Interview with Katie Sahdev, Founder of EKA Scents

Have you ever wondered what your own version of success is? or even your friends? And that their version of success could mean something completely different to yours? We're not just talking about becoming the CEO of a a FTSE 250 (although dream big girls) but the real life honest versions of success.

As part of our mission to give you the confidence to conquer your world, we're investigating what that personally means to as many women as we can chat to, whether it's working a job that allows you to travel the world, saving enough money to move out of your parents house, bossing the boardroom or leaving at the end of your shift to enjoy the finer things in life. We're creating more transparency around success to help you realise your own version, inspire you to put a plan in place to achieve and execute it so you can conquer your world confidently. 

Today we read all about how self confessed candle addict, Katie, found the confidence to start her own business after years of working in the fashion and gifting industry and chasing around two small children.

After years of burning candles and benefiting from the properties of certain oils, Katie wanted to share her fascination for mood enhancing fragrance with the world and EKA scents was born. And what is better than a gorgeous smelling candle burning in your home? A burning candle with an empowering phrase or note just to remind you of how special you are which is why every one of EKA’s candles are customisable and personalised.

Katie Sahdev, Founder of EKA Scents

Katie Sahdev, Founder of EKA Scents

LIFE AND SUCCESS

What is your definition of success and what does it personally look like for you? 

It sounds so cheesy but personal success for me, genuinely, is being able to live a happy and well rounded life. It has taken me a long time to define what happiness looks like for me…. for me it’s the people around me who always come first and if I can have a positive impact on their lives too then that for me is my ultimate success.


That doesn’t sound cheesy at all! What is your strategy to that? How do you plan to make such a positive impact on others? 

I don’t really have a strategy as such, I’m usually a ‘winging it’ kind of gal but to be honest that suits me fine!  As long as I am able to help and support the people that need me and stick to my own moral compass then I will just keep doing what I’m doing.


Simples! How different is your version of success from when you were in school? What did you want to be when you grew up?

Oh wow, good question! It’s very different. When I was younger I was definitely financially motivated and I dreamt of the material things which I felt would make me successful - expensive cars, handbags etc. There is nothing wrong with striving for these things but they are certainly not the be all and end all for me.

At school the careers advice I got was that I could be a nurse or a teacher! I didn’t want to do any of those things - I actually wanted to be a beauty therapist and own my own salon. I used to have family members queuing up for my manicures from the age of about 10! I didn’t go down this road in the end of course….


Me too! I had a massage table on my Christmas list for years. So what has been your biggest achievement so far?

Cheesy I know but I have got to say having my two kids, Charlie & Lily. They bring me so much joy and can always bring a smile to my face even when I’m in a mood. I’m genuinely so blessed to have them.


CAREER

Why/when did you decide to start your business EKA and how did you find the confidence to do so?

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I launched EKA back in November last year but had been working on the idea since the beginning of 2018. I come from a retail and product background so it was not a completely alien concept going into this field. At the time I was at a bit of a crossroads in my life and I genuinely thought it was now or never. I’ve always wanted my own business and craved the flexibility that would bring with my young family so I just decided to go for it. My motto is and has always been ‘If other people can do it why can’t I’. 



Exactly - I love that motto! What is it like owning and running your own business? What are the positives and challenges of being a female founder?

It’s tough but so worth it. The hardest part for me is not being able to switch off, you have to become knowledgeable in all areas of your business - marketing, sales, accounts, social media, the list goes on - this is what can be overwhelming at times and and can feel like you're on a bit of a rollercoaster.  On the flip side though the highs definitely outweigh the lows, the biggest high is the people I have met along the journey. This has enriched my experience no end and although I work independently I definitely feel like I have a good support network around me from my customers to other business owners who I have connected with at events or over social media. 

How would you describe EKA and the brands mission/purpose?

EKA is a feel good brand, we like to keep everything light and positive with plenty of good vibes! Our mission is to spread joy through gorgeous fragrance and offer an incredible product that can be personalised too.

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Beautiful fragrance definitely spreads joy. For those of us who are newly discovering EKA what can we expect to see in the upcoming months?

Lots of fabulous interiors and travel inspiration and 4 new fabulous fragrances that will add a pop of colour into your lives too - I can’t say anymore than that at this stage!  

