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A Day in the Life of: Chantel Camilleri of BonLux

Nov 23, 2015

by Laura Quattrocelli

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Chantel is the owner, maker and creator behind the heavenly scented candle range and Etsy store BON LUX. From a background in graphic design and fashion, Chantel moved to Melbourne from Sydney where she set up a gorgeous home and office in the heart of the Northern Suburbs. Spending her days juggling kids, making and designing, we took some time to visit Chantel and hear about how she has turned her Etsy store into a successful creative business.

Tell us about what a typical day in your life is like?

6:00am Woken by enthusiastic early riser 5 year old for cuddling, wrestling and jokes in bed.

7:00am Breakfast! Stefan (my husband) makes coffee, (sometimes he has baked croissants!) and we all eat together, before he leaves to ride to city for work

8:00am This is usually my social media post time-get it done quick, while kiddo is getting dressed/fooling around/distracted

8:30am Take 5 year old to school, drive back to studio via Post Office to post previous day’s orders.

10.00am Coffee time. Then out to studio-open windows, choose tunes for the day, check emails, check etsy store, update accounts, look at social media, think about whats on for the day.

bonlux.etsy.com

A snap from inside Chantel’s studio

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11.00am Switch on heat pads to start melting wax for candles that need pouring that day. I pour to order, in small batches, so sometimes its a wholesale order, sometimes topping up stock levels for etsy store, or pouring multiples for upcoming markets. While wax melts, I make perfume batches, set up votive glasses, set wicks etc. During wax melting waiting time, I look at inspirational images on Pinterest, look through etsy for new things to like, daydream…

1:00pm Lunch time-sometimes meet a friend for lunch nearby, sometimes I visit Nicole at Duckywear in PAM lane Preston Markets, sometimes I sit in the garden with the birds and vegetables and eat rice crackers with cream cheese.

1:30pm Back to perfume blending, melting wax, pouring a batch of candles. Finish off some candles, clean, package them up.

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2:30pm Pack up any orders to take to post office/book couriers, clean up messes

3:15pm Pick up kiddo from school, sometimes we drive to suppliers to pick up things, sometimes we stop somewhere for afternoon tea, sometimes we come home for a snack, sometimes kiddo does some ‘art projects’ in the studio while I finish off an order, then homework, bath, book

6:00 – 7.30pm Stefan rides home from work in the city, we cook dinner together, eat, hang out and then bed time for kiddo

8:00pm Stefan and I chat about work, he designs all the marketing & print material, is working on the website, and builds all BON LUX displays, so sometimes after dinner is the only time we can squeeze this in-but it is nice to work with him and a gin & tonic!

bonlux.etsy.com

What about your weekend Routine?

We try to sleep in on weekends, but anyone with young children knows this really is just a dream! On weekends, we often visit True North cafe in Coburg for breakfast, then stop to look at nice stores round Melbourne’s Northern suburbs, and buy some cheese and vegetables for Stefan to make pizza or something else delicious on weekend. Sometimes we go to NGV or Heide Museum to see the latest shows, or drive somewhere to find a new doughnut shop we’ve heard of, or take the skateboard to the skatepark. Because we work long hours in the week, we really try to do something fun & artistic as a family to keep us dreaming!

I do work on weekends too! Sometimes its selling at a market, or sometimes its the longest working day I can get during the week, so I spend a day packing orders or pouring candles to catch up, while boys do boy stuff.

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Secret Tip to Etsy Success:

Plan, work with good people, believe in yourself, step outside your world to stay inspired.

I always have a plan in my mind which I work towards achieving. Just putting things on the calendar is useful. Being organised is really satisfying, even though you can never know everything which might pop up!

I value the relationships I have made during the first year of my business starting up-I worked with an incredibly talented designer, who happens to be a good friend – Holly Canham on my identity, and that was such an amazingly good starting point for BON LUX.

I basically went forward after that experience, and looked for people who I could connect with, who were genuine and understood what I was trying to do with BON LUX. I have made fantastic friends in a year with lovely supportive local & international stockists, suppliers, fellow market stall holders, event organisers, photographers…this set the good foundation of my business and a lot of unexpected opportunities have come out of this.

Believe in yourself -this is pretty hard, especially when starting up, but if you really have a good product, believe in it! Keep trying!

Really try to get out to see exhibitions, movies, shop, go to markets, listen to new music, visit cafes, travel anywhere…all of this has helped me to dream, come up with new ideas, solve problems, see different perspectives…

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Chantel in her studio

If you want to see some of Chantel’s gorgeous candles you can visit her store here.

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