Consider the Wildflowers

031. Katie Daly Weiss: One “Yes” Away from Exponential Growth

February 09, 2023 Katy Daly Weiss
031. Katie Daly Weiss: One “Yes” Away from Exponential Growth
Consider the Wildflowers
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Consider the Wildflowers
031. Katie Daly Weiss: One “Yes” Away from Exponential Growth
Feb 09, 2023
Katy Daly Weiss

When a day spent bored at home turned into a scroll on Pinterest turned into buying soy wax and teaching herself how to make candles, I doubt today’s guest could have imagined that ten years later candle making would be how she spends her days and pays her bills!

Did you know that out of all five senses, scent is the one most closely tied to memories? Something I’m sure Katy Daly Weiss, founder of Big White Yeti Candle Company, thinks about as she formulates new scents in her candle studio aka test kitchen. And while making candles may not come with a fancy title, creating lasting memories in the homes of families all around the world… well, that’s pretty cool for a day’s work.

From the power of saying “yes” to handling supply chain issues, and all the ebbs and flows a decade of business brings, today we are stepping into the shop of Big White Yeti.


Show Notes Transcript

When a day spent bored at home turned into a scroll on Pinterest turned into buying soy wax and teaching herself how to make candles, I doubt today’s guest could have imagined that ten years later candle making would be how she spends her days and pays her bills!

Did you know that out of all five senses, scent is the one most closely tied to memories? Something I’m sure Katy Daly Weiss, founder of Big White Yeti Candle Company, thinks about as she formulates new scents in her candle studio aka test kitchen. And while making candles may not come with a fancy title, creating lasting memories in the homes of families all around the world… well, that’s pretty cool for a day’s work.

From the power of saying “yes” to handling supply chain issues, and all the ebbs and flows a decade of business brings, today we are stepping into the shop of Big White Yeti.


Katie Daly Weiss (00:00):

We said yes to everything. If there was a new maker's market or event happening in our city, we said yes and showed up. And I think a lot of our early success came from our just willingness to say yes and show up and be present. 

Shanna Skidmore (00:18):

You are listening to Consider the Wildflowers the podcast Episode 31 when a day spent board at home turned into a scroll on Pinterest, turned into buying soy wax and teaching herself how to make candles. I doubt today's guests could have imagined that 10 years later, candle making would be how she spends her days and pays her bills. Did you know that out of all five Senses, scent is the one most closely tied to memories? Something I'm sure Katie Daly Weiss, founder of Big White Yeti Candle Company, thinks about as she formulates new scents in her candle studio, a k a test kitchen. And while making candles may not come with a fancy title, creating lasting memories in the homes of families all around the world. Well that's pretty cool. For a day at work, I have one candle scent that I burn in my home on the regular. 

And today I'm thrilled to have the creator Katie Daly Weiss candle maker on the show. If you did professional bios, here it goes. Katie is a Milwaukee, Wisconsin based, lifelong entrepreneur, currently focused on her company, big White Yeti. She's a mom, a wife, relentless researcher and chaser of process improvements. She's been running a big white Yeti since early 2013 and has grown her small business from making candles on the stovetop of a one bedroom apartment to a thriving home fragrance company focused on making seriously good smelling products for direct to consumer, wholesale and private label clients. Okay, formal introductions over, let's talk to Katie. Hey, it's Shannon and this is Consider the Wildflowers, the podcast. 

For the past 15 plus years, I've had the honor to hear thousands of stories from entrepreneurs around the world. As a former Fortune 100 financial advisor, turn business consultant, I have a unique opportunity to see the real behind the highlight reel. 

I'm talking profit and loss statements, unpaid taxes, moments of burnout, and those of utter victory. Or as my husband says, the content everyone is wondering but not many are talking about. And now I'm bringing these private conversations to you. Hear the untold stories of how industry leaders, founders, and up and coming entrepreneurs got their start, the experiences that shaped them and the journey to building the brands they have today. Stories that will inspire and reignite encourage to redefine success and build a life and business on your own terms. Welcome Wildflower. I'm so glad you're here. 

Hi Katie. I'm very excited to have you on the show today. Welcome, welcome. 

Katie Daly Weiss (02:39):

Hey, thank you. I'm so excited to be here with you today. 

Shanna Skidmore (02:41):

Okay. So we don't actually know each other, which is fun, 

Katie Daly Weiss (02:46):

But I kind of feel like I know you <laugh> 

Shanna Skidmore (02:48):

Feel the same. So I was trying to think back before I hit record because Katie was going to share all this in a minute, makes these amazing candles that owns a candle company and I've been obsessed for years. I mean, I think I received a candle as a gift at a speaking event that I did at Camp Wanda Aga. 

