2020 was the year of, among other things, the pivot – with new businesses being born left, right and centre as people had to find alternative ways to make a living. (In fact, it’s exactly for this reason that we’ve created our new business shower templates – because we think setting up a new business is a milestone worth celebrating!) One such brilliant pivot was from wedding and events designer Callie Pettigrew, who founded playful candle brand Studio Dine at the back end of last year. In between drooling over her block colour candles, we asked her what it was like setting up shop in 2020, and what new business life looks for her currently…
Who are you and what do you do?
Hello! I’m Callie – A creative event stylist & designer for modern, style-conscious brands & individuals. I also founded Studio dine at the end of 2020 – Currently a playful candle brand, but soon to be a one-stop shop for modern dining.
Tell us about the start of your business journey.
Last year during Lockdown when my event styling work came to a standstill due to Covid, I decided to start Studio dine. Always on the hunt for exciting tableware and props, I thought, why not make my own, starting with a range of playful dinner candles perfect for adding some personality to interiors, or making those tablescapes extra special. I’d always wanted to do it, and Lockdown 2.0 was the perfect time! It gave me the space to experiment in a non-pressured way and just see where it took me.
What do you wish you’d known when you started out?
That running a product based business is TOTALLY different to the service based biz I’m used to. There are so many more risks and upfront costs involved in order to get started that I hadn’t fully considered – Materials, packaging, TIME. It’s all consuming and a lot of work.
What’s the one (physical) thing you wish you’d had when you started out?
A label printer – Still don’t have one but OH the time it would save.
What’s the one thing you wished you’d asked for help with?
It’s still very early days for me. From the get-go people loved what I was creating, so it really took off quite quickly, but actually it’s only now I’m really starting to think about outsourcing and how others can help me to grow the business. I’m lucky that I have an amazing community of business pals around me that are always up for giving me opinions or answering questions. It’s so important to have those people around you who just get it. Now that I’ve built the foundations myself, I’m all for asking for help from experts – I have big plans so stay tuned!
Who are the people that helped you the most in the early days?
Like I said, surrounding myself with pals who were really supportive, were there to answer my questions, listen to my ideas, and cheer me on was and always is totally invaluable when you run your own business. It’s so easy to get in your own head when you work alone 95% of the time so it’s important to check in with other humans every once in a while! Also shoutout to my fiancé Sam! Whether it was packing orders or washing up candle moulds (THE WORST PART) he’s always there to help. I still make the candles from our kitchen so his patience with me is greatly appreciated too!
Why is it important we celebrate ourselves?
BECAUSE WE’RE AMAZING. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day (I know I do it!) but we totally deserve to take a step back and recognise all the incredible things we’re doing. Running a business is NOT easy so I find taking a moment every so often to look at what I’m doing and celebrate the wins (however small) is a great way to build up confidence!
What’s your next business milestone coming up, and how will you be celebrating?
6 months I guess? When you’re so busy working in your business it’s easy to forget to celebrate these little milestones, but no milestone is too small. I’ll definitely be having a drink to celebrate and look back on what I’ve achieved so far!