When Jamie Lavin was in fourth grade, she knew she wanted to own her own business.
Now, at 24, the young entrepreneur is making that wish come true.
She started out opening JL Photography, selling her photographs at craft fairs and pop-ups. But as cell phone cameras improved, photo sales dropped off and she knew she would have to expand her business.
In February 2020 the Stow resident started Simply Scrunch, selling scrunchies made from organic cotton, online and at pop up shops.
A month later, when the pandemic hit and she was laid off from her job, she expanded the business to include scented soy candles and greeting cards.
“I want to be my own boss because being able to sell quality handmade products makes me happy and all of the hard work I put into the business is just a fulfilling feeling when I can make others happy,” said Lavin.
She sews all of the scrunchies herself on her family’s vintage Singer Featherweight, and after inserting an elastic, hand-stitches the opening closed. They have been a hit and Lavin said she is constantly making them just to keep them in stock. She even takes custom orders.
She expanded further to offer soy candles, experimenting with a variety of different scents, with names such as Drunkin’ Pumpkin, which smells like wine and is popular at Honey Pot Hill Orchards, where she works part time in the fall. Her Just Before Decaf has a fresh coffee scent and Sunday Morning is reminiscent of maple and blueberry cobbler.
“I try to give some of them funny names,” Lavin said.
She has even collaborated with a bakery in Boston to create candles with scents reminiscent of the bakery’s best-selling cakes.
For further inspiration, she conducts polls on Instagram, asking potential customers what candle fragrances they like.
“I can’t just buy scents that I would like. I have to come up with different fragrances that I think people will like,” she said.
She makes each candle by hand, often spending the day, melting and pouring soy wax, which produces a much cleaner burn than paraffin, she said.
She recently added hand-decorated cheese boards to her inventory, adding her own decorative flair to the plain boards.
She hopes to make her business a full-time venture.
“I work on the business every day for several hours. I think I’m almost there,” she said.
She is looking forward to craft fairs and pop-up shops in the spring.
Locally, her items can be found at Honey Pot Hill Orchards, Xhale Massage & Relaxation and Nan’s Rustic Kitchen and Market, all in Stow.
“I am just trying to make handmade quality items that [people] feel good about buying,” Lavin said.