Katie Daly Weiss (03:11):

Oh my gosh. I didn't know that was the connection. 

Shanna Skidmore (03:13):

I think that's, I think that's the original way that I discovered your company and I have loved ever since. And I give your candles as gifts to clients or students. And so welcome to the show and Oh, thank you. I feel like I am just get to be a kid in a candy store and ask you all the things. So will you just start, tell everybody who you are, what company you have, and then we'll take it back to before business. 

Katie Daly Weiss (03:40):

Sure. So I am Katie Daley Weiss. I am the owner and Chief Yeti Wrangler at Big White Yeti. We're a small batch home fragrance company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And for the last 10 years we've been making seriously high quality candles with a seriously lighthearted approach. 

Shanna Skidmore (03:56):

Okay. First I just need to know how the company name came to be. <laugh>. 

Katie Daly Weiss (04:04):

Do you know what a Yeti is?

Shanna Skidmore (04:04):

I mean, yes. 

Katie Daly Weiss (04:07):

So what is a Yeti? 

Shanna Skidmore (04:08):

It's like a mysterious creature that I think of that's in the mountains. People don't know what it is really. And does it really exist? 

Katie Daly Weiss (04:22):

But maybe it does. So it is a mythical creature. It's from the Himalayan Mountains, it's white because there's snow. It's kind of akin to the American version of a Sasquatch or a Bigfoot. And I fully realized that has absolutely nothing to do with candles. And that was somewhat by design when my husband and I started making candles a decade ago and we reached this critical mass where there were too many candles in our one bedroom apartment and all of our friends had candles and we needed to probably start selling them if I was going to continue at the pace I was going. We didn't want to name this business something serious and stoic and kind of boring in our opinion because when we looked at what other candle companies were calling themselves, often they're named after the city, they're in the street, they're on something serious. 

We are not serious people. <laugh> not by a long shot. So we did this exercise where we both wrote down things that make us laugh and we did this separate from one another. And then when we came back together, Yetis were on both of our lists Stop, which I think is really endearing and very funny, <laugh> that we both find this mythical creek here. Funny. And we couldn't do Yeti candle company cause I'm pretty sure the cooler people would not have been okay with that. So we started throwing some qualifiers on there. They're big, they're probably white and big white was available. So securing that U R L kind of cemented this was a direction we were going to take this branding. 

Shanna Skidmore (05:48):

Awesome. That's so fun. Okay, so just take me back life before business. 

Katie Daly Weiss (05:52):

Sure. So I have been a lifelong entrepreneur. I started my first business when I nine years old, selling candy out of my parents' laundry room as Katie Mart <laugh>. So I've always had this simmering desire to make something and sell something as my own brand, but that obviously didn't pan out, couldn't survive on Katie Mart money. So I grew up, went to college and then I ended up working for a very large hospitality company when I was there for almost a decade. I was a corporate trainer. I was doing leadership training on the road 80% of the year, leaving on Monday morning, coming home on Friday night, different hotel, different managers every week. And I loved it. It was a lot of fun. And especially in my late twenties, getting to do that type of lifestyle with my job was amazing. So that's what I did for a long time. 

Got to meet some really cool people, travel a lot. And that's where I thought I was probably going to spend a lot of my years in business was staying with that company. Cause I really, really liked them. But there came a point, I think I was a couple years, no, maybe six or seven years into working there that I had some P T O I needed to use it or I was going to lose it at the end of the year. So I took a staycation. I'm a very type A person, I like to keep my hands busy. And I was super bored on that vacation and I found myself bruising Pinterest, which was still a relatively new platform at that time. And I found a pin for making soy candles and I was like, candles, they're cool. I can give this a whirl. And literally that one pin on Pinterest changed the trajectory of everything that I did after that. 

Shanna Skidmore (07:30):

Yeah. Wow. So you started teaching yourself, I'm assuming at this time, were you married already? 

Katie Daly Weiss (07:36):

What was No I was with my boyfriend for probably a year before we started the business. I think we had just moved in together. We were in a very tiny one bedroom apartment together and that worked pretty well cause I was on the road a lot of the time. So the space wasn't a big issue, but then this business started cropping up in literally every corner of that one bedroom apartment <laugh>. Like we had stuff everywhere from this. And fortunately he was very cool with me going, not saying, I think I'm going to start a business. Let's see where this goes. And yeah, now husband, we've he's had our six year wedding anniversary. We've been together for 12 years. 

Shanna Skidmore (08:16):

That's so exciting. Okay, so when you first started making these candles just so you didn't get bored on vacation, 

Katie Daly Weiss (08:23):

That's a terrible business plan, right? That's not what I should tell people of how it started. 

