Lily Harper of Lily Lou’s Aromas, turned $128 into a 6 Figure Business at just 9 Years Old
This is Lily Harper for Female Startup Club
Welcome back to the show! It’s Doone here, your host and hype girl. So todays episode is very special, this is the youngest entrepreneur we’ve ever had on the show - by a long shot - and Lily is proof that when you set your mind to something and you follow your dreams and goals - amazing things can happen, no matter how old or young you are.
Lily Harper is an 9 year old entrepreneur and the founder of Lily Lou’s Aromas, and her story starts when she was being emotionally and physically bullied in school. So during the pandemic when schools were shut down students were sent to learn from home, and Lily found a passion in creating beautiful scented products. She started to thrive.
With a hyper-creative mind, Lily is continually coming up with new ideas and has set huge goals for herself and her company. An important foundation of Lily’s personal and business life is that she is involved in every decision, from Lily Lou’s Aromas to how her school day is planned out. This gives Lily the opportunity to learn and acquire knowledge and essential skills, while maintaining the freedom to grow in the direction she chooses.
A strong advocate against bullying, Lily is extremely involved in areas of charity work that holds significant meaning to her.
It was such an honour to get to chat with Lily about what she’s building and how she’s living her life - she’s an inspiration to us all.
Please note, this transcript has been copy-pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
This is Lily Harper for Female Startup Club.
Welcome back to the show. It's Dune here, your host and hype girl. Today's episode is a very special one. This is the youngest entrepreneur we've ever had on the show by a really long shot. And Lily is proof that when you set your mind to something and you follow your dreams and goals, amazing things can happen no matter how old or young you are.
Lily Harper is a nine year old entrepreneur and the founder of Lily Lu's Aromas. And her story starts when she was being emotionally and physically bullied in school. So during the pandemic, when schools were shut down, students were actually sent to learn from home. And this is when Lily found a passion in creating beautiful scented candles with her mom.
And this is when she started to thrive with a hyper creative mind. Lily is continually coming up with new ideas and has set huge goals for herself and her company. An important foundation of Lily's personal and business life is that she's involved in every decision from Lily Lu's aromas to how her school day is planned out.
And this gives Lily the opportunity to learn and acquire knowledge and essential skills while maintaining the freedom to grow in the direction she chooses. It was such an honor to get to chat to Lily about her journey and what she's been building so far and just how she's living her life. I... I loved this episode so much and she is such a big inspiration to me and I hope she's a big inspiration to you too.
Let's get into today's episode. This is Lily for Female Startup Club. Lily. Hi, welcome to the Female Startup Club podcast. Thank you so much. I'm super excited to do this. I love podcasts. Yes. And you're so good at though. I'm so excited to have you on the show. You're by far the youngest guest I've ever had.
And I'm excited to hear your story and how you got started and why you got started. So do you want to kind of give us a little bit of an introduction into who you are and what your business is? Yeah, perfect. Um, so I'm Lily. I'm the founder of Lily Lives Aromas. I make non toxic soy wax candles that don't give you headaches.
And that's a little bit of my introduction. Um, but do I tell my story? Well, let's get straight into it. I want to hear your story. I want to go back to like the very beginning when you had the light bulb moment, thinking about candles, thinking about starting a business. Okay, perfect. Uh, so I started my business because I was bullied at school, uh, school, both mentally and physically.
I was pushed down metal stairs. I was on rocks. I, I felt really hurt and that's when COVID hit and I was homeschooled. Um, and everybody was homeschooled and then me and my mom love taking care of our mental health. So I go. stairs, we light a candle, we do a skin care, we journal, watch a favorite show, um, but we, we realized that the candles we were using were actually giving us headaches, um, because started getting headaches out of nowhere.
And we kind of thought it was the candles. So we, uh, searched it up and they had toxins in them that were bad for you. So I wanted to make a change in that and to make them eco friendly, sustainable, uh, non toxic. So I started doing my business and yeah, now, now I'm just. Trying to do a new business now by accident.
Oh my gosh, I love that. Had you originally, you know, when you were kind of realizing that there was this problem you're experiencing in the house and, you know, the smell was giving you headaches and things like that. Were you originally thinking, oh, I'm just going to change these candles for myself? Or were you already thinking, wow, maybe other people might want to buy this and thinking about starting a business?
