Sydney candle maker turns hobby into global business House of Nunu
When 34-year-old Nura Hatami was looking for something to help her relax after work, she had no idea it would lead to a very successful business.
But that’s exactly what the Canberra native did, going from making candles in her kitchen to running House of Nunu (Nunu is Ms. Hatami’s childhood nickname), an online interior store. which attracts thousands of customers from all over the world.
“I made my first candle in 2011 and at the end of the year I started selling them commercially,” she explains.
“For a few years, House of Nunu remained a secondary activity. After years of taking regular baby steps I finally felt more confident to take bigger steps and life also gave me a bit of a rattle that eventually caused me to re-evaluate where I wanted to spend my time and my energy.
The “rattle” of life also prompted Ms. Hatami to take out a $ 50,000 loan to get her business off to a good start.
“There are obviously risks involved in doing this, but for me it was more important that I jump in rather than playing it safe and wondering what could have been,” she said.
“I also grew up with entrepreneurial parents. My dad built a thriving business from scratch after moving to Australia from Iran in the 1980s, so in a way, the idea of taking risks isn’t that foreign to me.
Launching household items in an already saturated market, Ms. Hatami knew it was important to carve out a niche if she was to be successful.
“I created House of Nunu to fill what I thought were ‘gaps’ in the market. Modern and playful pieces, yet classic and sentimental, ”she says.
In order for something to be sold by House of Nunu, Ms. Hatami says that each room must “bring joy and add beauty” and tell a story.
In fact, according to the entrepreneur, storytelling might just be House of Nunu’s biggest point of difference, with the room names being inspired by events in his life or to evoke ideas and emotions in people.
“Each candle comes with a short poem that sums up the feelings behind its name and its scents,” she explains.
“’My Lincoln’, for example, is a tribute to my late grandmother who loved to grow beautiful and luscious Mr Lincoln roses. The candle itself uses essential oils that play directly into this memory of the scent of the roses in her garden.
“The sense of smell is such a powerful thing – a puff can uncover a range of nostalgic emotions, the same way a song can take you back to relevant times in your life,” she adds.
Benefiting directly from all the time we spent at home and shopping online, House of Nunu saw a peak of growth in 2020, which continued this year.
“We had a lot of firsts in 2021 with new product lines, including glassware, tile furniture and textiles,” says Hatami.
“House of Nunu has just expanded its reach to overseas markets, now with a presence in Hong Kong and Asia. Our next goal is to expand into the United States and Europe. In our experience, word of mouth from our customers has been the most effective driver of our brand in new markets. “
While expanding into new markets and regularly selling out-of-stock is exciting for Ms. Hatami, she says she is keen to make sure the business is “at all times, aligned and genuine with my goals and principles “.
“The biggest challenge for me was learning to juggle work and life. Running a small business can be tedious and you need to be disciplined to set aside time to balance your priorities and rejuvenate yourself, ”she adds.
“In the small business world, there is no such thing as a simple 9 to 5. Adhering to these core values serves more or less as a compass – guiding you on how and when to move forward, turn away or pedal back.
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