Shanna Skidmore (08:29):

No, that's so fun though. I mean, what a gift to have a business of thing something you were just loved to do. Did you think that it was going to be a business? At what point were you, is this our new business? 

Katie Daly Weiss (08:42):

I don't think there was ever this aha moment where I was like, this is legit and this is what we're doing. I think it was a series of little things. It's funny as we record this, we are almost exactly 10 years to the date from when we opened our Etsy shop. 

Shanna Skidmore (08:56):

So fun. 

Katie Daly Weiss (08:57):

And I think that was kind of one of the first stepping stones of we made this thing, let's put 'em out there and see if people want to buy. And that felt a little bit legitimate when we got our first sale on Etsy and your phone goes cha-ching for the very first time that feels legit. And then getting a first wholesale account and not really knowing what that is and Googling what is a line sheet, what is wholesale <laugh>, figuring that out, that starts to legitimize what you're doing. But I kept this as a side hustle. Well, I stayed full-time employed for six years. Why so? I know I'm really <laugh>. Yeah. And I really wanted to make sure that when I leap to that net was going to be there. So it was just a series of little steps along the way. 

Shanna Skidmore (09:45):

Yeah. Okay. Walk me through those first few years. I mean, how were you finding the containers you were putting in them, your branding? Did somebody do your website? I'm just so intrigued of the growth. 

Katie Daly Weiss (09:58):

So I am super scrappy when you say graphic designer and building websites, that was all me. And if you look back at our early labels, you can tell it was me <laugh>, like they were not pretty, they were functional, they got the job done. But no, I created our first labels on, like the sticker company's website, printed 'em on our laser jets just because it was, I didn't have to pay myself to do that. Etsy is really nice from a startup standpoint that if you are a baby business, if you're a micro business, they give you the tools that you need to just get your product to the e-commerce platform. So we relied on that for a long time in terms of sourcing our vessels and things like that. Again, it was a use. What I have access to our first jars were 16 ounce mason jars. 

Shanna Skidmore (10:49):


Katie Daly Weiss (10:49):

Because I could go to Farm and Fleet or Walmart and buy them. And I know I mentioned this to you before we talked on the podcast. I am a relentless researcher. I love finding what else is out there. There have to be better vessels, there have to be companies that just focus in vessels and just Googling and finding them was really the impetus behind every raw good that came into our business. 

Shanna Skidmore (11:17):

I would love to hear what went well in those early years in the growth of the company. Did you start doing shows or trade? Yeah. What did you do really well? And then if I would love to hear some bumps in the road 

Katie Daly Weiss (11:31):

For sure. At the beginning, you don't know what you don't know. And I think that that's a double-edged sword. So in terms of that being a good thing, we said yes to everything. If there was a new maker's market or event happening in our city, we said yes and showed up. And I think a lot of our early success came from just willingness to say yes and show up and be present. So doing things like those events were really important in getting our name out there for people to know us doing things like donating candles to that Camp Wga event that you went to years ago. Somebody asked if we wanted to provide swag for that event. Absolutely we do. So saying yes really was very beneficial to us in our early days. And I think the other side of that coin, sometimes we said yes to things that we had no business saying yes to <laugh>. 

Yeah. We learned pretty quickly that consignment was not the best route for our type of product. And if you're not familiar, if you're not in the product space, when you put your product in a physical brick and mortar store, it's getting there one of two ways. Either wholesaling where that company is buying that product outright from you at a discount and then selling it or consignment where you are giving them that product. And then when that product sells, you get a portion of those proceeds. There's a lot of paperwork that goes into consignment and a lot of tracking, a lot of self merchandising when you were going in and managing your inventory in those stores. Our product is a moderate price point, highly repeatable item. It doesn't need to be consignment. I think there is a product that is perfect for consignment that's usually more one of a kind artwork, jewelry driven, and we just didn't fit in that and it just ended up eating up so much of my time trying to make our product work in an environment that should have been wholesale from the beginning. Yeah, 

Shanna Skidmore (13:26):

Yeah. That's such an interesting lesson to learn. That only comes with time and trying it for sure. 

Katie Daly Weiss (13:31):

And then trying to untangle that ball of yarn once you're in those relationships can be pretty tricky. 

Shanna Skidmore (13:37):

Yeah. Yeah. I love what you said, just in saying yes, I think that's so powerful. Mm-hmm. Early on and you literally have a lifelong customer now from something you likely gifted a swag on. Yeah. Camp water. So what do you feel were some other big wins early on that you had that, things that went well? 

