Podcast Interview with Kazzi King of Velvet Whiskey Candle Company

About Kazzi:

Hey there! My name is Kazzi King and I’m the creator of Velvet Whiskey Candle Co. I’m all about tattoos, mixing bourbon in my coffee, and sleeping in with my boyfriend, Mike, and my cat, Kote. Velvet Whiskey Candle Co. is a small, handmade business in my hometown in Southeastern Kentucky. Each scent is hand picked and each candle hand poured, labeled and packed custom for each customer. Small business and supporting local artists/farmers/musicians/fellow humans is my passion and where I like to focus my energy. I’m also a graphic designer, photographer, crafter and an average workaholic trying to make my corner of the world a little nicer.

Where to Find Kazzi:

Velvet Whiskey Candle Company

Links We Talked About:

Velvet Whiskey Candle Company

Velvet Whiskey Candle Company Instagram

Velvet Whiskey Candle Company Facebook

Podcasts:

Biz Bash

Bellas

Tattoo Shop:

Black Rose Tattoo: artist Rachael Head

Fun Quotes from Podcast:

If it’s creative, I’m probably doing it or have done it. And it’s worn me out but it’s fun. I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I would say research is really important and researching everything, not just what you want to do.

You don’t have to agree with everyone’s opinion on everything. You don’t have to have the same beliefs, but you don’t have to tear somebody down because they believe differently.

Transcript of Podcast:

The Sandi Savage Show
Kazzi King

Sandi: Well hey everybody. Sandi Savage here. I hope you’re having a fantastic day today. I have with me just an awesome, awesome lady, Kazzi King. And she is going to be telling us a little bit about herself and about some of the things she’s doing. Kazzi, tell us about yourself and where you’re located and what you’re doing.

Kazzi: I’m from Kentucky but I’m located down in London so just an hour south of here. I make candles. I work at a goat soap shop and I do graphic design and photography and everything else under the sun.

Sandi: Oh my Gosh! It does, it sounds like you do a ton.

Kazzi: If it’s creative, I’m probably doing it or have done it. And it’s worn me out but it’s fun. I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Sandi: What got you- I mean, because that is a lot. What really got you started having a creative field? Were you always creative as a kid? Or did you just go when you became an adult, “Hey, I’m going to create stuff”?

Kazzi: No. I loved to draw when I was little. My mom still has all of the little- you know, you draw the picture in school then they would send it off and make a magnet out of it. All of the magnets are still on our fridge. All the horses were drawn. I love to draw horses. I am a farm girl. My dad was a photographer and so that just always very much instilled in me, “Oh yeah, I love to take pictures. I love to do the composition.” My family, we have a kettle corn business. When I was in seventh grade, I wanted a camera to start taking pictures and my dad was like, “Well, if you work for it, we’ll make it happen.” I worked two festivals in a row, the whole weekend, twelve-hour days and I earned enough money. He took me to Walmart and let me buy my first camera. It was a pink Canon power stop. I don’t even like pink so I’m not really sure… That just sparked it and I took photos from there. Then I went to college. I went to Clovis College of Art and Design. I have a BFA in Photography and minored in Graphic Design and then worked corporate up there. I worked for DSW, did all my photos up there and then was like, “Well, I miss Kentucky. I miss my family.” I came back and then just did freelance ever since.

Sandi: What is the thing that you are super focused on right now?

Kazzi: My main focus is the candles.

Sandi: Tell us about your company.

Kazzi: It’s Velvet Whiskey Candle Company.

Sandi: Check that out. This is the actual… If you can’t see this, I’m so sorry. We have a beautiful one of her candles here that is salted caramel. Yum.

Kazzi: It’s one of my faves. The candles are kind of my main thing right now. I hand pour all of them. I do all of the website management, the social media, all of the everything because if you can do it, why would you pay someone else to do it? I do all of that and then I manage Rock Bottom Soap Company for my best friend. I do all of her same stuff. All of her social media, her labeling, all of her marketing, I make lotion at the shop until midnight every night and then go home and make candles until five in the morning. And then go to bed and start at ten o’clock the next day. It’s a lot but I’m trying to get back into the graphic design a little bit more just because it’s easy and it’s different and it’s something that I like to do. For a while, I was like, “Oh my God, I’m on the computer all day every day. I need to do something with my hands.” And now I’m doing everything with my hands. My feet hurt, I want to sit, so let me just ease into the graphic design a little bit more.

