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Nature's Kindle | Meet the Maker


Nature's Kindle | Meet the Maker

Ben Ashby

When most students are trying to make it through college, they get a job waiting tables, but because he was already burning a candle at both ends that didn't work for Diosdado Velasquez. When his hectic college days started to make money tight, he started making candles. That small idea because a small venture in time, and eventually Nature's Kindle was formed.

How did you start Nature's Kindle?

Nature’s Kindle began as a crazy side hustle during college with an impossible internship schedule and the need to pay my bills.  I was looking for a way to get by but was unable to have a typical “college” job, so I decided to hone in on my entrepreneurial spirit and go for it.  

Who taught you to create candles and fragrances, or were you self-taught?

I started Nature’s Kindle buying and reselling candles that I felt had scents inspired by nature, but truly didn’t own the brand until I started developing my own products and learned how to make them by hand.  I did some research and found a class, where I learned the basics of candle making. That is also when I learned about soy candles and the natural benefits of working with soy wax.  From there, I started blending fragrances and developed our signature scent Woodlands. 

What was the first product you made and how was it received?

The first candles we ever made were heart shaped candles for Valentine’s day.  It was our first show and we went above and beyond for what we thought would be “popular” which was the total opposite of who we are.  That was a huge learning lesson for us to be ourselves.  I literally sold 1 candle and decided from then on to go with my gut and properly brand my business to truly represent who I am.

Did you know you would start your own brand, if not what spurred it?

When I first started making candles I had no idea that I would start my own brand.  Once I knew I had a product that customers started coming back for, my wife and I had a heart to heart about what our goals were.  We wrote down what was important to us and how we felt our brand should be represented, and Nature’s Kindle was born.  As we are always inspired by nature, we felt we should always have scents inspired by nature and we took it from there!

How do you get ideas for new products & photo shoots?

We have a few product ideas lined up for the upcoming year that are in line for Nature’s Kindle.  We’ve thrown around a lot of different ideas but we always come back to who we are and what we need to continue representing.  Keep it simple.  Our photo shoots are usually in house and collaborative with our awesome photographer, lots of natural light, and based around nature inspired home décor.

What are your inspirations?

My wife and I inspire each other.  Our business inspirations are almost always on a road trip to the mountains, hiking and talking, or late nights at the warehouse after about 10 cups of coffee.  As long as we are together we are inspired.

How do your hobbies influence what you make?

We love hiking, backpacking, camping, and just generally hanging out outside.  During our adventures we love to dream big and loud and figure out the next scent or product we can start working on.

What has been your biggest challenge?  

My biggest challenge was taking the leap of faith to take this on full time in 2016.  While working full time and having a steady income I was able to play it safe.  Both Nature’s Kindle and my previous job required full time attention so with the moral support of my wife I took the route that allowed me to live my dream of being an entrepreneur.

What's been your best advice you've been given?

The best advice I had been given was to chase your dream and give it all you have to make them come true. 

 What's your favorite thing about sharing Nature's Kindle with others?

My favorite thing about sharing my product is seeing the reaction of when they pick up and smell our candles.  Scent is a huge memory trigger for most people, so to hear about my customers memories when they experience our candles really makes my day.  I love hearing feedback from my customers and as we grow I hope to share more of our story and journey with others and inspire more people to experience nature as well.