Katie Daly Weiss (13:57):

This is kind of a financial answer. I am extremely frugal in things. I don't buy it until I need it. I'm that kind of person understanding that this was a side hustle and I did not want to go into debt. Doing this business was a really helpful win for me because we just kind of eed along doing what we needed to do to keep the business going until I absolutely needed to buy something new. Whether it was a larger wax melter or new tables, or bringing employees on of just being really thoughtful and planful with growing the business was extremely helpful for us. It allowed me to keep my arms wrapped around it and really understand it in a way that I don't think I would've been able to if I had gone bonkers with growing too fast. 

Shanna Skidmore (14:48):

Yeah. Yeah. Oh, that's so good. Do you feel like it was helpful to keep it as a side hustle in the sense that it took some of the financial pressure off? Or did you feel like that allowed you to grow in a way that you enjoyed more? 

Katie Daly Weiss (15:04):

Absolutely. So for the first three years of our business, I did not take any money out of the business. I actually squirreled all of our profits away into a savings account that I didn't touch because I was already working full-time. My boyfriend now husband was working. We didn't need the proceeds of this business. And I loved watching that kind of grow quietly in the corner 

And it took the pressure of I need to make sales. I need to make this more of a focus on the sales side of my business than the creative side of my business. And I realized that's a luxury. I know not everybody can start a business that way, but man, was it fun getting to just have brainstorming sessions of wouldn't it be funny if we had a candle called kitten toots <laugh> or Woodland elves, or what does Holly Jolly smell? Being able to focus on the why we started this because it was fun and creative without worrying about the pressure of the financial side of things was such a luxury and I'm so thankful that we were able to grow that way. 

Shanna Skidmore (16:06):

Yeah, that's so true. I feel like when the financial pressure hits, it can, like you said, it stinks to have the focus on sales and what a gift if you don't have to do that at least for a season or a gift. Was there ever a time, I don't know Kate if you want to answer this, but was there ever a time where that financial pressure did hit? 

Katie Daly Weiss (16:29):

So I think any product-based business, if you ask that question to them right now, they would probably have some version of this answer that we're like right on the precipice of a recession. We might even be in a recession right now. And I make a completely non-necessary product. So I would say since the pandemic and then the supply chain issues and raw good cost increase that we've seen in the last couple years, financials are funky right now and we're not seeing the same margins that we saw for years. And that can be intimidating. And it is definitely making me as the leader of this company, change my focus of making sure the products that are in our current offerings are the strong sellers. We're letting go of ones that are no longer strong sellers and just kind of starting to change my focus from the free for all of everything is fun and creative to being a little bit more strategic. So not a bad thing, it's just a different mindset right now. And I think that that's just the climate of the world right now is affecting product-based businesses in that way. 

Shanna Skidmore (17:35):

Yeah. Oh, that's so interesting and so tough. I'm sure to navigate, especially as a creative, as owning a creative product, you have to balance the running of the business with staying creative. Yeah, 

Katie Daly Weiss (17:51):


Shanna Skidmore (17:52):

Okay, thank you for sharing that. I, I put you on the spot there for a minute. 

Katie Daly Weiss (17:56):

No, it's good. I think people need to talk about that. 

Shanna Skidmore (17:59):

Yeah. So you're growing, you're still working. At what point were you thinking I'm going to leave my full-time job and how did that come to be? 

Katie Daly Weiss (18:10):

So I think we're about four years into big White Yeti existing. I had left my job with that hospitality company because being on the road that much was just no longer working for my life. So I took a job at a company here in Wisconsin and I hated it. I followed money, they offered me more money than I had ever seen before, and I said yes, and I hated it. I hated everything about it. It was a terrible commute. I did not enjoy the products that I was training on. So I did that for about a year. Then I moved to a nonprofit in downtown Milwaukee as an instructional designer. And I really enjoyed the work and I enjoyed the people, the culture of that company, but Big White Yeti was growing and I reached this point where I was like, I want to do both but can't kind of, you pick two situation, I can either have a home life and do my day job or I can have a home life and do big white Yeti, but I can't do everything right now. So I had a very frank and very honest conversation with my manager saying, is there any way I could go to part-time? Really just having no idea what she would say. And she's like, yeah, we've never done that before, but that's fine. So I went down to part-time for about a year, and that really allowed me to dip my feet into what it would be like to run big white Ydi on a weekday during normal business hours. 

Shanna Skidmore (19:31):

<laugh>, what a gift. 

Katie Daly Weiss (19:32):

And I loved it. And the world has a great sense of humor during that time when I was part-time with that nonprofit, part-time, big White Yeti, I got pregnant and that was wonderful and we were super excited, but then it was definitely, I can't keep doing all of these things and be a mom. So when the time came for me to give birth to our son, there was no maternity leave because it, as a very small company, it was you could take time off, but it's unpaid. So I had a conversation with HR of, so I'm going to leave and I'm just not going to come back. And that was our time to leap of leaping and the net will appear. So in that was October of 2018 was when I left and became full-time big white Yeti and full-time mom. 