Sandi: What is something that you wish you had known when you started out on that journey? Because your journey is mixed with a lot of things. You’ve got the candle company which is how we met. We carry her candles in our retail shop The Kentucky Maker Company. So, what’s something you wished you had known when you started all this out?

Kazzi: I wish I had went in with a little more direction. Not necessarily direction, more decisiveness in what I wanted to do. I started out I loved photography. It was my thing, it was what everybody knew me for, I literally have photography tattoos. It was my first tattoo that I ever got.

Sandi: Where did you get your first tattoos?

Kazzi: They were at Envy Skin Gallery in Columbus, Ohio. I got two tattoos there. It’s not the main place that I get tattoos from.

Sandi: I love the tattoo of your cat right there.

Kazzi: That is Rachael Head. She is right down the street at Black Rose Tattoo and she is the best. She is my favorite. I go in a month to get another one. Photography, it was always my thing and then I got really burned out on it. Everybody that I knew was a photographer either at school or I would go home to my hometown of London which pretty extra-small. It’s really not big enough for the 400 photographers that live there. Really, only so many people can take photos. I graduated early from college, so I was like, “I don’t really have time to double major so I’ll just minor in Graphic Design.” I always like graphic designing anyway but I wish had done more that way and kind of had more of a basis in the graphic design but then, when I got done I was just like, “Oh well I like to crochet and oh I like to paint wooden signs and oh I like to do this.”
Now I just have all of this stuff that I no longer have time for. I have a room full of yarn and a room full of paint and stuff that I still love to do but it’s not really where my passion lies anymore. If I had gone in with more decisiveness and actual intent, I would have been like, “Oh I don’t need to focus on that, I need to focus on this because this is where I’m passionate and I can still make money at it” because money is a big thing when you’re a freelancer. Just because you love it doesn’t mean it makes money necessarily. If you can find it where it does both, that’s the best part. If I had focused more on that than all of the extra stuff maybe I would’ve been sitting a little bit prettier. Not that I’m not sitting pretty because I am extra busy, and I don’t have time for anything else. I have so much stuff.

Sandi: Do you think that was one of your biggest obstacles when you started out is just the direction, seeing your direction and where you want to go?

Kazzi: Yeah because I was really young too. I graduated college at 19 so I was very like, “Oh I want to do this and that” and everything and had big dreams and it was more like… I guess my biggest obstacle was me holding myself back but also thinking I would do a lot bigger things. I was both afraid to do the big things, but I thought that I would do the big things. Now, I’m so much happier making candles than I was doing photography and it’s so much different and it’s not something all of my friends are doing. It’s a great to have a community of people that are in your same field that you’re like, “Oh hey we can bounce ideas off each other, we can learn from each other” but it’s also kind of cool to be like, “Hey I’m the only one that’s doing this.”

Sandi: How did you start that? I mean, so you’ve got your candle company now that you’ve been really focused on, how did that even start? Where did you go, “I’m going to split from photography to now I’m pouring candles”?

Kazzi: When I came back, I started doing graphic design for Rock Bottom Soap and then just gradually ended up working there. We weren’t really friends-friends when I started doing her graphic design. We became friends and then I started working there. We started getting so busy that we were working there until midnight every night. It started out as like a couple of months and it’s been three years. It’s non-stop. She carries a lot of Kentucky Proud products and Kentucky-made products, so she has a lot of pottery and ceramics and foods that are made in Kentucky.
We could never find a candle person that made candles that sold. We had all these candles that we were trying from different places and they were weird scents that maybe nobody liked, or they weren’t strong, or they just didn’t have a good presentation. They were locally made… They looked hand-made kind of thing. She was like, “Hey, will you start making candles?” I’m like, “Well, sure. Not that I’m not doing anything else but yeah, I’ll start making candles.” She actually gave me my first pouring pitchers and my first wax and everything. She had bought them with the intent of doing it herself and then was like, “Here, you just do it.” That’s really how I got started with that and so then there was a lot of testing and researching on what jars are pretty but different and what we want branding to look like. It’s been an uphill battle.

