Loddon Valley Sweet Smelling Enterprise

Published on 13 January 2017

A Wedderburn mother and daughter have proven their fine nose for business with the runaway success of their sweet-smelling enterprise.

Mia Donaldson-McNeill and 13-year-old Mikala are the creators and drivers behind “Miki & Crew”, a home-grown success story producing soy wax candles, melts, tea lights and diffusers in fragrances ranging from Aussie Bush, French Pear and Persian Rose to Chai Latte, Raspberry Dreams and Musk Sticks.

Mia is the daughter of long-time Wedderburn real estate agent John Donaldson, while Mikala is about to tackle Year 9 at Wedderburn College.

“It started about three years ago with my auntie, Greta Donaldson, then living in Melbourne, who began making soy wax candles for a hobby,” Mikala said.

“We got into helping her and really enjoyed creating the different fragrances and colours, so Mum and I worked up a business name and it grew from there.”

Mia and Mikala made so many candles in those early days that they simply had to sell them.

“We started at the Wedderburn community market in 2013 and that’s proved a good base,” Mikala said.

“We found people liked what we were making and that gave us the confidence to try other markets.”

Among places the duo has set up shop are Bendigo, Mandurang, Charlton, Rochester, Inglewood, Dunolly, Echuca, Bridgewater, Wycheproof and Axedale.

Their products and flyers are also placed in retail outlets in Wedderburn, Pyramid Hill, Mitiamo and Tarnagulla.

“At first, we made the candles in different-sized jars, but soon moved into other products, such as melts and travel tins,” Mikala said.

“We aim to keep it affordable.”

Mia said Greta used to make her candles the old-fashioned way with jugs in boiling water, “but we have safer and more efficient methods”.

“We started with five basic fragrances and now have more than 50, sourced through Melbourne and Sydney, while our organic soy wax comes from America,” she said.

Prices range from $6 for a melts pack to $25 for a reed diffuser gift box.

 “Over the Christmas period we were extremely busy, with significant sales in our diffusers, melts and large jars,” Mia said.

She now happily works in the business full-time, while Mikala contributes her time where she can around schoolwork and sporting commitments.

“Mum does a lot of the candle making these days, while I do most of the packaging and presentation,” Mikala said.

“My Grandma, Shirley Donaldson, comes with us at times, Dad (David) helps with setting up and people from Wedderburn have been great in their support.

“I really enjoy experimenting with new fragrances and colours and we receive a lot of orders, as well as accepting some corporate and wedding jobs.”

New products introduced recently include aroma beads and car diffusers, both of which have sold extremely well.

“For the future, we have to keep coming up with new ideas,” Mia said.

“If the customer will buy it, we’ll try it!”

To find out more, go to www.facebook.com/mikiandcrew

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