Meet Eden & Julia
Eden D’Abreo and Julia Cai are both 3rd-year students studying commerce at Queen’s University. This fall they co-founded Pacific Incense (www.pacificincense.com), an online store selling incense sticks and holders. We asked them about their experience launching this startup and this is what they had to say…
We got the inspiration to sell incense because we noticed that incense was a growing trend. One of the most popular stores amongst university students is Urban Outfitters, who sells a wide range of incense with premium pricing. We noticed that their incense ranged from $10 to $30, with one gift set even reaching $79. Therefore, we felt that this was a trend we could capitalize on, but easily undercut competitors like Urban Outfitters on price. Conversely, more traditional incense that would be normally found in a small “new-age” type store, often lacks an online/eCommerce presence. Therefore, we believe that we would be able to fulfill a gap in the market.
The Big Idea
Pacific Incense is a trendy online store that sells incense that are curated to the customer needs and provides good health, good luck, anti-stress, love, and success. Incense are made of aromatic botanical materials, which release fragrant smoke when burned. Some people use it to help with meditation or spiritual-connect, others simply burn them for its calming properties when trying to unwind and destress. Incense are similar to the wave in popularity of scented candles, people love the exotic, ambiance-setting smell and smoke of incense. Burning incense has been a popular practice for hundreds of years across countless cultures and religions to promote mindfulness, peace, inner-awareness and a profound connection with the universe. Studies have revealed that burning incense has the ability to promote mindfulness and concentration and it can also stimulate the mind and boost creativity.
We offer incense sticks and holders that are minimalist but aesthetically pleasing, and most importantly affordable! The incense holder is simplistic and wooden that caters to our “earthy” brand image. We also added our own hand-crafted touches to the holders that signify our branding. To complement the incense holder, we also carry many different incense stick scents that include: Linen, Bamboo, Apple Cinnamon, Lemongrass, Lavender Camomile, Sandalwood. Our customers often tell us “wow, that is such a good price” because most places that sell incense sticks are much more expensive.
The Biggest Challenge
Packaging was an area we initially struggled with and were forced to adapt several times throughout the timeline of the project. Packaging was something we all highly valued and wanted it to be very aesthetic and ‘instagramable’. It was also one of the biggest aspects that differentiated Pacific Incense from low-cost incense you could order from Amazon or at a new-age shop. We struggled finding envelopes that were the brown, rustic colour we desired that also fit the dimensions of our incense sticks. So, we were forced to create the envelopes ourselves out of regular paper. This was a very time-consuming process and also result in less consistency across products. Furthermore, the total cost of our packaging material ended up outweighing the cost of our actual product. While the nice packaging allowed us to price at the high level we did, the weighting of these costs was not ideal. We also found that at the booths, when people were building their own ten pack, it took too long to put them in the brown envelopes. Instead, we simplified the process by just tying the sticks together with a ribbon and putting them in a brown paper bag with light blue tissue paper. We also used our sticker to easily brand the bag. We found that this was a much more effective way of packaging as it was less time consuming and allowed for free advertising while the customer walked home with his or her bag. Therefore, we only used the brown envelopes for orders we need to ship.
Plans for the Future
As a few of our team members will be leaving on exchange for the next semester, we will, unfortunately, be taking a break from Pacific Incense. However, we are considering relaunching the brand for summer. So stay tuned!
Calls to Action
Connect with us on our social media platforms:
Shop our Incense before we stock out at www.pacificincense.com