Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lighting The Way One Customer At A Time: ANA CANDLES

Company Name: Ana Design Corporation
Company Founder: Frank Weeden
Company Websites: (Wholesale) and (Retail)
Contact Information:

Anwar's Reflections sat down with the owner and operator of Ana Candles, Frank Weeden. During the interview, Weeden discusses his passion for candles and much more. He proudly manufactures the original Striped Candle. All of his products are made with premium quality paraffin wax and are engineered to have long burn times and be virtually smokeless and drip-free. Ana Candles are exclusively made in Trenton, New Jersey. He takes pride in color combination when it comes to his candles. Please see a video of Ana Candles products above and a copy of Anwar's Reflections exclusive interview with Ana Candles founder Frank Weeden below:

AGS: Can you tell us a little about what Ana Candles is all about?

We manufacture a striped candle. Our candles have either three stripes or six stripes. We have been in business for 16 years now. We are sold in very high end home decor shops, museums. We're used by a lot of designers. We're in magazines such as Country & Living. Its a well-known product in the candle business.

AGS: What is your background? Is this your first time owning and operating your own business?

I have a background in Fine Arts. This is my third business. Initially I worked in a foundry. I fell in love with Trenton. I started off with a restoration business in Trenton. However, I wasn't making any money so I moved on. Unfortunately, the market went sour so I closed that. After closing that business, then, I had the idea while driving on the NJ turnpike to create a candle business.

AGS: What motivated you to start Ana Candles?

I thought the candle idea was unique or novel, I'm an entrepreneurial person so I thought this idea had a good chance of becoming a viable business so I decided to run with it.

AGS: Where did you come up with the name Ana Candles?

The name comes from an aunt I have in Paris. Her name is Anna. However, in the beginning, we wanted Ana to stand for All New Americans.

AGS: In your own words, what makes Ana Candles unique or stand out?

We have a very well-respected product, there are a lot of copies out there. But, many of these companies do not offer the great selection of color we do. Ana Candles is known for color combination.

AGS: Did you face any challenges in launching Ana Candles? If so, how did you overcome those challenges?

Start-up money is always a challenge. In addition, making good decisions with your partners is challenging. In the process of operating our business we made a lot of mistakes and lost valuable money. But we learned from those mistakes and kept going. Here we are 16 years later. Knowing how to treat your customers and deal with them was also a challenge. The recessionary times we are living in challenged us as well. Candles are not a necessary product. Non-essential products are usually the first thing many people do away with when times are tough. We lost a considerable amount of our customers during this economic downturn but we are still here.There was a challenge when we decided to diversify and expand our products.

AGS: How do you promote or advertise Ana Candles?

We advertise mainly at trade shows. We also have a strong Internet presence.

AGS: Do you utilize internet marketing? If so, how effective do you find this method of advertising?

The Internet is constantly evolving. Our direct sales have gone up while our wholesale revenue has gone down. We have a strong Internet presence. We utilize Facebook, Twitter, and blogs to promote what we do.

AGS: As an entrepreneur, what advice, if any, would you give another person that wants to be successful as well?

The devil is in the details. What I mean by this is that you have to deal with the day to day things of running a business. Many people think that running a business is mostly about being creative, however the reality is that this creative side of business only accounts for maybe 15-20% of what you do, the rest of the time is dedicated to research and development, financing, and the day to day matters of running a business. If you pay attention to these details and are dedicated to your business, the chances of you succeeding go up tremendously.

AGS: Can Anwar's Reflections have another interview with you in the near future?

Yes, you certainly can.

AGS is a acronym for the author and founder of Anwar's Reflections, Anwar G. Salandy.

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