Movers and Shakers | Angelica Bagot | Founder of Tribal Unicorn Candle Bar
Angelica is the founder of Tribal Unicorn, a candle brand launched as “the answer to boring, lacklustre, shop-bought candles”. Each candle is inspired by London Life, from the sweet pineapple and jerk vibes of Notting Hill Carnival to the candle-lit hip hop yoga classes in Shoreditch. Angelica launched her business in 2017.
What drove you to start your own business?
Making candles empowered me at a time in my life when I wasn’t receiving that positive energy elsewhere. I created items that made me happy to be in my own space, empowered me, represented my culture, feelings and moments in my life that reminded me of great vibes. Once I started to talk about my candles, customers expressed their interest in buying them. The business grew organically from there. I wanted to create items that suited my aesthetic, were eco-friendly and in some way had a nod to my culture.
What was your career path prior to starting your business?
Although I worked in the Media industry (as a Digital Social Media Producer specialising in video production), I have always taken part in projects on the side. I’ve made short films, freelanced and worked in various different roles. The main takeaway being the skills I have obtained throughout my journey. I never want to stop learning.
Tell us about the business planning stage; for example did you write a business plan.
I didn’t write a business plan as I’ve completed quite a few in the past and didn’t find them particularly helpful, I did however create a brand pitch deck and conducted the research needed to launch a brand in the homewares industry.
How far ahead do you plan and what keeps you on track and motivated?
I tend to plan at least three months ahead based on seasonal events. Christmas however is usually quite busy, so I start thinking about this six months ahead. I love using lists, Trello or Google sheets (colour coded) are the main tools that keep me on track.
Can you describe a typical working day?
A typical working day involves labelling orders ready for postage in the morning, then on to reading and replying to emails, scheduling social media posts, meetings with my team and then I go on to restock products. In the evenings I pack orders for the next day.
What has been the most amazing day in your entrepreneurial life so far?
It was winning the contract to work on the candles for The Brits 2021 goodie bags. It was such a large milestone for my little brand. It’s the largest order I’ve had to produce and doing so without a workshop was challenging, but these challenges teach me so much and I truly welcome them. It made me realise that I’ve come so far, looking back on these moments motivate me.
What has been your scariest moment?
Most probably the same as the previous question. Working on the candles for the Brit Awards 2021 goodie bags is the biggest challenge my business has had to face, production wise. It was also extremely scary at the same time. Will they like it? Will they travel well? Etc.
How do you work on making your business grow?
Planning ahead is probably the most important thing for me, without structure I can’t create a plan for the year. Consistency is the key to growth but also having achievable targets and not overworking, ensuring I keep my mental health in check.
What is the best thing about being your own boss?
Creating something from scratch, doing what you love every day and being able to provide opportunities to others.
What are the challenges of working for yourself and how do you tackle them.
At early stages of the business the majority of the ideas are coming from you, there is no one else to bounce ideas off of, you often aren’t confident that you’re making the right decisions for the company. There are so many different roles in a company, again at early stages, you are doing them all.
It’s extremely hard to compartmentalise your thoughts based on one business need when you are thinking about everything as a whole, all the time.
To tackle this I plan out my day and place three priorities on my list, everything else is done on another day. For longer term projects like a marketing campaign, I’ll work on a little each day or dedicate a block of time to work on and implement one idea.
Who do you admire or look to for inspiration as a business owner?
My dad is my biggest inspiration, he gave ‘business owner’ a meaning for me and instilled a strong work ethic in me from my childhood. He organised black soul train events in the 80s, has owned various night clubs and is one of the only black owned businesses on Kingsland High Road in Hackney. He has taught me a lot and I continue to learn from his teachings.
I also admire Sharmadean Reid the Founder of Beauty Stack, Conna Walker, founder of Celeb Boutique and Sasha Sabapathy, founder of Glow Bar. Seeing women in powerful positions, who have worked extremely hard to get there, is inspiring.
What piece of advice has had the most impact on your business? And who was it from?
A mentor once told me not to let anyone else success define your own. This has been with me throughout my whole business journey. Every day we see other’s succeeding on social media but we hardly see their downfalls or what it took to get there. Now I celebrate every little win and use this to motivate my journey but also to use my challenges as motivation.
What are the three books, websites or resources (professional or personal) that you would recommend to other business owners?
I absolutely love Daniel Priestley’s series of entrepreneurial books. Start with Oversubscribed, it will become your bible.
Hatch Enterprise are a great resource for founders looking to excel in their businesses. They’ve been really great to work with. Medium is another website I enjoy reading through from time to time. Entrepreneurs often share their personal thoughts on particular parts of their businesses that can be helpful for others seeking advice.
What other passions do you have away from your business? How do you relax?
I make sure I spend time with family and friends on weekends and days off. We can become so consumed in our work lives, we forget about our support systems and how important it is to take ourselves away from it all. I also enjoy working out, doing yoga and spending time with myself.
Connect with Tribal Unicorn on social: