Tips on how to start a business from the founder of The Raconteur

14 June 2024

  • Former lawyer Craig Andrade threw in his day job to follow his passion for creating luxury fragrances
  • Leaning into his skills and experience, he was able to objectively assess his business idea and identify its strengths and weaknesses
  • He shares his tips for starting a business, from finding your niche to expanding your market through collaborations

As a corporate lawyer, Craig Andrade was used to burning the candle at both ends, sometimes working 24 hours a day. Exhausted, he decided to turn his attention to a different sort of candle, throwing in his high-flying career to launch the artisanal luxury fragrance brand The Raconteur.

“I’d been a lawyer for 25 years, but I was starting to question what my career was demanding of me – it was a classic midlife crisis.”

Five years on, his business is going from strength to strength, with a range of candles, fragrances, and diffusers – and more products in the pipeline. So, we couldn’t think of a better person to ask for his top tips for launching a successful business.

Video: Narelda Jacobs meets a former lawyer who turned his nose to perfuming on The Brighter Side

Identify where the market is lacking

One of the first things that sparked Craig’s business idea was that he saw a gap in the market. “There aren’t a lot of perfumers in Australia,” says Craig, whose business heroes Australian botanicals. “As a creative, it meant this was a fertile place to step in and have a go.” The lack of local competition meant that he had a real opportunity to carve out a niche and innovate.

Be objective and assess your idea

As a lawyer, Craig was no stranger to assessing businesses that his clients wanted to invest in. It was his job to know the good and bad, and the weaknesses and strengths of the businesses. It meant that he was able to really look at whether his own business idea was solid and worth pursuing.

Understand the competition

“[You should] spend quite a bit of time on understanding the competitor landscape,” says Craig. Analysing your competitors will help you identify your point of difference, ensuring that your offerings are both competitive and distinctive. In-depth knowledge of what others are doing allows you to highlight what sets you apart and capture the attention of your target audience.

Make a business plan that’s focused on customers

Craig knew that building a base would take time and that people needed time to trust him. He found that once people saw that his products were good, his plan started falling into place. “The aim of attending trade shows was to work out the right alignment on quality, develop networks with extremely talented people in adjacent fields and then, hopefully, find some buyers. I got all 3 of those things.” 

Craig’s top tip for growth: find people to collaborate with

Collaborations help with growth. You get a network of suppliers and customers and an amplified benefit with a great product,” explains Craig, emphasising the value of partnership. Take, for instance, Craig's collaboration with singer and actor Troye Sivan on a custom fragrance, a venture that not only showcased their combined creativity but also garnered widespread acclaim. Craig's creation of a candle capturing the essence of the native flora and spices used at Bennelong restaurant is a great example of how collaborations can bring unique sensory experiences to life, further enhancing brand visibility and appeal.


For support on how to start, run or grow your small business, visit the small business hub or talk to one of CommBank’s small business bankers.

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Things you should know

This article provides general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as personal financial product advice. The views expressed by contributors are their own and don’t necessarily reflect the views of CBA. As the information has been provided without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, you should, before acting on this information, consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Terms and Conditions, and whether the product is appropriate to your circumstances. You should also consider whether seeking independent professional legal, tax and financial advice is necessary. Every effort has been taken to ensure the information was correct as at the time of printing but it may be subject to change. No part of the editorial contents may be reproduced or copied in any form without the prior permission and acknowledgement of CBA.