The thing is, is that when I started my business, I didn't actually know I was doing my business until I started getting orders. And then I realized that, oh, I'm actually doing a business, so, so I wanted to do it because of our ritual, because we didn't want, because candles are the part of our mental health in our ritual.
So I was like, oh, let's just make this for me and my mom. And then we started, like, selling them for funsies, and then it kind of just got orders, and we were like, oh. It's snowballed. I love that. Yeah. I want to kind of stick around this time when it was like early days, you're kind of just sort of, you know, starting to realize that other people might want to buy your products.
How much money did you need to start the business? And what was that really early, like first few steps to being like, okay, I'm going to make these kind of, you know, on mass or, or make a bunch of different products to start selling. Yeah, the proofs of being seven. It was actually, I had, well, it was not my bank.
It was the bank of my mom and dad's. Um, they actually gave me the money to be able to get the supplies that I needed. Um, so I had the money and I started like getting all the supplies I needed. Um, and it was around, I think a hundred to 150. And how long did it take you kind of? You know, developing different samples and different kinds of candles to get to the point of being like, wow, this is the candle that we're going to start selling.
This is like the finished product. It took us a couple of months to get the skills because we had no clue what we were doing. Um, we, uh, so I started off with wax melts. Um, it was like an easy step to do. So we started doing it. Got the wrong wax, it started crumbling, it was absolutely worse. Um, but yeah, but we started making wax moulds, it was, it was good.
And then, after months and months and months, then we got the skill of it, and then I started doing candles, and then... And when you were in that kind of like phase of, okay, you know, we've spent months and months and months developing and then you're starting to put the word out there. Are you kind of, you know, telling your friends and family or are you at a market or had you already immediately started being on Instagram or another social media platform?
Like how did you start getting the word out there for people to buy your candles? So basically, I first have started with the social media, building the social media platform to start getting my, uh, the, so when I started doing social media, that to drive online traffic to my store, I started making the website and then when I started making the website, orders started to come in, which my granddad, which was my first order, um, I love that.
Um, um, Uh, somebody, uh, as a present, uh, which was a white smile. Um, and then many orders. And then we just had this like big wholesale order come over and it was like a lot of candles. And we were like, how many candles do you remember? I don't know. Maybe like. I was like, oh my gosh, wow, wow, that's a lot. How are we going to make those?
I was like, what are we going to do? So we started just making them and getting, and getting all the wholesale order. And yeah, it was just, it was truly memorable. We got happiness that I really loved. And are you making them kind of in your kitchen with your family? Yeah, so I'm making them in my kitchen at the moment as they're like, it's called my maker station It's um, we're trying to look for a warehouse at the moment to maybe do like somebody like do it for us or maybe some we do it in a warehouse and but it's just kind of a kind of hard at the moment because a lot of ones are gorgeous, but and stuff but at the same time We have, our kitchen has taken over, like the candles have taken over our kitchen, and we have about this much space to cook.
Um, so yeah, we're trying to find one at the moment. I love that, that's so cool. I love that all your family is involved too, that's such a special, special time. I love it. When you were kind of, I want to stick around the Instagram kind of social media part of the story in the beginning, because you started in 2020 ish during the pandemic.
So it's been a couple of years now you have a huge following online, but in those early days when you were just getting started, was there a moment you remember? Kind of online when things started to snowball and spiral and kind of go viral for you. So, yes, when I started building my social media platform, I posted a video, um, that went absolutely viral.
And we got, we started getting a lot of orders and that's when my, my Shopify account started going. Cha ching, cha ching, cha ching, cha ching. I love that sound. And I was like, biggest happy dance for the rest of the day. And I loved it. I was so happy. Um, so I did the biggest happy dance. And when that video went viral, were you kind of like, what was your strategy after that for social media?
Were you thinking, okay, I'm going to post every single day or multiple times a day? Or what was the kind of. What was your thought process at that time? Yeah, so we were gonna do like so I started like I was gonna post like every single day to keep that strategy up because if I because sometimes people say to me like Oh, if you don't post enough then you're gonna lose your strategy and then it's gonna go down But if you post every single day after a viral video that is gone Then you're going to start getting that strategy up.