Sandi: I bet it’s got to be fun to figure out the scents though.

Kazzi: It’s so hard. It is literally the hardest thing. The big thing is not having too many scents because people get overwhelmed. It’s hard to keep inventory of so many scents. I try to keep them at ten scents at a time. I have the first six scents that I started with.

Sandi: Do you know them off the top of your head?

Kazzi: I do. In order. Kentucky Bourbon. Well, it’s Bluegrass Bourbon. Blackberry Sage. Coastal Vibes was the third one. Blueberry Vanilla, Vanilla Latte, and Pomegranate Juice. All my candles are numbered anyways. I know them all by number and I know the order of the numbers that I have currently. I don’t have the Coastal Vibes right now and I don’t have the Pomegranate Juice. It’s ingrained in my brain and it will never ever go away. I had such success with those first six. Well really the first eight but those first ones, they sell so well so it’s hard for me to be like, “Oh I’m going to stop making this to make room for a new one” because this one is selling so good. I want to have new scents so it’s really difficult. I try to do three seasonal ones and then the seasonal ones are really good, and you don’t want to get rid of those. They keep adding up. I love them all. They are so good. I try to keep them different. I have some sweet ones and some fresh ones and some minty ones. I try to have a weird one every time.

Sandi: A nice one that kind of throws everybody off. They go, “What is that?”

Kazzi: The one I have now it’s called Bella Bliss and it’s so hard to describe. It’s like coconut milk and it’s got some floral notes in it and some sandalwood. It’s super strange but it’s so good. It’s so good.

Sandi: It’s like one of those addictive scents where you go, “Oh I want to keep smelling this.”

Kazzi: Yeah, because it’s not really one thing. The Salted Caramel everybody knows what salted caramel is before they smell it. You can smell it, it smells good, you know it smells good whenever. With the weird ones, it’s different because they have to smell it. They can’t just look at it and buy it. You know what a Blueberry Vanilla smells like.

Sandi: It smells so good, by the way. I’ve had that scent and I’m like, “Oh it smells so good.” I’ve got a question for you. With as much as you’re doing, your schedule is pretty full. What does self-care look like for you right now because I know when your schedule gets so full like that, you have to take care of yourself. What does that look like for you?

Kazzi: A lot of naps.

Sandi: A good old siesta.

Kazzi: I love to sleep. I don’t get a whole lot of it. When I get the chance, I definitely do. I don’t work on Fridays and my boyfriend doesn’t work on Fridays. Fridays are usually we are going to chill. We’re going to go to the coffee shop because I am a huge coffee shop person. I like to spend my time in the coffee shop. I like to drink coffee. I just like to go there. We just kind of relax and kind of talk a little bit. Lay in the bed a lot and watch tv. Go out for a drink, whatever. Fridays are my day off.

Sandi: What shows are you watching right now?

Kazzi: We’re watching Shameless. I know it’s not new but we’re watching it because I love it. We also obviously are watching Game of Thrones.

Sandi: One episode left.

Kazzi: One episode left. Mike will be in Belgium, so I won’t even get to watch it on the night of.

Sandi: Oh no! Stay off of social media.

Kazzi: No internet for me until Tuesday.

Sandi: Oh wow, he gets back Tuesday. Okay.

Kazzi: So no internet but that’s fine. I love him a lot, obviously. True love. What else are we watching? What is that one? There’s one that takes place in Harlan.

Sandi: Justified.

Kazzi: I’ve never watched it, but he’s watched it when it was on so he’s like, “Well, we’ve got to go back and watch it.” I’m watching it for the first time, but he’s re-watching it with me.

Sandi: Are there any podcasts or anything that you’re listening to or books that you’re reading?

Kazzi: I try to listen to podcasts while I’m making candles, but I find myself not paying attention, so I listen to the same one a lot until it finally sinks in. I do listen to the Biz Bash Podcast and the Bella’s Podcast which is a wrestling podcast. They’re not even wrestlers anymore. They’re very strong, independent, female entrepreneurs. They have four businesses. They do all this. They don’t always talk about business but it’s cool to watch strong women succeed and just continue to grow businesses. It’s cool.

