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The Copper Bell: from side hustle to scented success

Katrina Bell knows the smell of success. In 2019, she started The Copper Bell as a fun passion project making candles. After a companywide layoff in 2020 left her unemployed, Katrina turned her candle-making side-hustle into a full-time job.

Today, The Copper Bell is a widely successful Canadian online business best known for its phthalate-free, scented soy-based candles with humorous names like ‘Déjà Brew’ and ‘This Sh** Sucks.’ Katrina Bell continues to be the face of the enterprise she’s built that operates out of Guelph, Ontario, shipping to places across Canada and the U.S.

Katrina Bell

A solution that smells good (and makes us LOL)

After giving birth in 2017, Katrina discovered that the scented candles she once loved burning began to give her headaches. Through research, she learned that many people get headaches from paraffin wax, found in most commercial candles.

This realization sparked Katrina’s interest in candle-making and launched her journey of creating headache-free alternatives to the candles she once loved.

“[It was] just a lot of testing and trial and error making things for myself and for my friends. Eventually I found a way to turn it into a business.”

CA : The Copper Bell : long time no sea candle

Katrina experimented with various types of wax, eventually settling on soy wax as the base for her now-infamous soy candles. She also experimented with unscented candles but found a way to incorporate scents using phthalate-free fragrances.

“We are all overwhelmed and stressed these days. Scent plays a huge part in relaxing or setting a mood. It makes you feel cozy.” Her candles aim to provide comfort to any home. They also add humour with their funny, creative titles designed to make people laugh and smile.


Finding a .CA domain that rings a (copper) bell

The decision to create a website was to make The Copper Bell’s business operations, such as placing and processing orders, more streamlined and time efficient. In April 2020 Katrina secured her .CA domain. She bought the domain through Shopify and used one of their e-commerce templates to build The Copper Bell’s website.

“[Choosing a domain] was a really big conversation. I like to involve my customers, so I had asked them and other small business owners: should I get a .com or a .CA? Ultimately, I chose the .CA because I wanted it to be front and center that I’m Canadian and this is a Canadian business. Since my customer base is 95% Canadian, it felt like the obvious choice.”

After a quick search to make sure the name she wanted wasn’t taken, Katrina bought and bolstered her domain portfolio with other website domain names that were close to the one she selected.

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Katrina spends a lot of time on social media and believes her business is more about, “Nurturing relationships rather than trying to make a sale.” Leveraging platforms like TikTok and Instagram allow her to become the face of her business. Showcasing her personality alongside her product has been a huge driver for Katrina’s success.

CA : The Copper Bell : screengrab

The future shines bright

According to Katrina, “I spent a lot of time figuring out how to be a business owner, not just a candle maker.”

Her advice to other entrepreneurs starting is to, “Get your website up and running and don’t worry about it being perfect before you even start.”

CA : The Copper Bell : product shot

“I definitely want [my business] to be bigger than it is, but I’m happy with where I’ve gotten it to.”

The Copper Bell recently gained some extra hands which means more time for Katrina to focus on growing her company and taking it to new heights.

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