So I wanted to start posting more and more and more and started getting out because I provided value to the people who were watching it. Because sometimes when I'm editing my videos, I'm like, is this going to provide value to the person who is watching it? And is somebody going to watch it? Is somebody going to be interested in it?
Because my videos are educational, like, they're, like, you're learning how, like, candles are, like, toxins, how, have toxins in them. And, uh, so I say, is this gonna provide value? And if it's, then I post it and I post more and more and more. Um, and that's how I have 300,000, 350,000, uh, followers across my platforms.
Wow, that is just so cool and so impressive. When you think about that, you know, where you've, where you've arrived to in the last three years, what has that meant for you? What is that like? Like, is this what you could have envisioned when you were just getting started? I had. I still have so many dreams when I was, when I was younger and still do.
Um, but yeah, I wasn't really envisioning this as much. Like I'm in big retailers now. Like I had, I'm everywhere now. Like I did not envision this when I was younger. I, when I was younger, I was like, Oh, this is going to be a business. This is going to be good. Like just a small business. But now I'm like.
This is huge now, um, yeah, but I was definitely having big dreams when I was young. I was reading or listening to one of your recent kind of, um, you know, episodes or, or interviews online and you were talking a lot about how you manifest your goals and your dreams and I'm wondering for you, what are you manifesting at the moment and what's your process?
I'm manifesting So many things right now. To be in big retailers, like to be around the world, like my, like my, like my candles around the world, like big retailers like Indigo, um, like Whole Foods, like so many, so many big retailers, uh, that I dream of being in, that I would. Do the biggest happy dance ever, if I did get in.
Um, but yeah, I'm manifesting so many things right now. Um, but yeah. Oh my gosh. I'm excited for you. You're getting into all of those retailers. That's going to happen. Someone listening to this episode is going to pass it onto a buyer and they're going to get in touch with you. I'm manifesting that for you.
What are the kinds of marketing strategies that you're using with the business now outside of organic kind of Instagram and social media channels? What else have you kind of learned and started to implement? Can you say that again? I'm just, I'm 10. So like my mind like has to take a moment to. Yes, of course.
Of course. Sorry. What else are you doing outside of organic Instagram? So are you doing kind of any paid ads online or are you focusing a lot on PR or email marketing or You know tik tok things like that. What else? Yeah Hi, I'm doing everything at the moment except paid ads because they're scary and I don't know what to do with them and Uh, but yeah, at the moment I'm doing, uh, social media, it's going really well because like, you get to connect with people, like, even from Spain, like, even from, like, so many other countries, you get to connect with people, and to be able to, uh, you know, Have like have like good connections and stuff and then also doing pop ups like you gotta meet people from From like that area and like they can like find out your social media and it's but and be able to connect with so many people Because sometimes like even in PR people like if I'm an event then people are like, oh Lily.
Sometimes if I'm in like, sometimes if they, if I'm in social media they're like, oh, it's Lily! And then sometimes if I'm in a magazine they're like, oh, it's Lily! Um, so, yeah, but, uh, they're all working for me at the moment and I just. I just really, I just really love it. And I feel like after kind of the pandemic, in real life pop up events and things like that is so what everyone's craving right now because we were so indoors and online and now the kind of IRL experience is what we're really craving.
So I can imagine that works so well for you. It does. It does. It's amazing. Step me through a day in the life of Lily as both A girl who goes to school or is homeschooled and also a girl who is an entrepreneur and young businesswoman. Uh, every day, I would say every day is different. It's a different day.
Not every day is the same. Uh, so like the only thing is that my mom and my dad, uh, only try and bring in like what I'm doing in my business, try and bring up, like bring in other subjects into my business. So I'm learning as well as like doing my business. So, um, make sure that just every day I'm learning, I am creative.
'cause every day could, one, one could be me all doing math one other day could be me all doing like artsy and doing cross and stuff like every day is different. And just my parents and me just trying bring in the subjects for me to do in my everyday life as well. It's doing wow, doing sounds amazing.
