Evan Koteles

Soy Vey Hanukah Candle Company

Evan Koteles is a technical recruiter by day and entrepreneur and musician by night.  He is also the creator and owner of Soy Vey Hanukah Candle Company.  This is Evan’s first venture but until a few months ago when he started a day job,  he was a full-time musician which is definitely another form of entrepreneurship. Balancing a day job and a start-up doesn’t leave much time for hobbies but when he needs to get away he writes songs in hopes of that too becoming a thriving business.   There is no rest for the weary!  Meet Evan.

1. What is the most interesting thing about you or your business?

The most interesting thing about this business is the product itself! My company is called Soy Vey Hanukah Candle Company and we produce the first Hanukah candles with a soy wax base so that they burn longer and cleaner than traditional candles. Something else unique about them is that they are vanilla-scented! Bigger than that though is the Shine A Light campaign attached to the business. Most people put very little thought behind the purchase of their Hanukah candles and yet, they are the focal point of Hanukah! A portion of each purchase of Soy Vey Hanukah candles will be donated back to the Jewish Federation to help families in need over the holidays. Hanukah is all about a miracle so we’re trying to keep that spirit alive and do more with our candles.

2. What makes business ownership worth it to you?

I’ve had a shameful amount of nights feeling stuck and not sure how to get what needs to be done done but, what makes it worth it is the feeling of accomplishment, progress and purpose I get from doing what I’m doing.

3. Describe Your Typical Day.

My typical day starts around 5:40 – trying to wake up and go to the gym. If I get to the gym, great, but if I don’t I send out a few emails for Soy Vey before heading to my day job. 9AM to 6PM I’m working at my day job with an anxious pit in my stomach thinking of everything that needs to get done for Soy Vey. 6:15 until 9 or 10 I’m folding boxes, eating and tweaking the website or sharing information on Facebook to build likes and awareness.

4. Would you ever trade running your own business for a 9-5 job?

Currently I am balancing the two which is very difficult. When my own business is stable and producing enough revenue to live on, the excitement and fulfillment is something I wouldn’t trade.

5. What advice would you give to someone considering business ownership or entrepreneurism? Are there certain skills or traits they need to be successful?

Advice I would give to someone considering starting a business is to commit. Anyone can achieve anything if they commit to getting it done and give it the attention it needs. Another important piece to the puzzle is having outlets. Whether its hobbies or just getting around people who support you, it is key to be able to get away when things start getting stressful. I don’t think there are specific traits needed to be an entrepreneur or to be successful. You just need to be hungry and resourceful.

6. Why do you think you’re successful? What does success mean to you?

Because this business is seasonal, I’ll need to wait until after Hanukah to answer this last question. When all of the boxes and Hanukah candles are out of my dining room I will feel a little more successful than I do right now haha. The real moment of success will be after all is said and done and I can write a check that will help families have a Hanukah they didn’t think possible.

Elizabeth has 15+ years experience in Public Relations, leading local, state and national accounts. Mother, reader, writer, marketer. Read more about me here.

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