From necessity to success: the inspiring journey of Chemin’s Founder, November Nichols

Imagine stumbling upon your life’s calling by accident and discovering a hidden talent that transforms into a thriving business. This journey of unexpected entrepreneurship is precisely what November Nichols, CEO of Chemin, experienced. In today’s episode of The Roadmap, host Ted Jenkin sits down with Nichols to discover her captivating story of creating a fragrance empire from a simple desire to replace a discontinued candle. 

Key Takeaways 

1. November Nichols started her company, Chemin, unintentionally. She created a candle to replace a discontinued one she used for meditation. This necessity led her to experiment with candle making and fragrance formulation despite her lack of a background in chemistry. Her journey highlights the idea that businesses can originate from personal needs and unexpected opportunities.

2. Nichols has fragrance sensitivities, making it difficult for her to find suitable candles and fragrances. This challenge drove her to develop products free from irritating ingredients. Her story emphasizes the importance of creating solutions for personal problems that can resonate with and benefit a wider audience.

3. Chemin’s growth was organic and customer-driven. Initially, Nichols made candles for personal use and gave them as gifts. Positive feedback and demand from friends and acquaintances gradually turned her hobby into a business. Her participation in events like the Pinterest conference further catalyzed this transformation, showcasing how community engagement and word-of-mouth can be powerful growth drivers.

4. A pivotal moment for Nichols was realizing the potential of customized fragrances. After a customer insisted on having a bespoke fragrance, Nichols saw the demand for personalized products. This insight led to developing a custom fragrance service, solving a common problem for customers who lose access to their favorite scents due to discontinuation or ingredient sensitivities.

5. Nevertheless, Nichols’ partnership with JCPenney marked a significant step in scaling her business. The collaboration was facilitated by networking and mutual support within a women’s group, leading to an unexpected meeting with JCPenney’s buying team. This partnership required Chemin to scale up production while maintaining product integrity. Nichols’ experience underscores the importance of strategic partnerships and readiness to seize opportunities that arise from helping others and networking.

"I started this company because I had a need, and my need was to create a candle that was somewhat like the candle that I had been using for my meditation. I had never intended to create the company that we see today." – November Nichols

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