We had the good fortune of connecting with Katelyn Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katelyn, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Work life balance used to be one of my biggest brags about my job as a flight attendant. I worked 3-4 days a week, and every other day I did whatever I wanted. It’s my favorite perk of the job, and I think it makes me into a happier, more well-rounded person.
However, with starting Antisocial Apothecary and as it grows, my work life balance has gone out the window. I find myself signing up for markets on weekends when I have to work 4 days the week before or pouring candles at 10 p.m. after I’ve worked a long day. I do it because I want to and not because I have to, but it’s still physical labor and a lot of work.
I think most people who start small businesses sacrifice a lot of their free time to build their businesses into something successful, which is what I’m doing right now. I’m very lucky to have a flexible job where I can still have a lot of work life balance even if I dedicate 10 hours of my week to Antisocial.
I’m still learning how to make my work life balance work for me, while being a flight attendant and a business owner. It’s much more intentional now that it was before.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Antisocial Apothecary is a pandemic baby, born from the antisocial times of binging Netflix for months on end in 2020. I’m a flight attendant, so I took 4 months of voluntary leave in 2020. While everyone else was working from home, I was just at home in my apartment looking for literally anything to occupy my time. There has always been a candle burning in my apartment, and I’ve always loved everything that smells nice. Candle making came to mind naturally as a hobby, especially since I couldn’t physically go into a Anthropologie or a Bath & Body Works to get my fix.
After a few months of just making candles for myself, I started researching how to make candles that had good, clean ingredients. If I was going to make them, I wanted them to be the best. I wanted them to be something that I couldn’t buy in a store. Through my research, I realized how many ingredients caused cancer or reproductive health issues. For someone who has candles burning all day long, I knew that I needed to cut those ingredients from any candle I made, and I wanted to make sure that other people had access to candles that were safe as well.
With all of my free time (I still have lots of free time as a flight attendant), I created Antisocial Apothecary to bring candles made with clean ingredients to my friends, family and anyone who loves candles. Not only are the candles free from harmful ingredients and made from natural wax, they’re also pink, funny and relatable. I say they’re “less toxic than your ex.”
The journey hasn’t been easy, and I’m still growing and learning how to be a successful business rather than a hobby. I think that my candles are amazing, fun and different, but my biggest challenge is letting the entire world know that too. I do as many markets as I can getting Antisocial’s name out there and getting product into customers’ hands.
I’ve learned that candles are VERY hard to sell online. Everyone wants to smell first, which I totally understand is part of the experience. Making labels that appeal to customers with or without smelling has been my way of combatting that, but it’s a lesson I keep on learning and that keeps me on my toes with each new candle release.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I could talk about this forever, so I will just give you some highlights. I’m the most basic Atlanta girlie you’ll find. Some of my favorite restaurants are in Inman park. Del Bar, Sotto Sotto, Barcelona and Victory Sandwich Bar are definitely spots that we would hit. I’d also take them to Taqueria Del Sol in West Midtown.
I love a Beltline day. I know everyone hates when we bring the tourists to the Beltline, but it’s great people watching and you can bar hop super easily. My friends and I call bar hopping on the Beltine “bebopping.” Ladybird is a must always, even with the crowds. I need crowds in my life after the past 2 years. If it’s late enough, we’ll end a weekend night at MJQ because why not add a little spice.
Checking the events, comedy shows and concerts is something I try to keep up with too. I love random concerts like going to the Candlelight string quartet preforming Taylor Swift songs at City Winery, which is in April and May if anyone is dying to go.
I also love taking day trips to the North Georgia wineries. Monteluce is a favorite because the grounds are so beautiful.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d love to dedicate this to my best friends for always helping me set up for markets and letting me talk about candle business things 24/7 and to my parents for always buying more candles, even if they have 20 more at home.
Other: Wholesale opportunities: https://www.handshake.com/suppliers/antisocial-apothecary-11697
Bekah Beckman @bekahbeckman (these are the market images) ATL Girl Gang @atlgirlgang (stop smell the rosé hand photo)