Shanna Skidmore (20:19):

Okay. Wow. A big, okay, so you're at home with your new tiny baby, and how is the company, I mean, do you have staff at this time? Is it still mostly trade shows? What is the picture of the company? And you're what, five years in, I guess at this point? 

Katie Daly Weiss (20:37):

I guess almost six years in, I think. But yeah. Okay. So it was still just me. I was the only full-time employee and RQ was born late October, moving right into our busy season. 

Shanna Skidmore (20:48):


Katie Daly Weiss (20:48):

Yeah. <laugh> not great from a business perspective because our fourth quarter is our busy season. That was the point in the business where I said, I think we need to hire somebody. So not only did I make that leap to full-time employment, but it was also the mind shift of saying, it's time to bring in people to help me because it's either I need to hire a nanny or I need to hire an employee. So I went the employee route and we started having people help out at events and run the events and sell our products there instead of me eating up an entire Saturday or Sunday doing 

Shanna Skidmore (21:22):


Katie Daly Weiss (21:23):

And that was my foray into growing the business with the help of other people. 

Shanna Skidmore (21:28):

Yeah, that's so good. And I love that you said, and that's so true. You have to admit when you need help and that's not a negative thing, but I love how you said it's employee or nanny. Is it a home help or work help and sometimes it's both. So what would you say was there a big shift for you or do you feel like you stepped naturally into, oh, I own a company now I'm the leader of the company and I'm a mom, and I'm like, those are some big shifts. How did that go down? It 

Katie Daly Weiss (22:02):

Was a lot of new hats to wear all at once. I'm really fortunate that for years I did management and leadership training. That was my full-time job of teaching people how to be a leader, how to manage your people, how to make sure your team is healthy and productive and all working in the same directions. So I've really embraced it. It's hard to take your hands off of the day-to-day tasks, especially when it's your baby. You always assume that you know how to do things in a way that other people won't be able to, and it's just not true. I learned how to make candles. I can teach somebody else how to make candles. I can teach somebody else how to be a shop assistant. If you know how to talk to people, you can sell our product. And there's a lot of empowerment of taking your hands off of the process and putting that in somebody else's hands that you trust. So yeah, I really love that. 

Shanna Skidmore (22:58):

Yeah. Oh, that's so good. Tell us what your company looks like now. How did you start hiring? Who was your first hire and then your next I'd love just to hear how you grew your team. 

Katie Daly Weiss (23:10):

Sure. Very organically and through people we knew specifically our very first hire was an amazing woman named Lindsay. She is a full-time wedding photographer nowadays. She was actually the wedding event coordinator at our wedding six years ago. So I've known her for a long time and we just stayed in touch and he came on board and was our first employee doing events and shop work and being my assistant in the studio. And as her business grew, she outgrew needing to be with us and is now full-time as a photographer on her own. Another person that we hired to be a candle maker, Wendy, she had actually interviewed me years prior when she was in college doing a video project for one of her classes on small businesses. So it's just people that we have met through this business and I've stayed in touch with and people that I trust that I trust you to work on our products. I think you're a good person. So that's kind of this natural growth of the business. My candle maker who is actually here in the studio with me today, she actually is a mom of one of the kids in my son's preschool, and that's how we met. And this was her dipping her feet back into the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom for a while. Yeah. 

Shanna Skidmore (24:33):

Isn't owning a business so fun? Yes. These are the moments where it's like, what a gift that we get to create something we really like, employee people we really like and can be such a beautiful thing. 

Katie Daly Weiss (24:47):

Absolutely. I'm really grateful that we have this network of people in our city who are invested in supporting small business, not only just purchasing from small businesses, but also wanting to be ingrained in working in small businesses. 

Shanna Skidmore (25:01):

Yeah, that's awesome. Okay, so tell me, as the company continued to grow, were you reaching out? Was it mostly direct to consumer? Was it wholesale? Did you hire salespeople? I'd love to hear just were there any moments of exponential growth? 

Katie Daly Weiss (25:17):

Yeah, so this theme of us being scrappy has really continued for 10 years. We started on Etsy, so selling direct to consumer through e-commerce for a long time, and that was our main portion of our revenue was just direct to consumer. Wholesale has now eclipsed that, and it really started with people finding us and reaching out to us, asking if we wholesale, which is wonderful because that means they want your product. But then in the last couple years we've actually moved over to the fair wholesale platform, which is Etsy, but for wholesale. So shops can find you and we utilize that and that's allowed us to really grow our wholesale quite a bit with shops that I never even knew existed until they found us through that platform. We don't have salespeople, we don't have reps going around to local businesses, but if there's a business that I think we are a home run great fit for, I will pick up the phone and call them. If they're local, I will walk in and talk to them because I think I have a pretty good sense of where our products fit in and they might not know about us. So I am more than happy to make that introduction. Yeah. 

