Laguna Candles began in 2003 when founder Sharie Hendricks wanted a cleaner-burning candle for her home. She developed a line of eco-friendly soy candles that capture the scents of their seaside home. Sharie, who is also a realtor, shifted her focus to Laguna Candles in 2008 after the Real Estate market crash.
In 2008, Sharie focused on obtaining wholesale accounts rather than consumer sales, marketing Laguna Candles to luxury hotels and day spas in Laguna Beach with the help of her husband, Clarence. As product reputation grew, Sharie saw potential in exporting, but was not sure where to start. In 2012, she visited the Center for International Trade Development (CITD) hosted by Long Beach City College.
CITD Manager Cesar Arellanes, along with Business Advisors Patty Schmucker and Lynn Stewart, helped Sharie redefine her pricing strategy to increase her profit margins and better target the appropriate markets domestically and abroad. In the CITD’s Beauty Industry Market Access (BIMA) program, an intensive, five-session international trade and business education program taught by health and beauty industry experts, Sharie developed an international expansion plan, which covered marketing to international distributors, creating sound international contracts, shipping, payments and more.
“Having the chance to meet other companies and distributors who were interested in [our products] opened up our eyes to our international potential…the CITD allows businesses an opportunity to grow.”-Sharie Hendricks, Founder, Laguna Candles