Q: Company name :
A: Bluecorn Naturals
Q: Your name :
A: Jon Kornbluh
Q: Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
A: I grew up happily in suburbia New York where I attended and graduated from Edgemont High School. My final two years of high school I attended A-School, a school within a school which focused on experiential education, group dynamics, small classes and best of all…no grades. I had a strong balance between competitive soccer, the arts of dance and theater and lots of liberal politics. I graduated from the University of Vermont in 1990. I did take a break after my sophomore year to travel in Nepal, Guatemala and Costa Rica. Throughout my travels, I lived with families whenever I could and immersed myself in language study. I emerged with a strong command of Spanish and a deep appreciation for indigenous cultures. After UVM I headed west to find bigger mountains, more sunshine and less bugs. I quickly found the ski town of Telluride, Colorado where I have lived (regionally) for the last 25 years. In Telluride I found myself immersed
Q: What inspired you to start a new business venture or make significant changes in an existing business? How did the idea for your business come about?
A: It was the winter of 1991, in a one room cabin in Telluride, Colorado when Baker Steve taught me how to dip a beeswax candle. With no electricity, we worked by candle light, often dipping well into morning. When finished, we could barely move through the cabin while hundreds of still warm tapers hung from rope strung wall to wall. Today, Bluecorn Naturals is a small company dedicated to producing the finest pure beeswax candles you can find. From the act of lighting the flame to the warmth it brings, the candle experience is an essential part of our lives here. The wax made and used by honey bees as the building block of their hive, needs no improvement. It is a sweet, simple, renewable fuel that burns long and bright. We love what we do here and hope you will too.
Q: What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
A: Study your market. Seek out basic business education. Find a great consultant who can assist with big decisions.
Q: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Q: How many hours do you work a day on average?
A: 5 hours on Bluecorn Naturals.
Q: To what do you most attribute your success?
A: Perseverance. Early internet adoption. Small market niche.
Q: How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
A: Organic SEO.
Q: Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
A: I have no investors. I used credit card debt to finance my operations and I still struggle to find quality, low-cost operating capital from time to time. Not an ideal plan.
Q: What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
A: Remain flexible in your business plan – as markets change, so should you. Stay connected with your customers and know what they are thinking. Provide extraordinary, honest and timely customer service. Be good to your employees and do what is needed to create a harmonious, supportive workplace.
Q: Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
A: Although I am very happy running Bluecorn right now, it has been 24 years of continuous operations and I could see selling the company in 3-5 years.
Q: Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
A: Patagonia. They have made environmental concerns and global action a cornerstone of their business model while providing functional, beautiful and durable products.
Q: 2. The next section contains recommended questions. How important have good employees been to your success?
A: Good employees are a huge part of our success. The years when we had weaker crew and a division between
Q: How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
A: Too long.
Q: How do you generate new ideas?
A: Smoking pot and going for a long walk in the woods has always been a great help in the creative process.
Q: How do you define success?
A: Success is a concert between free time,earned income and positive feedback. When I have all three of these elements going I generally feel successful.
Q: How do you build a successful customer base?
A: First find your tribe. They are the customers that share your passions, your concerns, your ideals. Then market to your tribe in a strong voice that is thoroughly authentic to you. Don’t be afraid to alienate some small part of your client base. Be yourself and focus on attracting the people that really care about what you have to say or sell. Build an email list of this tribe and interact with them in consistent and positive ways. Ask them what they are looking for from you. Give them lots of valuable free content so that they open your emails and want to know what you have to say. Then, when it comes time to sell them something, they are excited for the opportunity.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
A: Setting my own hours. Working remotely. The pride of creating my own brand.
Q: In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Q: 3. The next section contains optional questions. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
A: Take some business courses, write a solid business plan, revisit that plan every 18 months and find affordable operating capital.
Q: How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
A: Early on is was very difficult for my family. A large part of our annual business came from a large, outdoor retail holiday market in the heart of Manhattan, NY. The show was open for 30 days and thus I was away from my family for 45 days each year missing Thanksgiving and Christmas with the family.
Q: What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
A: I no longer have any fear surrounding my business. if it died tomorrow I would survive and fins a way t thrive. All kinds of positive, new opportunities would emerge for me.
Q: How did you decide on the location for your business?
A: I made my business where I wanted to live. The San Juan Mountain region of Colorado and my community here are as important, if not more important than my business.
Q: If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
A: Nicola Tesla. He was the most brilliant man on the plant 100 years ago during a time of invention and innovation that was the precursor to the modern (current) world. His ideas and vision were buried for so long and it only now that they are being rediscovered.
Q: What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
A: Ski, hike, coach and play soccer, yoga, meditation, sing.
Q: What makes you happy?
A: See above. My children – I have two boys 11 & 13 years old.
Our goal is to become your one source for all your natural candle needs. We carry all styles of candles: votives, tea-lights, tapers, pillars, travel candles, glass and more. Buy it @ http://www.beeswaxcandles.com/