Shanna Skidmore (26:27):

Oh, that's so fun. 

Katie Daly Weiss (26:28):

But the exponential growth question, so several years ago there was a very large department store chain in the Midwest that started a shop local department. They found us and put us in 30 stores. 

Shanna Skidmore (26:42):


Katie Daly Weiss (26:42):

And that was amazing. That was some serious financial growth for a couple years. 

Shanna Skidmore (26:48):

Yeah. Okay. So let's talk about numbers for a second on that. When you stepped away from full-time, now the business is supporting you, paying your salary, you're hiring staff, how did you learn to manage all the money set? What do you feel like you did well and came naturally to you? What do you feel like maybe I didn't do that so good? 

Katie Daly Weiss (27:12):

Sure. So one of my guiding principles of getting ready to make this leap from being employed by somebody else to being self-employed was that I'm not comfortable doing it until I can replace my corporate salary. So I was at that point by the time I left that position at that nonprofit that I was making as much money with big white Yeti as I was making when I was full-time employed by somebody else. And I think that was easy because it was almost a one for one replacement. In terms of the financial side of things, I'm very lucky that we have a great C P A who fully understands the accounting side of our business and has been able to help me with the numbers side of things. And that's something that I'm very thankful I can outsource to him. It's when you own a small business, it is really, at least for me, and some people might be completely different here. 

For me, the way I run my personal finances is extremely similar to the way I run my business finances. I am very frugal. I don't buy things that we don't need until we absolutely need it. And that has always served me really well in my personal life. So being able to take that skillset of how I handle our personal finances to my business, finances came very easy because it was very similar in my opinion, but in terms of what didn't come easy, it's kind of going back to you don't know what you don't know. I didn't know for a very long time that you should probably have a business credit card. And I realized how silly that sounds, but I didn't have a business credit card until about a year ago because I just paid for everything out of our business debit account. And then I was sitting in an entrepreneurship meeting with other women in Milwaukee who are running small businesses, and I realized I was the only person in that room who was not building my business credit using a credit card, and I was also leaving money on the table of literally free money with cash back of credit cards. 

So things like that, you just don't know what you don't know. When you are starting a business and you're growing a business, you also don't know things about employee taxes and the whole payroll tax side of things, and you have to make adjustments on that as all of a sudden you figure out it's not just paying somebody X amount of dollars per hour, you have to figure out a whole lot of other dollars that you weren't necessarily accounting for at the forefront. 

Shanna Skidmore (29:41):

That is so true. It sounds like you have a good team member with your C P A that you can run these things back because you're right. Like payroll taxes aren't nothing <laugh>. 

Katie Daly Weiss (29:51):

Right. Well, and I'm also really grateful for him because he can introduce me to things that I had no idea existed. We were an LLC for years. In the last year or so, we moved to being an S corp and he laid it out. If we continue as an llc, this is what our tax burden's going to look like. If we move to an S corp, this is what your tax burden's going to look like. I had no idea what any of those acronyms stood for until he laid that out for us and helps me make better decisions based on what our cash flow looks like. 

Shanna Skidmore (30:23):

Yeah. I love how you use the word outsource to your CPA because that's what I teach kind of all my clients, all my students. Finding the right team member, your <affirmative>, your cpa, your bookkeeper for me, like your C F O, they work for you. So often I hear from people who are quite intimidated even to have these conversations. It's so good. You feel comfortable and confident with the person you've outsourced this financial work too, which is so good. 

Katie Daly Weiss (30:54):

And it's funny, Alan is an older gentleman, very good at accounting, doesn't truly understand how we make as much money as we do selling candles called Yetis 

Shanna Skidmore (31:07):

Love. And 

Katie Daly Weiss (31:08):

It's, it's just so endearing. He actually came over to our studio last year because with the supply chain just nonsense that has been going on for the last couple years, it has really changed the way we order supplies. And ultimately that has changed the way things look on the bookkeeping side because we're holding more inventory right now. And I don't know if he truly believed that I had 13,000 glass vessels just arrive, so he came over to see them. 

Shanna Skidmore (31:35):

I mean that I boggled right now I'm thinking about the magnitude of that. 

Katie Daly Weiss (31:40):

And really, we operate traditionally very lean. I'm a big fan of just in time planning from a manufacturing standpoint, you can't do that right now because glassware is extremely hard to get when you need it right now. So it's changing the way we have to order. And sometimes that means ordering 13,000 glass vessels at a time, which in your life, certainly having a credit, certainly having a business credit card right now makes that a little bit easier. But that's the changes and the changes in workflow that you just got to roll with and you got to have your accountant believe you that you really did have that many vessels just arrive. 

