Today we are presenting Talina Müller and The Candleporn. Talina is a student at EBS, a university in Oestrich-Winkel, and founded a startup alongside her studies. The Candleporn, sells candles made from beeswax and soy wax and is on a mission to change our world sustainably so that we don’t have to compromise between design and the environment – for us and for the next generations. Along with twenty-four other founders, Talina is also a part of the second Frankfurt Founder Institute cohort, which started digitally in August 2020. With the deep-dive interview series you get to know the founders, the projects, and their challenges.
Talina, Briefly introduce yourself and the startup The Candleporn to our readers?
My name is Talina, and I founded The Candleporn. Most of the candles today consist of paraffin and contain, for example, synthetic dyes, parabens, and sulfates.
The Candleporn produces sustainable alternatives for those customers who are (not yet) aware of toxic candles. We leave these harmful ingredients completely out and offer candles made from soy- and beeswax. In particular, beeswax is said to set free negative ions once it burns. These negative ions bind dirt, viruses, or bacteria on them. We are incredibly proud to say that our candles are produced in Germany. You might wonder how we came up with the name: Our name is rooted in the Instagram area where users tag their lovely food under #foodporn – we modified it and created The Candleporn.
After some experiences at EY or PwC, why starting your own business?
All of us have one limited resource in common: time. Individuals have to make the best of their time, and for me, this can be connected to at least one keyword: impact. At consulting firms, individuals get to know analytical frameworks that they then can apply. Consequently, consultants often work with firms that thrive for change and require guidance on their path. Hence, it denotes a very inspiring environment where hands-on approaches are an omnipresent mindset.
Starting your own business can be compared to merging theory into practice with an immediate feedback loop. The probability of failures is much higher than at large cooperation within a regulated environment. Therefore, founders might fail faster but stand up quicker with new learning in place. This is an excellent attribute of entrepreneurship when it comes to a dedicated journey. Therefore, you directly acquire knowledge from experiences – in a positive as well as a negative manner.
What was your biggest mistake on your journey? Or in other words, biggest learning?
We sold out our first candles quite fast, and we ran out of stock. Due to Covid-19, there were many problems concerning the supply chain. Thus, we were out of stock exactly at the same time when we had PR articles on our company. I learned that having a reliable partner is good, but having an alternative is even better.
What connects you to the FrankfurtRheinMain region? And what is happening in our startup ecosystem?
I study and work in the FrankfurtRheinMain region – and I fell in love. I fell in love with the people, the food, and the positive vibes emerging from every place. I observe here in Frankfurt that the ecosystem unapologetically empowers and supports active members in the community. In particular, FI, Frankfurt Station, and the Frankfurt Valley are relevant touchpoints for tomorrow’s entrepreneurial minds. The ecosystem is growing at a fast pace! Great people are coming together for outstanding projects and exchanging opinions constantly. Personally, I think three characteristics make the ecosystem special. First, inclusion, the FrankfurtRheinMain region is international and has its doors open for all people. And by all people, I mean all – I never saw such a diverse group. No matter if it crystallizes down to the speakers on events or the mentors at FI – Frankfurt is colorful, and so is the FrankfurtRheinMain region. Second, feedback, founders and future founders can receive thoughts and comments from mentors, organizers, or founders. Third, and most importantly, network effects. Network effects are the reason for an improved exchange between individuals. The more people are becoming part of the FrankfurtRheinMain region, the better the firm’s actual empowerment could be.
For all those interested in founding or founders: Frankfurt got your back, and you are in a fantastic place here! 🙂
How is your experience with Founder Institute Frankfurt so far?
I love the FI Frankfurt a lot! I observed the program last semester already. I think four main reasons position the FI Frankfurt as a valuable resource for small start-ups or ideas: SMART goals, networking, mentorship, and working groups. First, SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable, and time-bound. At FI, you get homework to do to keep track of your process. Second, founders are able to network (and collaborate) with mentors or recent graduates from the program, which results in leverage of the network that is provided. Third, mentorship depicts the fact that the FI Frankfurt mentors provide feedback and offer a variety of exchange opportunities.
Last but not least, the working group. At FI Frankfurt, the working group consists of some peers working together in weekly meetings. This group is essential; it helps a founder get through difficult feedback. However, it is also a small network that starts with strong collaboration. Furthermore, this setting allows holistic feedback with individuals from different backgrounds and thereby different perspectives on issues.
Where do you see yourself and your company in five years?
Our vision at The Candleporn is thriving towards a future in which a stylish interior is good for the people and the planet. In five years, The Candleporn is one of the leading market players when it comes to sustainable interior solutions. Currently, we see numerous sustainable firms emerging. In particular, our main competitors lose their design focus when establishing a sustainable product. The candles are just the beginning, as we are planning to diversify and collaborate with other firms. I personally believe that we rise by lifting each other – that is a thought that I hold on to over the business developments.
As a Female Founder, and an active member in different platforms to support Female Entrepreneurship, how is your perception or how are you perceived as a Woman disrupting traditional businesses?
If you had asked me that question some years ago, I would say that the entrepreneurial landscape is a very male-dominated space. Nowadays, in terms of visibility, we are taking steps forward. Luckily, institutions such as the Frankfurt Valley or Frankfurt Station are aware of the low number of female founders and highly engaging in change. Personally, I feel that Berlin is doing great steps in that perspective, but I am sure we got the power and resources to increase the visibility of women even more. When it comes to my perception as a founder, the fact that I incorporated a business during my studies is, most of the time, a surprising one.
And last but not the least, how can we buy your products or support you to grow?
We are digitally-savvy! Thus, you can buy our products through our website, or you can support us by leaving a follow on our Instagram page 🕯 Looking forward to seeing you there and drop me a message for an entrepreneurial exchange!