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Meet John Kelley and Shen Zhu of Conifer Candle Company in Morrison

Today we’d like to introduce you to John Kelley, Shen Zhu.

John, Shen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
We both have full-time jobs and most of our day is spent apart so we created this company as a way to spend quality time together as a family doing something productive together and also as a way to start instilling life lessons for our son. In the beginning, we started making candles and giving them away as gifts. We really enjoyed the interaction of giving our candles as gifts, and it’s quite the compliment when you visit your friends’ house and they are burning the candle that we made for them.

Also, in the act of giving, there is a lesson for our son as well. Our son is the main reason for Conifer Candle Company. He is five years old, but he helps move boxes, places wicks in our containers prior, and is in charge of putting candle warning stickers on the bottom of the containers. We believe that this company will help him learn a lot of great lessons that will help him as he gets older. Whether it’s aiding in the production of our candles or interacting with customers at the local farmers market, we believe that this is a very productive and positive way to spend time together as a family.

Has it been a smooth road?
The biggest struggle we have is time management. We are a very active family and we want our business to complement our lives in a positive way and not to be viewed as another task to complete. We had a very successful 2019 selling our families candles as it was our first focused and organized year. Inventory management is another struggle as we just do not quite have the inventory for big events. As a result, we ended up having to increase our output and buy some extra machinery to shorten our production time. This additional cost in equipment allows for us to make more candles in a shorter amount of time so it was money well spent.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Our candles are hand-poured in small batches using all-natural soy wax, premium fragrance oils, and organic cotton wicks. There are no additives or dyes used in our products. Our simple artisan approach of producing high-quality candles and our overall scent portfolio is what sets us apart. Furthermore, we enjoy the process of making candles and interacting with our customers, giving us the opportunity to be part of the community. We are proud of the time spent together as a family, and the lessons for our son and us learned along the way.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Denver metro area is a great place to start a business. The support we have received has been tremendous and is keeping us engaged and motivated. Denver and the surrounding areas have been a very nice place to live and I think it shows in the vibe of the people. Although this city and surrounding area is highly populated, the citizens love to support small businesses.

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