Shanna Skidmore (32:15):

Katie, have there ever been moments where you're scared? I mean, 13,000 vessels? That's not nothing. 

Katie Daly Weiss (32:23):

No. They're going to get used though. Yeah. So no. Yeah, it's overwhelming and it's expensive, but people are going to buy the candles and absolute worst case scenario, somebody else would buy the vessels if this whole ship went down, somebody else would buy. Yeah. So no. Yeah, I'm pretty unflappable in a lot of areas of my life, and that's one of them. Things are going to work out the way they're supposed to. I can only steer this, shift the ship so hard, but sometimes there's going to be currents that I can't control and I have to be at peace with that or it would drive me nuts. 

Shanna Skidmore (32:58):

Absolutely. I also love Katie, and I don't know if you would say this is true or not, but two things that you've said a couple times. At first, I think you just took the next step. It's like it didn't just grow crazy. It's like you're continuous growth over a long period of time. And the second thing I love, and I operate the same way in my own business, is running very lean. And that has been such a gift where we don't just get so strapped financially. I mean, now our company, Colin and I worked together. This is our family livelihood and we have to take this paycheck. And when I worked in finance, we were told I had a mentor tell me, hire staff, get an office, increase your expenses, you will work harder. And I'm like, that is so deflating. And for some people that probably works, that gives them a challenge. But for me, that is stressful and deflating. 

Katie Daly Weiss (33:53):

I don't want the stress of debt and growth to be the thing that is driving my business that doesn't feel good to me. 

Shanna Skidmore (34:01):

Yeah. Like you said earlier, I don't want to have to make sales. And I think it's good to recognize some people operate differently. Some people love that challenge and they're going to go, absolutely. They're going to go sell it. And they're so pumped about at me, I'm just like, ah, I just don't want want to sell because it's fun and I'm excited and you can absolutely, this can help you or you'll love it. So knowing that even mindset about yourself, but I love that you're, you're sharing that. That's so good. Yeah. I have so many good questions for you. I just love hearing the growth of your company, but I always love to ask in these interviews, what would you say is the best thing that you have learned about money? 

Katie Daly Weiss (34:41):

That's a great question. I think sometimes we put unrealistic expectations on what money actually is. And I think what I've learned through this business is money is just a vessel that allows you to do other stuff. It's not the end all and be all. It's a tool to help you do what you want to do and to take it to whatever level you want to do next and to make sure your family is supported the way it is. That's the way I look at money these days, that it's not just about making money, it's about what that money means for my family and for my business and for my life. And I think that's served me pretty well. So I think I'm going to continue thinking about it that way. 

Shanna Skidmore (35:26):

Yeah, that's so good. There's so much baggage that can come with the idea of money or success, even maybe just success. And I love when this is a tool for me to have the life I want, the business I want create the stuff I want to create. And that's just such a freeing way to think about it. 

Katie Daly Weiss (35:46):


Shanna Skidmore (35:47):

I love that. Okay, Katie, let's go into kind of a quick fire round. Yeah. I'm going to put you on the hot seat and ask you a quick fire before we wrap up. And this has been so fun. What is one thing you would be embarrassed if people knew? 

Katie Daly Weiss (36:01):

Gosh. So it takes a lot to embarrass me. It truly does. But if I had to say something, I don't watch a ton of tv, but one show that I will always love and always watch is Million Dollar Listing New York. That real estate show. It is trash and I love it. And it is embarrassing. Million 

Shanna Skidmore (36:18):

Dollar Listing. I've never even heard of this. 

Katie Daly Weiss (36:21):

Oh, it's on Bravo. It's about high-end real estate in New York. There's also an LA version of it. These people are over the top, the buyers are over the top. It's just delightful trash. 

Shanna Skidmore (36:31):

Okay. I love it. I feel so good. I'm going to have to watch you. Bravo. Okay, I'll check it out. Yep. All right. What is, okay, do you have any regrets or wish you could do over moments? 

Katie Daly Weiss (36:43):

I really like, this is a silly answer, but I don't think so because every step and misstep that I have taken along the way has gotten to where I am today. I think six years before I made the leap to self-employment was probably a little long. So I think if I could do that over again, I probably would've leaped sooner. 

Shanna Skidmore (37:03):

Yeah, yeah. But as you said, you knew. Yeah. You knew yourself and your risk it version, right? 

Katie Daly Weiss (37:09):


Shanna Skidmore (37:09):

That's good. Okay. What is a big win or a pinch me moment? 