Yeah. Sounds so amazing. What was your day like today? What did you do today? What did you do relating to the business? So what I did today is I kind of like, I just like, woke up, I brush my teeth, I, I do my skincare, I got dressed, I said good morning to my mom and dad, just went downstairs, uh, checked with my team, uh, started like, uh, doing the making and then started doing other stuff and just like doing stories to keep.
Everybody updated. Um, and then, yeah, working with the team and everything I need to get done and then, yeah, now I'm doing a podcast. And now you're on a podcast. Great day. What a great day. How do you come up with new ideas for new products or new launches that you're putting out? Um, at the moment, um, I would say, Well, my full, well, how I create the idea of doing like my candles and stuff, like my full collection just released.
So how, like, I make it like, and I create the design of it is like, okay, so I'm going to use this vessel, like the beige vessel. I'm going to use this wax. Like, cause sometimes in different collections, I use different wax. Like if it's like pink wax or like orange wax or something. But like, we like put the wicks in and then we like, I see, and I start designing what the, the.
Label's gonna look like, is it gonna look like, oh, like the pumpkins, like, I have to come up with a name, like Pumpkin's World, and that's something that's related to, like, uh, Fall, and I start creating all the idea, then I start, um, putting it in, printing out the label, put the label on, and then I start making the other ones, and designing, and It's a, I really love it.
That's so cool. Does your community in places like Instagram, do they ask for certain kinds of products and kind of tell you what they want as well? So yeah, they also do that. They also say like, oh, could I like, I make custom candles. So people are like about the custom candles. And I have like this for my wedding or could I have this for like Thanksgiving or something?
And like it would be a picture of her husband and like her and stuff or a dog or something. And like we would like to just design it of the picture and then put it on the candle however they want it. And then we send it to them and. Oh my gosh, I love that. That's so great. I love that. Thank you. Oh my gosh.
I was reading something that you were talking about also in another episode or another, um, article online that you used to have a fear of public speaking. And I feel like a lot of people listening might also have that kind of fear. And, and actually for me, You know, I have a podcast now and I've interviewed hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people, but I used to also have a massive fear of public speaking.
So I want to know how you overcame that and how you are, you know, so great at speaking online now in person too, I'm sure. So I did when I was younger, I did have a big fear of public speaking because, um, I would have stage fright for a lot of people because sometimes like I mess up, I'm like. Oh no, I'm embarrassed.
So sometimes I over that and I walk out into stage. I'm like, okay, there's a lot of people, but I've got this. And I, I walk in and I'm, and I'm, and I think happy thoughts . And I'm like, I got this. I can do this. And I just speak however I wanna speak and then I come out and then I'm like, I wanna do it again.
That was actually really fun, . So, um, I would say just believe in yourself. Trust, trust. Um, yeah, and speak kindly to yourself, your inner dialogue, speak kindly to yourself. I love that. Yeah. I think, I think you made a really good point there because it's easy to get into the kind of. The rhythm of speaking that negative in a thought, and you really do need to believe in yourself and do need to be like, I have got the, give yourself a pep talk and, and get out there, get out there and try.
I love that. What is your vision for the business? You know, what are the next kind of years look like for you in terms of the ultimate dream? I know you want to get into retail. I know you want to get into these really big stores, but. What else is the dream? What's the vision? I have lots. So there's also, like, I want to be able to, like, do my own skincare brand.
I want to be able to do my own hair care brand. I want to be able to do my own body wash. Like, so many ideas. Like, so much more. And... Yeah. I've like about a bajillion of them. I'm excited a
message or some advice for anyone listening who is maybe thinking about starting a business or has a dream to start a business in the future? So I would say. Trust yourself, got this, like, like, chase your dreams and you are amazing. Everybody's different. Um, and there's a good one that I'd love to say that is, um, somebody said that don't let your inner thoughts, um, take over other people's opinions.
Mmm, that's a good one. Thank you for sharing that. I love that.
Welcome back. Here are the six quick questions.
Okay, so question number one is what's your why? Why are you building your business? I'm building my business because, um, I want to inspire people. I want to be able for people to chase after their dreams and like always believe in themselves. Oh my gosh. That's so special. I love that. So cool. A really important why.
