Meet the Queen Bee, Kate Hesson.
Kate started her own business, Hesson Haus, and opened up a division of that business, Zombee Candle. Zombee Candles are hand-poured, 100% soy and beeswax, and home-made in Louisiana. With clever candle names like Creole Zombie Marmalade, Bitches Brew, & Zydecocoa, how could you NOT love this creative genius. Enough of me trying to explain- let's chat with her!
What inspired you to start this company?
I've always wanted to own a spooky rare books and gifts shop. I think that I just wanted to start my own company now, so that I can start saving money for opening that store. Hesson Haus is a great hub for me to nurture all things creative. I love to plan parties and weddings, so I'm starting a portfolio for that and hopefully I'll be able to work that into my overall business one day as well, just like Zombee Candle.
How did you come up with the name for your candles?
A dream. Not kidding. When I was thinking of a way to make a little money at home, I literally had a dream that I made zombie candles! It definitely wasn't out of the blue, however. My husband and I are pretty obsessed with zombies. We watch and critique all things zombie and have a detailed plan for the zombie apocalypse. [for the record, we consider Zombieland an sacreligious abomination. Zombies don't run!] I decided to change the name to Zombee Candle because of my love for the legend of the honeybee, especially in Ancient Egypt and my obsession with Tony Todd in Candyman. :D [There is a more in depth explanation on the Zombee Folklore page of ZombeeCandle.com]
What is this obsession with all things Halloween about!? :)
Well, this one is tricky. I always try and tell this story without sounding completely crazy. I grew up [in Nashville, TN] with a cemetery in my back yard. Apparently it was some sort of historical landmark, so the developers couldn't bulldoze it when it came time to build a neighborhood there. So, it cut into a big part of our back yard. It was grown over and just looking at it from the outside, no one could really tell thats what is was, but I went exploring when I was pretty young and basically made it my fort, with no real fear about what I was playing around in. I tended to the graves, did my homework back there, played Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with my brother. My favorite time of year is Autumn. I don't think I would have that same love affair with pumpkins, leaves, etc. had I grown up in this demon heat we have here in Louisiana, but I grew up in Tennessee where there are 4 beautiful seasons, the best of which is of course, Fall. Halloween is just something I've always felt connected and I think all of that has a lot to do with it. As an adult, I became a bit obsessed with the iconography of Halloween and it's been a snowball type situation ever since.
What's your favorite part of the process?
I honestly like every part of it. [Getting started with all the legal paperwork was a fairly arduous journey, but worth it in the long run.] Running a business from start to finish isn't for everyone ... it takes hard work, but if it is something you enjoy, it's easy. I think the most fun I have is a naming the scents. I always try and add a bit of Louisiana/French culture to each candle with the name. Designing the label and coming up with the overall brand of Zombee Candle was the most fun, but as far as the everyday process goes, I also really love mailing them off. I like to add a little note with each order so that people get that personal touch. I'm a big shopper of homemade goods and that is my favorite part of contributing to small businesses, the little touches.
Do you have a favorite scent?
Oh, lord. ZC's signature scent is Queen Bee ... it's a double vanilla scent in black. I obviously love that one. I really love Fleur de Lime, a violet and lime scent in blue and Bitches Brew, a mulled cider scent in deep purple. I have a feeling that will all change when I am finished with the new line of Zombees for the Fall. I'm going to have about 10 limited edition scents that are centered around ... well, Halloween!
What is the most rewarding aspect of having your own business? & what are the challenges?
The most rewarding part for me is being able to look to the future of what I'll be able to do with this business as it grows, hopefully being able to have my little shop! Also, being able to work at home. It's great to wake up, chug coffee and do business for hours before getting dressed. Ha! The most challenging part is wanting it all to happen right now. It's hard to hold back creatively because of money concerns, but self control and patience are a big part of making sure you don't get in over your head. I have a giant book of ideas that I work on when I have an idea that I'll want to work on once I'm able to do it comfortably. I don't plan on taking out huge business loans and struggling to make it. This is not something that I want to rely on for my livelihood. If it happens to help us out in the future, that's great, but I want that to happen naturally rather than jumping head first into something that could backfire or make me resent or regret my decisions.
I understand this project is just the beginning of your eventual world domination :) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I'm glad you're so prepared for said domination. :) I definitely see us with a gaggle of kids ... enough to help me run a haunted Victorian bed & breakfast out in the middle of nowhere or something. I'm only slightly kidding. I am really in love with my day job at the library so I think whether I get my little book shop or end up staying at the library, I'll be happy. The best thing ever would be if Brandon and I could move to a village in England and live like the Vicar of Dibley, but being realistic about life is key. I have the greatest husband, he is such a great partner and someone who is really supportive of my endeavors. He is really creative and constantly shows me how to be a better person. He also understands that I need several creative outlets or I go insane [I start a new hobby, project and move the furniture around once every month or so ... it takes a brave man to be married to me!] I would basically just like to be happy in 10 years and Brandon and I are pretty good at that, candles or not.
Kate, you are awesome! Thank you so much for taking time out of your crazy busy schedule to answer these questions. I can't wait to smell all of your upcoming fall scents.
"Bee to blossom, zombie to brains;
Each to her passion; what's in a name?"
- H.H. Jackson & K.R.Hesson