Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Wick’ed Candles Update – What Happened After The Profit

Wick’ed before The Profit

Started by Samantha Schacher (who some viewers may recognize from Dr. Drew or The Young Turks) and her husband Mark, Wick’ed Candle Company started as a result of the couple not finding the proper candles for their wedding. Working in an already saturated market, the pair have found quite a bit of trouble on this business venture, not turning a profit despite having several distribution deals. With a shrinking amount of capital support, the pair call in Marcus Lemonis to see what can be done.

Wick’ed on The Profit

Marcus meets up with the pair at the Wick’ed manufacturing warehouse which is basically a “10 by 10 foot box” which he had a great deal of trouble finding, let alone expecting it to handle their contract with Urban Outfitters. The pair then take Marcus to the back to show them their prized products, pre-dipped candles (which look extensively used despite being new and having long lasting wicks). Marcus is more than a little apprehensive about the limited market, and doesn’t seem surprised that the pair have had trouble getting orders. He compliments the packaging and subsequent artwork, but is turned off by the price, which should be under $30, but is over $40. He then presses the pair on bills and profit, and notes the team have near zero funds but at the very least are committed to the cause.

Employees are then interviewed a bit, which turn out to be friends of the owners. Organization comes up and turns out to be an issue, especially with Mark seeming to be quite controlling. Marcus notes that outsourcing a few pieces of the business may be a better option, especially in the manufacturing side, which Mark is shown to have little rationale for his process. He also gets defensive about his fragrance levels, where Sam agrees with Marcus as do his other employees. He then asks Mark what’s at stake for him, and Mark tells Marcus that his family’s pride as well as $20,000 from his father are up for grabs. Another issue is that Mark secretly charges company expenses on his personal credit card, totaling $16,000. This revelation causes a problem with Sam, who gets very worried about their future life.

Next discussed are the all important financials. Quite a bit of debt is racked up at $29,500 versus the $600 liquid assets available. Marcus states that it’s more or less a startup which the owners get defensive about. Marcus offers $200,000 for 1/3rd of the business, where the money will add more inventory, give more design flexibility and pay back debts. Marcus would then also be 100% in charge. The two happily accept the deal, and Marcus immediately looks into streamlining and manufacturing. Sam will get control over the scent process and Mark will handle primarily design.

Wickedduring The next day, Marcus visits Candle Delirium, which could be the biggest candle store in America, and whose owner is friends with both Sam and Mark. The Wick’ed candles are sold there, but not nearly as high a number as other brands primarily due to the esoteric and niche nature of the candles. Mark gets defensive about the story background and design, despite the owner of Candle Delirium saying none of that matters. It becomes clear Mark has some issues in accepting criticism, and Marcus realizes he will need to work on Mark to more or less fix his business sense. Marcus challenges him to make a $27 candle where 50% margins can be made.

Later, the team visits Modern Candle, aiming for a manufacturing partner. Mark immediately complains that he’s worked with them in the past, and Marcus teaches him that those vendors who they may one day deal with may not be perfect, but can be sufficient. Modern Candle can handle just about every aspect of the creation process. The owner of the company is in fact an ex employee of Marks, which causes yet another stumble, a particularly hard one since he cites they have “issues” right in front of said person. Old issues were brought up and Marcus cuts them off at the pass, and tells him to let the past be the past. Marcus then takes Mark to the side and tells him to chill out. Marcus then notes that Modern can be leveraged to lower costs, as they can get glass and scents at way lower prices. A contract is then made between the two companies.

After a few weeks, Marcus drops by to take a look at some new designs aimed for mass appeal. Looking at the storyboard designs, Marcus notes that all the designs are incredibly busy. Mark gets defensive yet again, and says he wants to stand by the design despite it having limited audience appeal. Marcus then states a de-saturated design may be best, and Mark again tries to keep fighting the idea of change in designs. Marcus is impressed with Sam, who did a focus group and was open to scent suggestion. Marcus finally suggests a name change to Mark’s last name, which the owners agree on.

Marcus then takes the owners to Chicago to learn about kitting – allowing the company to sell more than candles with the same aesthetic and fragrance design. Lotions and diffusers are discussed, and another working partnership with Market Ready is proposed, who can leverage size to expand the company’s revenue. This company will also be able to do primary distribution, which will take some heat off the headquarters in Los Angeles.

Several days later, Marcus calls the Modern Candle owner to check up, only to learn Mark never even set up a work order with the company. This irritates Marcus, who confronts Mark. This was basically ignoring what was part of a contractual agreement, and puts strain on the partnership, deeply disappointing Marcus. Marcus calls out Mark’s control and trust issues, asking him what happened. He doesn’t want to talk about it, but Marcus needs the information to move forward. It appears to have stemmed from previous family issues and verbal abuse after his parents divorced. Marcus can level with him on this, and helps him work backwards to undo some of the damage. This helps Mark call Modern Candles to make the needed orders.

Back at Modern Candles, the team discuss logistics, and Marcus teaches the other owners about value and perception. They all then travel to New York to discuss potential partnerships with a distributor where Mark is able to pitch his design, influenced by Marcus’ suggestions. The kitting is also discussed, and the distributor seems pretty pleased with the overall design. This can be a brand, and one that the distributor can work with to get into retailers without an issue. Mark was able to stay focused, which makes Marcus quite proud, especially with Sam’s help too. It would seem by the end of the episode, it’s far more than Wick’ed that has improved.

Wick’ed Now in 2018 – The After ‘The Profit’ Update

Wickednow After The Profit, Wick’ed changed their name to Biren & Co. Los Angeles. The company currently has a decent selection of candles to choose from, including those inspired by famous authors like Oscar Wilde and Virginia Woolf. While this new look and name may have raised the elegance of the company to 11, it would appear that their social media presence is rather limited, with typically less than 4 likes per post despite having over 2,500 followers. When balanced with the uptick in sales the company has seen since the name change, one has to wonder about the future of Wick’ed past 2017.

Cody Carmichael
Cody Carmichael
University graduate in Psychology, and health worker. On my off time I'm usually tinkering with tech or traveling to the ends of the globe.
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