Exciting, we can’t wait to share them with everyone and the EKA way of life, for anyone who is unsure of what that is please explain?

It’s all about celebrating your friendships and relationships with others because each and every one of them is totally unique and that is just so wonderful and should always be cherished. 

AMEN! What is the inspiration behind your scents and how can they benefit you? 

When selecting our fragrances I want each one to evoke a unique feeling of happiness and wellbeing.  Positivity, calm, relaxation…. we have fragrances that will suit your mood and will genuinely enhance your mood. The customiser section on our website will help you find your perfect scent according to how you want it to make you feel - it’s very clever! We are always happy to respond to emails too if anyone needs help or advice on what fragrance to choose.


Very helpful! So what is your favourite EKA scent?

Geranium & Patchouli - it is so relaxing and is like being in a Spa! Who doesn’t love a spa? It is perfect to unwind with after a busy day and brings calm and peace.


CONFIDENCE AND SELF CARE

How would you define confidence and when do you feel most confident?

For me confidence is when you can put yourself out there without worrying what other people will think - not being afraid about being judged or critiqued by others, just saying to the world, here I am, take it or leave it! I feel most confident when I’m talking face to face with people, one on one - I find it so much easier than translating messages on social media / emails etc. I love building a rapport with people and building relationships and for me that has to be done face to face. 

Also, never underestimate the confidence a bright lipstick can give you, get the right one and you feel like you can conquer the world!

Could not agree more with the face - to - face, so much better and deeper conversation than email! A little more personal, what would you say has been your biggest struggle with self-confidence that you have had to overcome so far?

I am actually not a very confident person (despite people thinking that I am) so social media has left me with really low confidence at times. Why haven't people liked my image? Why has that person not replied to my message? Is my product and content not good enough? Should I just give up? These are all questions I’ve asked myself and it can be demoralising but you just have to keep going and know that every rejection and set back makes you stronger and ultimately will drive your success.

It can be really hard when you put yourself out there and as a business owner we so often treat our business as an extension of ourselves. So what does Self-care mean to you and what is your favourite way to practice it? 

Self care is very important to me, especially since having kids, my free time is usually taken up ferrying them to tennis, football, gymnastics, swimming….. I have to really make the effort to carve out time for myself. I love yoga and have recently started running too. They both help to clear my mind and help me to refocus. Of course I also love nothing more than a long soak in the bath with EKA candles burning and a glass of something bubbly.

 
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What has been the best life advice you have ever received?

You can’t be everything to everybody and you need to learn to say ‘no’! It’s taken me a long time to master this as I love to help others but this can sometimes be to the detriment of myself and has left me exhausted and run down at times. I feel like I have the balance right now and it makes for a much calmer and happier life.

Agreed - what advice would you give to anyone who is perhaps struggling to find the confidence to conquer their world?

Things take time….. however small, steps in the right direction are still taking you towards your goal. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help! We can’t be experts at everything…. reach out to people and you will be surprised how happy they will be to help you. Go to networking events, meet other people who are in your field, build your community and this will provide you with so much support.



QUICK PICKS

Spring interior must have?

Mustard yellow is one of the key colours this season so I would suggest popping to your local Homesense and grabbing yourself some accessories. It’s amazing how some new cushions, throws and vases will update your interiors and will give you a cheery update that will see you well into the summer!

 
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Favourite way to spend a night in?

Movie night with the family and a nice bottle of cold Sancerre!

Favourite book, podcast, or show of the moment? 

I love the Holly & Co. podcast at the moment where Holly interviews the founders of well known businesses who have gone on to achieve great success. I love hearing about their stories and humble beginnings - so inspiring.

Go-to quick weeknight meal?

Cod fillet with a chilli and caper sauce with wild rice. So delicious and super easy and quick!


Favourite treat meal? 

It’s got to be a burger with stilton, fries and plenty of coleslaw! This is making me hungry! 


Favourite place to travel? 

India has a special place in my heart due to many of my husbands family being there. It is such a vibrant and colourful place with friends and family at the heart of everything - we are planning to take our kids next year for the first time, I can’t wait for them to experience it too.


To find out more about EKA scents, Katie’s story and her absolutely beautiful collection check out www.ekascents.com plus there are some great interior design tips over on her blog.

Follow on Instagram: @eka_scents