Job frustration leads to business creation: Meet Saisha’s Design, Decor, and More
SAISHA’S Design, Decor, and More, the brainchild of Sasha Benwaugh, found its genesis in a simple yet powerful driver: job frustration.
As a former site supervisor in the construction industry, Benwaugh harboured an unquenchable yearning for a creative outlet to call her own. This quest led her down the entrepreneurial path, exploring various possibilities that eventually led to the creation of her business. Having worked in event decoration for three years, she unveiled her brainchild, which is most notable for giving birth to the “Grace upon Grace Scents” brand. This journey was largely fuelled by her dissatisfaction with her previous job.
“I just felt my work was getting in the way of my creativity,” Benwaugh passionately shared with the Jamaica Observer in an interview.
In recounting her story, she explained to the Sunday Finance that although she contemplated quitting, she was never brave enough to do it. As many would call it, there was a divine intervention — an unexpected turn of events forced her out in 2020. Benwaugh then shifted her focus to aggressively researching business ideas when she stumbled on candlemaking.
She purchased her first candlemaking kit but admitted, “I bought a kit online, which I did not use because I just did not know where to start. So I had the kit for a very long time. Then I heard about a class, so I went and started to learn, and then I started to make them on my own.”
Creating candles quickly became an exciting endeavour for Benwaugh. She even designed her own labels, proudly bearing the “Brand Jamaica” mark, approved by the Office of the Prime Minister. The business started small, with an initial investment of $300,000 when it launched in October 2022, and Benwaugh continues to reinvest capital for growth.
In March of the following year, Saisha’s Design Decor and More found its first storefront location in the cool hills of Rockhall Square, Red Hills, St Andrew. The store showcases a wide range of products, but the highlight is Grace upon Grace candles. These candles are meticulously handcrafted from scratch, using environmentally friendly soy wax.
Soon after introducing her candles to the market, Benwaugh realised the need to set her products apart. This drive for differentiation led her to experiment with unique candle presentations. One of her distinctive offerings is the Café Latte candle.
“What we have done is put frosting on top of here [on top of the candle], so it looks a lot more food-like, and it smells really great as well,” she explains.
This transition in the candle presentation took place in December 2022. Benwaugh also introduced Fruit Loops candles, featuring a combination of various fragrances.
When I go to pop-up shops, I take samples with me, and whatever is left over, I make fun stuff like stars and hearts to prevent wasting the product. When I give them away at pop-up shops, people love them, and they say, “Oh, but I can’t choose between two fragrances,” so because they can’t choose, I say, Okay, I’m going to make a product that has all the scents,” she elaborated.
Grace upon Grace Scents offers seven fragrances, with prices ranging from $1,200 to $3,000. These fragrances include tropical scents and seasonal options like Christmas Eve, which Benwaugh describes as having a woodsy, minty aroma reminiscent of Christmas in a bottle. The Rose Gold scent leads with 30 per cent of revenue, followed by Coconut Berry with 25 per cent of revenue, while the remaining scents contribute to the remaining revenue.
To enhance the scent experience further, Benwaugh introduced wax melts, a novel approach to room fragrance. These smaller packages can be placed on a warmer, creating an enjoyable and versatile aroma.
“It is in smaller packaging than a jar candle so you can get more fragrances. So whereas you buy one candle in a jar, you can buy three wax melts and get three different fragrances,” she explained to Sunday Finance.
While the candlemaking business experiences seasonal fluctuation, Benwaugh prepares for peak seasons. Although the company doesn’t engage in direct exports, Benwaugh’s products have found their way to international destinations through the kindness of others.
Stacias Design, Decor, and More is in its start-up phase, but Benwaugh has ambitious plans to take its Grace upon Grace Scents brand into retail stores. Despite her perfectionist tendencies, which can lead to some delays, she’s fully committed to perfecting her product packaging to make it truly distinctive, offering a unique experience to her customers.