Sandi: We’ll have all of the links for everything on the show notes page, so you’ll be able to go and find these podcasts, shows and whatever else we’ve talked about that we link. We’ll look it up to you. A link to some of those candles. Where can people find you? What’s your Instagram, website and all that?

Kazzi: My Instagram is @velvetwhiskeycandleco and the website is www.velvetwhiskeycandle.com You can find them in Kentucky Maker company. There’s a bunch of other stores in Kentucky that I have them in.
Sandi: Have you got a list on the website of different shops?
Kazzi: I do. It’s not complete because I really can’t keep with it. The Kentucky ones are pretty accurate. I’m shipping nationally so they kind of change daily. I’ve gotten all four corner of the United States this year.
Sandi: That’s so great. How long have doing it?
Kazzi: A year. What is today? The 16th. A year today.
Sandi: A year today? You’re kidding. What?
Kazzi: Today is one year.
Sandi: Well, congratulations. A year today.
Kazzi: Thanks. I didn’t even think about that.
Sandi: And you’re national, all over the place. That is crazy. That is awesome.
Kazzi: It’s been interesting.
Sandi: It’s been a journey.
Kazzi: Shipping is crazy.

Sandi: That is always a thing to figure out.
Kazzi: There is a huge process, but it’s been a lot of fun. I’m excited to see it grow some more.
Sandi: Congratulations. Do you have any advice for anybody starting out like if they’re wanting to start out on an entrepreneurial journey or you know, start their own company? Any advice for them?
Kazzi: I would say research is really important and researching everything, not just what you want to do. You should research what you want to name your company to make sure it’s not something else. You should research what your packaging is, and you should really figure out what your overhead is regardless of if you are doing a physical product or a service. You should still know because it’s really easy to lose track of how much you’re spending versus how much you’re making. It can get you upside down pretty fast. I think researching a lot and keeping notes I think is important too. That way you know later why you did what you did. I can never remember why I did what I did. I’m like, “Well, I know that was for a purpose, but I couldn’t tell you.” Which I’m better about sales.
Sandi: You’ve got to write it down.
Kazzi: Writing it down is really important.
Sandi: There’s a couple of questions that we ask everyone that comes on to the podcast. What do you believe that people in the world need right now?
Kazzi: I think the world needs a lot more empathy and a lot more understanding and a lot more of listening to your opinion and maybe not agreeing, but still listening. You don’t have to agree with everyone’s opinion on everything. You don’t have to have the same beliefs, but you don’t have to tear somebody down because they believe differently. I think that’s a huge problem that we have here specifically in the United States. Everyone’s very self-centered and self-absorbed and they’re not willing to listen to someone else’s opinion. They’re just like immediately, “Oh no you’re wrong because you don’t believe what I believe.” That’s what I’m going to go with.
Sandi: I believe it. We’ve got to listen more. We’ve got to listen more and just because you might not believe the same things that other people do, it doesn’t mean that you can’t find common ground somewhere, you know what I mean? I totally believe that. Last question. What is, even in your full schedule and everything, what is bringing you joy right now? Like, right now.
Kazzi: Right now, I would say that my boyfriend is bringing me joy. And my cat. I’m going to shameless plug my cat. His name is Kote.
Sandi: Hey Kote. I have three. I’ve got three cats. You’ve got to love them.
Kazzi: This is what he looks like. He’s a turd but I love him. There’s a lot of opportunity that’s kind of coming up for me and my boyfriend. It’s really scary and it’s really uncertain but it’s so exciting to start a chapter, a new chapter in life with him and see where we go from there. I’m excited.
Sandi: That’s so awesome. Thank you.
Kazzi: Thank you.

Sandi: Thank you so much for coming in and being on the podcast and hanging with me.
Kazzi: Absolutely.
Sandi: Y’all, anything we’ve talked about again, that will be in the show notes. You’ll find the whole podcast transcribed. Thank you so much, Kazzi. All right, y’all, we’ll talk to you soon.

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