Lilly Crick: Lighting Up the Homemade Candle Market with HitsLike…

Homemade candle making is thriving with its magical ability to harness serenity in a jar. That’s why Lilly Crick’s brand Hits Like… has struck a chord with consumers seeking solace in these uncertain times.

In this exclusive interview, we discuss her role as brand manager at Red Bull, what sparked her journey as a homemade candle artisan, and how she plans to take her brand to the next level. And, perhaps most importantly, she talks about how genuine human connection might be the  strongest currency in today’s world of business.

There’s lots of lessons in here for every creator. So let’s get to it.  

Igniting the Homemade Candle Scene with HitsLike…

The following interview was edited for length and clarity. Look for the pod in January!

Chris: Really happy to have you here, Lilly. At Red Bull, you said one of your job responsibilities was to ‘create memorable experiences’. What does that mean, exactly?

Lilly Crick

Lilly: It’s all about building one on one connections, face to face with the consumer and your audience. It’s basically experiential marketing. It’s event marketing. What Red Bull taught me, and this is the best advice I could give for any marketer, is that you have to create something special. If you can swap your logo with another logo, and nothing about the experience changes, you’re not doing it right. You need to deliver a curated experience unique to who you are. 

That’s when I discovered I just love creating experiences for people. If a brand is making swag, it has to be really cool swag. It needs to be memorable. And so that’s what I was in charge of, I was in charge of just meeting people, getting our brand in front of people, making them remember who we are. 

Then they leave thinking, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’

Chris: With the work from home movement, we’re definitely losing some of that human touch and culture that makes a brand pop. I think the best form of social media is still a handshake, right? Or a smile. We can’t afford to be generic or behind screens all the time. 

Lilly: Yeah, it’s about creating connection. I mean, look at Red Bull. Their marketing is extraordinary. We kept saying ‘it needs to be cool’.  And so our entire thing was focused on asking who could hold the can and make it look cool? That struck a chord with people. 

It was athletes. It was entertainers. We made it really aspirational. 

Chris: So tell me the genesis story behind your candle company, Hits Like…

Lilly: So my girl friends and I were planning a trip to spa country, wine country. I wanted them to get excited and I wanted to be kind of silly. And like giveaways are in my blood.  I love making swag. I make swag for our neighborhood. I make swag for the school. I love doing that stuff.

So I thought, I’m going to make candles. So I made this candle, and I had never made a candle before in my entire life. I made it and called it ‘Slaycation’. It’s not a vacation. It’s a slaycation. So I made this candle and then I put a description on it, like what does ‘slaycation’ mean? It means drinking wine and jumping into the spa and getting your nails done and just being stupid, middle aged moms going to wine country.

And so I wrote this description on it and everyone just loved it. I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s kind of fun. I’ll put that in my back pocket if I ever need to do that again.’ 

And then we went on the slaycation. It was great. The candle smelled like the spa. Everyone was excited.

Chris: Again, creating a memorable experience.

Lilly: That’s what I love. 

But then my friend’s dog died, and I didn’t want to send cards or flowers. Not my vibe. In fact, I think it’s more depressing to get a card and flowers.

So I made her a candle and it was called ‘Hits Like Love’. It smelled like a bouquet of flowers. So for fun my husband said ‘how about Hitslike… for a name’, and we looked it up and it was available. And that was that. 

We had to start making this into a thing now. 

Chris: So you designed the label and slapped it on the candle and sent it to your friend. What was her response?

Lilly: She loved it. And it was a great label, everything looked pro. And this is a big tip for every creator selling products: get an industrial strength quality printer. It needs to be an incredible printer. So I designed the label. I designed the logo. I made it beautiful. 

Chris: What kind of printer are we talking about?

Lilly: I have an Epson 8000 series that prints large stuff, like big pictures, posters, all of that. If you’re starting a business and sending people products, you need to invest in this. Like within 10 minutes, it could go from being an idea to something I sell because I have this great printer.

Chris: Sending someone a physical piece of media, or even a handwritten letter or nice business card, can really be a game changer because it stands out.  

So now you’re doing this full time?

Lilly: Well in October, I was laid off from GoDaddy.  And so I was like, okay, I’m gonna make candles now. I got a nice severance package and I’m just gonna start doing things that I want to do. I got really into studying different scents and sourcing them. Finding scents has turned into one of my passions. 

And I found this place that has re-created every single iconic scent from the biggest most expensive luxury candle companies in the world. And I started making candles. 

Chris: How’s it going?

Lilly: Well, we started in November. But I immediately got 20 orders. So that was exciting. Zillow put in an order, JP Morgan put in an order. A couple of ad agencies have put in an order. So I’m going to be making 750 candles this month. 

Who knows, this might even be a real business.

Read ‘How to Schedule Your Content Calendar’ here

Chris: What e-commerce platform are you using?

Lilly: Oh my gosh, GoDaddy’s going to be so mad at me. I’m using Squarespace because it’s easy. I’m not very technical, I’m not like a developer. My husband and I are true Squarespace fans.

Chris:  And how did the first 20 people find out about you?

Lilly: Friends of friends. Lots of referrals.The easiest gift during the holidays is always a candle. And we have so many choices, like our Taylor Swift theme line that people find fun.

Chris: Tell us about the set-up. Do you have a garage in the back where you’re making candles?

Lilly: Right now, there’s a kitchen filled with candles, and there’s a garage filled with supplies. I make stuff all day long.

Chris: One of the biggest things creators suffer from is burn-out. So how do you go about keeping your sanity? 

Lilly: I’ve always thought my job is a vacation. At Red Bull, I was in charge of going to concerts and hanging out with musicians and getting them to drink Red Bull. Like, that’s a vacation. I did that for 10 years. Then I worked at Media Temple, and it was my job to connect Media Temple with photographers and designers and developers. The best people. And so that was a vacation too.

So I don’t consider making candles a job either. I sit around and design stuff and think of funny shit to put on a candle. That’s not a job. That’s fun. 

Chris: So you saw something that you’re passionate about that had some business potential. And then you added your own super smart twist to it. And now it’s launched. 

Your house must smell amazing. 

Lilly: It smells incredible right now. It smells like the ‘Joy’ candle that I’m making, which is like redwood and pine. 

Chris: What closing words would you give to people who are thinking about starting their own side hustle and taking the first step as a creator?

Lilly: There’s that famous quote: Perfect is the enemy of good. So make decisions quickly. You can’t dwell on stuff that doesn’t matter. If it’s 80 percent good enough, ship it.

I get an idea, I go to my computer, I design it, I print it out, I make a candle, I take a picture of it. I put it on the website and then I tweet about it or I post an Instagram about it. It happens fast. 

Good ideas are easy to come by. But you have to execute. 

Chris: Yeah, my favorite marketer is Seth Godin, and he says ‘Always be shipping’. 

Lilly: Exactly. My biggest advice is to make decisions quickly. Don’t have months of meetings, or design by committee. Because that never works. 

Just launch it. What’s the worst that can happen?

 


PROMO – Your Scent, Your Story!

Enter now for a chance to win the opportunity to create ‘Your Own Candle Vibe’ by Hits Like… with any scent you can dream up.  And – receive any other 3 complimentary candles of your choice.

All you gotta do is subscribe to our weekly newsletter for a chance to work with Lilly – and she’ll set you up. We’ll select one winner who will have the amazing opportunity to collaborate with her. Enter now!

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