Hand-poured and designed here in Sunderland, Kohji Candles are the latest independent business making their mark in the North East.
Made from the highest quality plant-based ingredients and lovingly hand-poured with soy & coconut wax, Kohji Candles use pure essential oils, feature cotton wicks and are set in stunning amber glass jars and have become pretty popular with some North East celebrities too.
Matthew Thomas catches up with Donna Cope, the Owner & Founder of Kohji Candles who used 2020 as a catalyst for change and followed her passion following a professional awakening…
My connection to Sunderland is…
Donna: “I have lived in Sunderland all my life (well apart from a short stint in Newcastle) but I quickly came back. We love our city.”
How has the city shaped your business?
Donna: “Sunderland is a great community with some many amazing small businesses.
The support I have received has been fantastic and I’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot of these great businesses. There are so many talented people in our city.”
How did you get to where you are now?
Donna: “Hard work, lots of long days juggling two jobs (add in a husband and two children!) plus focus and motivation to do something I love.”
What is the inspiration behind Kohji Candles?
Donna: “I have always been obsessed with candles and spent lots of time searching for great smelling candles that look beautiful and more importantly, are made from natural, cruelty-free and non-toxic ingredients.”
Why did you launch Kohji Candles?
Donna: “For the past 15 years I have had a pretty full on, fast-paced, full-time job as an operations manager in the hospitality industry, and while for the most part I have really enjoyed it – although I did have to make a lot of sacrifices when it came to my family and friend – I was also constantly stressed and it was starting to have a negative impact on my health, so something had to change.
As well as that, like a lot of people, I’m sure 2020 definitely made me reevaluate what is important and made me realise that life is just too short to not be doing something you love!”
How is Kohji Candles different to other candle brands?
Donna: “There are a lot of things that make Kohji different. We donate 25p from every candle sale to Mind charity; we only use essential oils in our candles as well as natural soy wax; and we source other essential oil products from like minded small brands across the county including bath salts, diffusers and bath bombs.”
What is your proudest achievement to date?
Donna: “I would have to say it would be taking the leap to start Kohji! It was a pretty big risk leaving a career I was familiar with for the last 15 years. but I did it and haven’t looked back.”
What do you have hoped to achieve in 5 years time?
Donna: “To have my own wellness boutique.”
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Donna: “I live by lists, if I achieve one thing off my list each day I’m one step further forward to achieving my goal. Be positive, take risks – but be realistic.”
Tell us one rule you live by?
Donna: “Work hard and be kind!”
Shout out to another local business doing great things in Sunderland?
Donna: “Bash & Bell Events – they are a styled bell tent hire company and also provide luxury garden picnics. You can check them out @bash_and_bell.”