#WorkingWomenWednesday: Judith Keriopoulos
For our second Working Women Wednesday, we’re featuring Judith Keriopoulos of Urban Wanderlust Candles. We admire her for so many reasons. For one, she made a part-time hobby turn into a full-time job during COVID. Read to learn more about her and how she’s building her small business and be sure to support her at UrbanWanderlustCandles.com
What do you currently do?
I’m currently working full-time for myself at Urban Wanderlust Candles due to COVID, but previously I was a Sr Executive Assistant with a fashion brand.
What excites you most about what you do?
Being able to make something with my own two hands and then seeing a client's reaction to that is exciting. Every time I get an order notification, I do this little excited dance (still after 3 yrs). I hope that feeling never goes away.
What struggles have you battled to get to where you are today?
There’s a huge learning curve new candle makers have to overcome. I learned everything the hard way with no help. I relied on FB candle forums, Google/Youtube and I tested & retested everything until I got it right. No one’s going to give you the answers to everything just because you ask. We put in the time/effort to get where we are and people expect you to do the same.
How have you been working during COVID?
In the beginning it was really tough with suppliers heavily impacted by shipping delays and most of my products on back-order. I had to get creative with some of the gift options I offered online. I’m also thoroughly cleaning my workstation, vessels & supplies after each session.
What challenges do you hope to change in the industry you’re currently in?
The conception that candles are “cheap to make” so they should be cheap to buy. The typical candles you buy in stores are mass-produced with paraffin wax which releases toxins into the air. When I craft a candle, every aspect of it is handmade using pure soy wax made from harvested soybeans. Basically you get what you paid for.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully Urban Wanderlust will be at a place financially where I can support my family/myself and can afford to quit my day job. I’d love to have my own established candle studio, with an amazing team working by my side. That would be cool!
What does success mean to you?
For me success is achieving the goal I set for myself when I started this company. I wanted to create a high quality, handcrafted product that consumers were proud to support and share with their friends/family. I want Urban Wanderlust to be a household name.
What makes you feel confident?
Seeing happy faces or reading positive reviews from clients makes me feel good about what I'm doing and that I can keep doing this for the long run. It’s not always a smooth process, but as long as you’re willing to learn from it and grow, it proves to me that I’m able to evolve and that’s a great feeling.
Who/what inspires you?
Some of the smaller handmade candle makers that have made a name for themselves inspire me all the time like HomeBody Candle Co., Buffalo Wax, PF Candle Co, just to name a few.
What do you hope to accomplish with your platform?
I hope to inspire younger girls within the Latinx community to show them that with hard work/determination, you can be the CEO of a company and be a woman of power.