I loved it! And I knew right away that, as an adult, I needed to run my own business. The challenge was finding an idea that I really believed in – that would serve a consumer need that was crying out to be fulfilled.
However, launching a brand-new fragrance company with global aspirations has been the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever done. In my instance, it called for creating a whole new product category, in a different country (Australia) with a different consumer culture. 

Push those boundaries 

Whether it’s stepping over that line you’ve been afraid to cross or trying out something totally new for your business, you have to BELIEVE in your vision. In order to have strong beliefs, you must know the category in which you are going to compete in, the current players (or closest to in a new category), and you have to have a view about how large or small the opportunity is. Without this, you will not be able to complete at least a rough business plan. 

Trust your instincts

Sometimes in life, you just have to go with your gut feeling and have faith in it. I was no stranger to doing this. After all, I took a big leap picking up from New York and moving to Australia. Life there was good but, interestingly enough, for a land engulfed in unique, complex smells and fragrances, there was no high-quality, locally sourced candles that captured and marketed those exquisite aromas. That’s when I realized I had stumbled upon a gap in this consumer market which felt very similar to the USA market to me, albeit smaller than what I was used to. It was the day Glasshouse Fragrances was born.

Don’t let obstacles discourage you 

The journey to build my company was filled with more obstacles than I can count. The important thing I learned is that obstacles are the things you focus on when you take your eye off the ball. Instead, I needed to stick with my gut instinct, ignore the naysayers, and break a few of the old and tired rules along the way.  
The candle making itself was one of my biggest challenges - simply because I had no knowledge of the difficulty and nuances of making what I wanted to create, which was the world’s best candle. It needed to be strong, complex and artistic fragrances, had to look gorgeous, and burn evenly and cleanly all the way down. I knew in my heart what I wanted to create, but every candle I made was terrible, so I had to keep researching, talking to experts in the industry and this was quite challenging because the candle making industry is very secretive.
However, after some research, planning, and experimental candle-making in my apartment kitchen, the very first batch of Glasshouse candles was produced – and my first batch of 100 candles sold out within two weeks and I knew that I was onto something. 

Strive for perfection 

Having a perfectionist’s mindset goes a long way in helping you design product. In developing Glasshouse Fragrances, I wanted to capture the sassiness of New York City and combine it with the relaxed glamour of Sydney. It never occurred to me to produce anything less than a world-class product - and I was on a mission to dive into the world of fragrance until I perfected my craft. Striving for perfection is a journey in which everything counts. And perfection was important to achieving a world-class reputation for my brand. 

Be the First 

In my opinion, innovation and market disruption happen only when you don’t follow the rules and you try something new.  Introducing a brand-new product to the market, not only broke the rules, it was what got the ball rolling for my business – and I was in a rush because I was sure it was only a matter of time before someone else had the same idea. Even today, my team and I strive to think differently and are always envisioning new fragrance trends and products to bring to our fans.

Be unapologetically optimistic 

Be bold and give yourself permission to climb out on a limb if it means getting to the next level. If you have a brilliant idea, don’t expect people to recognize it as such. Only you can judge its merit. Imagine if I had listened to the people who said my fragrance company wasn’t going to work! Take all the “no’s” in stride and every time you get rejected, understand you are one step closer to that eventual “yes.” For me, all it took was an underserved market and a belief in the power of fragrance to change lives.
From a young age, we’re taught to seek the approval and encouragement of our peers, family, and friends. That’s valuable when we are young and growing, but there comes a point when we must trust our own instincts, and have faith in our dreams because, let’s face it, if you don’t believe in something, why should anyone else? So, the next time someone tells you your idea won’t work, just keep it mind that a good idea, powered by faith and vision, can grow into to a multi-million-dollar business.


Nicole Eckels