University Community

Ohio University Chillicothe business major balances studies and entrepreneurship

Emma Martin, a first-year business major at Ohio University Chillicothe is a second-generation candlemaker with a schedule that might make most people burn out. Between her studies, co-owning a candle company, working for two Waverly businesses, and launching her own hot pepper farm, Martin embodies the entrepreneurial spirit. 

A Second-Generation Candlemaker

Martin's journey into candle-making began unexpectedly during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. Bored and looking for a creative outlet, she turned to her mother, who taught her how to make candles and helped her find the supplies needed to launch her new hobby.

Starting in her kitchen, Martin's candle-making hobby quickly turned into the business, B&E Candle Company, that Martin co-owns with her boyfriend Braden. Now, with a dedicated workshop outside her house, Martin not only crafts unique candles but also teaches popular interactive candle-making classes at Ohio University Chillicothe, a role she's been passionately fulfilling for two years.

Diverse pursuits 

Candle-making is just one facet of Martin's diverse portfolio of pursuits. She spends her summers working at Way Farms, the perfect summer gig for someone who loves the outdoors as she does. Martin also works for her mother at James Grace Boutique in Waverly, where she will soon begin teaching candle-making classes. And because she loves keeping herself busy, Martin recently ventured into hot pepper farming. 

Balancing business and school

Balancing her growing candle business with school commitments and other responsibilities was initially challenging for Martin, but she works to find time for herself as she juggles all her endeavors. By scheduling all her OHIO Chillicothe classes on two days she can carve out the time she needs for her businesses and other obligations.

During the winter, which is her busy season for the candle business, she dedicates up to 30 hours a week to candle-making, but depending on her order volume that number decreases to around 15 during the summer. Martin advises aspiring entrepreneurs to keep meticulous records and start within their means.

She also credits her support system, including her cousin Mandy Way of Way Farms, her parents, and her boyfriend, who is also her business partner. "He's always there to back me, and he makes a lot of supply runs for me," she said.

Martin is also a powerlifter, though she has had to cut back on that activity as she has gotten busy with other things. During high school, she took a class called History of Strength Building which inspired her to join the Waverly High School powerlifting team where she was one of three women on the team. She tries to stay active and hopes to see a powerlifting club or team at OHIO Chillicothe. 

During her first semester at OHIO Chillicothe, Martin particularly enjoyed her classes with Dr. Greg Obi, associate professor of management, and Deb Nickles, associate professor of instruction in English, and she looks forward to taking more classes with those professors.

Obi calls Martin a phenomenal student and appreciates her contributions in his classes.

“Emma brings a high level of preparedness, enthusiasm, and maturity,” Obi said. “Her contributions to class are always insightful, engaging, and intellectually valuable. She is quick to make the connections between course concepts and their application to real-world practices. She continually finds ways of being supportive to her classmates.”

Community-focused future

"I already see the impact of the management class I took fall semester,” Martin said. “I could take what I learned in class and apply it directly in my business," Martin said.

During her senior year at Waverly High School Martin attended the Pike County Career and Technical Center where she studied business management. As part of her early job placement, she worked with the Atomic Credit Union’s Student Credit Union where she enjoyed serving children in her community. 

As she pursues her business major, Martin is keen to apply the knowledge she is gaining directly to her entrepreneurial endeavors.

"I already see the impact of the management class I took fall semester,” Martin said. “I could take what I learned in class and apply it directly in my business," she said.

She looks forward to taking finance and economics classes that she believes will help her develop the skills she needs to support the financial side of her businesses.

Looking ahead, Martin envisions expanding her candle business and opening a store where she can host regular classes in addition to selling her products. She also wants to focus on contributing to her community.

"I love working with my community. I love being an entrepreneur, and I would also really like to continue to move forward with my candle business," Martin said. "I would love to have a candle store where I can teach people how to make candles regularly or have customers come in and make something custom."

Meanwhile, Martin’s candles are available at James Grace Boutique in Waverly, the Chillicothe Farmers Market, the Way Farms Waverly Market during the summer months, Amarissa Woods Tea and Spice Shop, and Two Roasting Joes in Chillicothe.

February 5, 2024
Staff reports