BRAND NAME: Alchemy Produx
DESIGNER: Sara McLelland
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS: 6 years
DESCRIBE ALCHEMY PRODUX IN 3 WORDS: Minimal, Botanical, Androgynous 
 
YOU RUN ALCHEMY PRODUX WITH YOUR HUBBY, TRISTAN. WAS THIS ALWAYS A DESIRE? TO WORK TOGETHOR?  
I would never have dreamed we would end up working together on our own business, I wouldn't say we set out with this objective in mind. We did however, ask our selves, "how can we live better?" so I guess working together was a lifestyle choice, it has also been attributed to moving down the coast and trying to live a slower life. Tristan is good at all the things I am not, so we work well together and don't step on each others toes. 
 
YOUR RESPECTIVE BACKGROUNDS ARE A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN... YOU WERE A FASHION DESIGNER & TRISTAN A CHEMIST.  BEFORE WE BEGAN THESUPERCOOL, NOONIE & I SPENT A COUPLE OF YEARS TRYING TO COME UP WITH IDEAS FOR A BUSINESS THAT WOULD COMPLIMENT OUR SKILL SETS. WAS IT CLEAR CUT OR TOOK TIME TO COME UP WITH ALCHEMY
We never began with starting a business in mind, we originally started to make our candles as a hobby and I still laugh when I tell people I make candles for a living. Our backgrounds in fashion design and chemistry defiantly helped shaped our business, even if we weren't aware of it at the time. I didn't grow up dreaming of being a candle-maker; but I have always been creative and as long as I am doing something creative I couldn't be happier. 
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YOU INITIALLY BEGAN SELLING DIRECTLY TO THE CUSTOMER WITH A MARKET STALL AT ROSE ST MARKETS.  WAS THIS HELPFUL IN LEARNING WHAT CUSTOMERS LIKED, WHICH SCENTS WERE MORE POPULAR? REACTIONS TO PACKAGING ETC...  
When we first started, the fragrance Lychee & Black Tea was still our best seller, today it is still our best seller!  Selling at markets is so valuable for us in terms on customer feed back and reactions! Until they invent scratch-n-sniff for instagram and websites its hard for our customs to completely experience our products. Fragrance has such
a psychological effect on people, and seeing reactions to a tangible product is priceless! Fragrance is like food, not ever body has the same palette, and different emotions and memories can be associated with different fragrances. 
HOW DID YOU BEGIN WHOLESALE? ASIDE FROM US BOMBARDING YOU WITH REQUESTS TO DO WHOLESALE BECAUSE WE LOVE YOUR PRODUCT? 
Haha yes, TheSuperCool was our first wholesale account thanks to much nagging, but it was defiantly the persuasion we needed! We did our first trade-show 4 years ago which also really helped launched our brand into the marketplace. We have also been fortunate enough to attend trade shows in New York and London
 
AT WHAT POINT IN YOUR BUSINESS GROWTH, DID YOU REALISE YOU COULDN'T WORK PART TIME ON ALCHEMY ANYMORE WHILST DOING YOUR FULL TIME JOB IN FASHION?  AND WHEN DID TRISTAN JOIN THE BUSINESS FULL TIME?  
Alchemy Produx is now 6 years old, it was just over 4 years ago when I started working on it full time, I didn't make the plunge because of the work load or business growth, I actually work better when super busy! I chose to pursue Alchemy full time as I wasn't happy in my time job in fashion design. Working for your self is the most enjoyable and rewarding thing ever, and I wanted Tristan to enjoy the lifestyle that I had, so he eventually joined the team 2 years ago! As I mentioned before, I didn't grow up dreaming of being a candle maker, but running your own small business is the best job in the world. 
  
 
THERE HAS BEEN SUCH AN EXPLOSION OF CANDLE BRANDS IN AUSTRALIA IN THE LAST 2 YEARS. WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THIS TOO? 
Candle making is a fun hobby that any one can do at home, I guess this is why there has been a big rise in candle brands. There is actually a lot of "chemistry" involved in making the perfect candle, but with trial-error and some practise anyone can master this craft. 
 
YOU HAVE BEEN COPIED BY A BIG BRAND. HOW FRUSTRATING IS THIS AND WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Yes this is true, it is very frustrating and disappointing. There are many things you can do about it, having a good whinge is usually the first thing I do! We have gone down many paths, including legal action, but we have found the best approach is to put our emotions, money and time into just improving our own business. Somebody also once said to me "You should worry when people aren't copying you!"
WHAT 3 TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE SMALL BRANDS IN AUSTRALIA ABOUT BEGINNING A START UP?
1. Get a mentor; or 10... talking to other makers and small business owners was super important for me, I found it gave me the knowledge and confident to really expand Alchemy Produx. 
2. Be different; have your own identity and stick to it!
3. The power of social media; it is a VERY powerful marketing tool and so important for start-ups and established business.
 
YOU ARE CURRENTLY PREGNANT WITH YOUR FIRST CHILD. WHAT IS ON THE CARDS FOR FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF THE BRAND GIVEN YOU'LL BE BALANCING MOTHERHOOD AS WELL? 
We have been focusing on developing new products that don't require so much in-house production, we are widening our range of home fragrance to offer other products that we can just "pick-and-pack". Our candles are all hand poured to order, which is very labour intensive but also means we can oversee all quality control, with the new products we are focusing on more ready-to-go products.