Like many mothers and daughters, Shannon and Alex Burch enjoy spending time together. However, what began as a mutual interest in wax melts, candles, and crafting has turned into a full-fledged, family owned business: Five Tree Creations.
The idea for the Burch’s business began after Shannon (’17) had a casual conversation with a friend about candle making. After learning about the process, Shannon says that she thought about how much she and her daughter, Alex, both enjoyed candles and wax melts and thought “this is something we can do!”
In the fall of 2017, Five Tree Creations began. Shannon, a graduate of Campbell’s Business Administration program, handles the business aspects of Five Tree Creations: production, inventory, and bills. Alex, who studied Social Work & Spanish at Campbell, is what Shannon calls the businesses’ “creative genius.” She designs the candle fragrances, names the products, and handles logos and branding. Both women explain that working together was a process of “finding what we each did well and letting go of other things.”
At first, Shannon and Alex kept things small; they sold at local vendor fairs and markets, content with making “a little extra money for vacations and Christmas.” Soon, though, repeat customers began reaching out to the Burch’s, asking if Five Tree Creations sold their candles in retail stores. This proved to Alex and Shannon that their business had much greater potential than garnering some spare change. They began pursuing Five Tree Creations more seriously, contacting various local businesses to get their candles into stores.
In 2018, Simply NC in Clinton began selling Five Tree Creations products. Business picked up even more, and in 2019, Shannon and Alex launched their online store and website to allow customers another way to purchase products. Five Tree Creations has continued to expand over the years, and this month, their candles will receive shelf space at an up and coming juice shop in Fuquay-Varina.
While Five Tree Creations has experienced quite a bit of success over the past few years, Shannon admits that it has not been a challenge-free journey.
“There are so many challenges to beginning a business,” she explains. “Finding the right branding to relay your vision of your product and then determining the price of the product has been difficult.”
Despite the difficulties of starting a business, Shannon explains that she felt her education in business from Campbell helped to give her a foundation of knowledge that she did not have previously. In the early 2000s, Shannon owned a coffee shop in Angier. She admits that while she did not understand how to make a business work then, her experiences at Campbell gave her “the knowledge and skills needed to make Five Tree a success.”
Alex reiterates the importance of her Campbell education, explaining that the mentorship of several professors, such as Dr. Ibarra and Dr. Sumner taught her the importance of getting outside of her comfort zone and giving her best, no matter the circumstances.
The Burch’s connection to Campbell continues to serve them through the networking program, Orange Owned. Started by Campbell’s Alumni Engagement office, Orange Owned seeks to connect alumni business owners with one another, while also creating an easy way for potential customers to find businesses that stemmed from the education they received at Campbell.
Shannon speaks to the value of the Orange Owned program, explaining that the network allows “small businesses to encourage and support other small businesses.” In addition to providing readily available support and recognition, both Alex and Shannon hope that Orange Owned will allow them to grow their business even further by introducing them to new customers.
As Five Tree Creations continues to expand, both Alex and Shannon express gratitude for the customers and mentors that have influenced the business’s success. Though their reach has grown since its early days, Shannon and Alex’s focus remains the same: to produce a high-quality, unique product that values the importance of home, connection, and memory.
To find more Orange Owned businesses in your area or to register your company with Orange Owned, click here.