Question number two is what has been your favorite marketing moment so far? So my favorite marketing, uh, has been, there's a time where my I, a viral went, uh, a viral video went viral, um, because, uh, I was doing it a day in my life. And that's when a lot of people just loved it. And I started, um, a lot of people started like, you know, ordering from me.
And then I started getting like lots and lots of followers and, um, people loved it. Um, but, um, yeah, but that was my biggest marketing strategy, but because That was, people really loved that and, um. I love that. That's probably how, probably how we found you. We found you on social media through your videos that were going viral.
So they're working. So question number three is where do you go to learn? So there's a couple things that I would say was there, there is a book that's. How to influence people and friends. That's a really good one. Um, just like about like how to like keep on conversation, like, uh, eye contact. Like, um, it's amazing.
I really liked that one. And then I also have a few mentors that I look up to, um, which is. The founder of SmartSweets, which is Tara. She's amazing. She's really kind. She helps me, uh, throughout my business. And she's really sweet and then I also have my mom, which she runs a, um, marketing business. And she, she's amazing.
Also the sweetest person. Um. She, hi mom. . I love Tara. She's also been on the show. Um, and her story is so inspiring. That's amazing that you have her to help you on the journey. I love that. Question number four is, what are your rituals in the day that help you have a great day? Uh, so I said earlier when I, I wake up like at maybe.
8. 30 or 5 a. m. however, um, and I journal, um, about what I'm going to do in the day and how I'm going to make it productive. So I like, uh, set a goal. I'm like, I'm going to reach this goal today and I'm going to do it. And then I start doing it and then I go to do my skincare, um, and then that helps my, like, my skin.
And then I, uh, start working on that goal. And, uh, start working on the day. That kind of makes me productive. I love that a good ritual sets the, sets the tone of the day. Question number five is what's a money mistake you've had in the business? I wouldn't, I haven't, I don't think I really had a money mistake before, cause I'm very careful.
Um, but I would say just look out for. the people that you are hiring and make sure that they do have a vibe with you and they are actually going to provide you good in the business. Yes, that is very true. I have wasted a lot of money making those mistakes. And question number six, last question, what is just a crazy story, good or bad, from your journey in building the business?
So, it's kind of hard to think because I really haven't, but I would say about that viral video about my, uh, Get Ready With Me, there was a lot of good, but there was a lot, I got millions of views on that video, but there was a kind of good and then a lot of bad on it, where it said kind of like, Oh, like, why aren't you in school?
Like, Oh, this is like, why go do his skincare? You're so young or like, you shouldn't be doing this. Like you're too young to have a business. You're going to fail. Like your mom and dad is going to do it. Like your mom and dad is actually doing this. So, but I would say, okay, it's fine, but they have, people have their opinions and that's totally fine with them.
I have my opinions too. And I, I choose that. I want to, I want to do what I want to do in my life. And. I won't let them stop me from controlling my life and what I want to do. And what I'm happy with is what I'm happy with, and what they're happy with is what they're happy with. But, I won't, I won't let them stop me.
Wow, that's crazy that people feel the need to comment that, but the internet is a crazy place. How do you protect yourself from things like that? Do you read the comments or do you now... Kind of not read the comments. I read the comments, but I actually read the comments. But I think they're quite funny, because sometimes like I'm like, just like I, there's a time where I was like scrolling through my ins Instagram and I was just looked at the viral video and I was just scrolling through the comments just locked into my phone because I thought they were really funny because that's a good attitude.
I love that. But yeah, I don't care with them. Sometimes there was a time where my mom was like, scrawled in. I was like, how do you, how do you do this? And I'm like, just block them. They're not going to do anything to Do you not care? Just block them. She's like, Stay away from it. Wow. That's a great attitude to have.
I love that. Is there anything you want to shout about that you're really excited about in the business that's coming up? Any new products? Any new things? Any new retailers? No. No, not really. I wouldn't, I wouldn't say so, but I would say, um, my Instagram is Ladies Romance and, um, my website is, ladies, my gosh, thank you so much.
I started this episode saying that you were the youngest guest we've had on the show, but I would also like to add that you are the most impressive and I'm so inspired by you. I'm gonna be forever your hype girl, if you need anything. Come knocking on my door. Thanks for coming on the show. No problem.