Katie Daly Weiss (37:13):

Ooh, this is a fun one. I mentioned earlier that for the first three years of the business, I just kind of squirreled away money from the business and didn't spend any of our profits. That money bought our house, 

Shanna Skidmore (37:25):

<laugh>, stop. Yeah. 

Katie Daly Weiss (37:26):

That's awesome. Which is absolutely amazing, and I am so grateful for that. And closing on the house that I'm in right now as I'm talking to you, knowing that this little side hustle that we started with, really no business plan, just see where it would take us, bought us a home. And that's fricking amazing. And I am incredibly grateful for what these candles have done for our family. So even saying that out loud feels surreal. Aw, 

Shanna Skidmore (37:52):

Isn't it? Yeah. It's like, and what one Pinterest pin Yeah. Led too. 

Katie Daly Weiss (37:57):

That guy who made that pin has no idea how radically that has changed my life. Yeah. 

Shanna Skidmore (38:02):

I got to find him and say thank you. I love, I really 

Katie Daly Weiss (38:05):


Shanna Skidmore (38:05):

<laugh>, I'm going to post in the show notes my favorite scent. I know it's seasonal, but I literally burn your candle. That's the only one I have in my house. I love that. And I love it so much. You create such beautiful scents and thank you. And it's even more fun to get to know you now. So 

Katie Daly Weiss (38:24):

Awesome. I love that that is your signature scent because I really enjoy crafting that one. Yeah. 

Shanna Skidmore (38:29):

This is my favorite. Okay. <laugh>, best advice or just really good advice? 

Katie Daly Weiss (38:34):

So I have friends Gloria and Mara, who own Artery Inc. It's a apparel business here in Milwaukee. They made the leap to full-time employment way sooner than me. And Mara's advice to me was leap and the net will appear. And I know that's common advice that people say when it comes to entrepreneurship, but she is absolutely correct. When you make that jump, the net will appear and things will be okay. And if they're not okay, so what you tried, yeah, you did the thing, and if it doesn't work out, you go do something else. So I really ascribed to that belief that if you want to do it, go do it and figure it out. 

Shanna Skidmore (39:12):

Yeah. Oh, that's good. Thanks, Mara. 

Katie Daly Weiss (39:15):


Shanna Skidmore (39:16):

Okay, last quickfire question. What are you working on now? Or is there one resource you would like to share? 

Katie Daly Weiss (39:24):

So in the changing face of the world right now, in a post pandemic world where things are in flux, we might be coming up to a recession. I am spending more time working on custom work for other people, specifically doing white label or private label work for other businesses. And it's so much fun because I still have my core brand, but now I'm able to figure out the fragrance and the scent branding side of other businesses and what would complete their branding with a custom scent. So getting to do that type of work is really scratching a creative itch that I didn't know I had, and it's been a lot of fun working with other business owners. 

Shanna Skidmore (40:07):

That's so fun. Hey, sign me up. I want a signature scent. 

Katie Daly Weiss (40:11):

I think I know what it would smell like. 

Shanna Skidmore (40:13):

I already know too. Oh, okay. I'm serious. That sounds so fun. I love that you're doing that. And I had a conversation with someone earlier and they were talking about kind of in the pandemic, how so many businesses got creative and started offering something a little outside of their normal offer ladder, and how neat that you can bend and mold and get scrappy, like you said. Yeah. In preparation for, and this might be the next big thank for you guys. 

Katie Daly Weiss (40:41):

Absolutely. And it's just a different revenue stream that I had never even considered until people started asking for it. Yeah. 

Shanna Skidmore (40:48):

That's so cool. Okay, Katie, I'm sad for this to end, but I want to kind of send it off with what would you tell yourself going back to day one of making some candles in your one bedroom apartment? What would you tell yourself? Looking back now? 

Katie Daly Weiss (41:05):

Oh gosh, this ride is going to be so much cooler and so much better than you can even imagine right now. These silly little candles are going to be the best thing that has ever happened to you. 

Shanna Skidmore (41:17):

I love that. Oh, Katie, thank you so much for sharing your story. 

Katie Daly Weiss (41:21):

Oh, thank you for having me. This has been awesome. It 

Shanna Skidmore (41:23):

Has been so fun to get to know you. 

Katie Daly Weiss (41:25):

Awesome. Well, I really enjoyed our time together, and I can't wait to listen to other people on your podcast. 

Shanna Skidmore (41:30):

It's the fun. Hey, wildflower, you just another episode of Consider The Wildflowers the podcast. Head over to consider the wildflowers for show notes, resource links, and to learn how you can connect with Katie. One final thought for today from Elizabeth Gilbert, creativity itself doesn't care at all about results. The only thing that it craves is the process. As always, thank you for listening. I'll see you next time.