The Candle Maker

  1. promethadmin
  2. August 3, 2012 9:34 pm

The Candle Maker

My endeavors into candle making started 10 years ago. A friend of my brother’s opened a small candle store in the summer of 2002. Coincidentally, she was also planning a wedding and needed someone to run the business while she was on her honeymoon. I was originally hired as a sales associate: run the cash register, assist customers, up-sell product, etc. At the time, I never imagined I would one day be making my own candles. This is my history of candle making.

 

Originally, candles were purchased from a vendor to fully stock the shelves because production was very slow and cumbersome: a lot of time was spent toiling over stoves, melting small amounts of wax, and pouring candles into just a few candle molds. First, wax has to be melted. Second, wick needs to be primed. Third, molds have to be strung with wick. Fourth, scent and color additives have to be mixed into the melted wax. Then comes waiting for the wax to cool to the correct pouring temperature… Hand pouring candles takes a lot of time regardless of the circumstances, and it takes even longer when you are only able to pour a few candles at a time.candle1

 

Needless to say, the process was slow in the beginning. However, business rarely waits for you to be ready and for everything to be perfect. Customers began coming in more frequently, sales were increasing, so it came to a point where candles were not being made fast enough to keep the shelves stocked. Incidentally, the owner had made a commitment to phase out the store-bought pillar candles and only carry pillar candles that she made in the store. That made things very difficult and incredibly stressful.

 

So, what does this have to do with me?

 

I distinctly remember the day that things changed: the day I went from sales associate to candle apprentice. The store had a small workshop in the back with a picture window cut out, so customers could see the candles being poured. I was working the register one day, and I saw this poor woman, on the verge of meltdown, trying to do too many things at once. I didn’t say anything. I just walked into the workshop, picked up the wick spool, and started prepping molds. And I’ll never forget the look of, “thank you,” on her face. We never said anything, just kept working.

 

It was the start of one of my favorite friendships. We were so in sync during those first few months that we had our own language when talking about candles. There have been a lot of long nights spent at that candle store. Over the years, we became pretty inseparable. We’ve shared birthdays, holidays, funerals, heartbreaks, laughs. Mostly laughs. And when one would fall down, the other would step in to pick up the pieces. I never once felt like the things we did for each other were forced. It was a kindred relationship of giving that kept giving for the sake of giving and never took. Few people get to have that kind of friend, and I am forever grateful for that time.

 

That was it. I was hooked. Two or three years into working at my friend’s candle store, I knew that this was what I wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to make candles. The hours spent in the workshop were always peaceful and relaxing, and the world always made sense when I was prepping molds. For a long time, I had always wanted to buy half of the business and become business partners with my friend, but that never worked out. My path took me in another direction.

 

After five years, I had started a family and took a job at a local resort hoping to start a career in the Food & Beverage Industry. I spent three and a half years there developing skills in sales and marketing before the economy crashed and I was laid off. I then took a sales position at a software company as an Account Manager where I have been employed for the remainder of this 10 year adventure. Meanwhile, I had always been in and out of my friend’s candle store showing up to make candles when she needed help, or being on hand for special events. I had also kept it in the back of my mind that I wanted to make candles.

 

This past spring, someone who knew of my candle making dream, looked at me and said, “You’re almost 30, if you’re going to do it you’d better get on with it.” The sound of “30” literally made my whole life flash before my eyes. I have never been big on age, and I have always felt that 30 is the fast track to 100. I thought to myself, “Where did all of that time go, and what am I waiting for?” I realized I had been waiting for 8 years for something to fall in my lap without putting forth any effort to earn my goals. With 30 pending in the distance, I had a sense of urgency, panic, and anxiety that what was left unfinished by 30 would never be actualized.

 

“30” also queued up the entire logistics of starting my own business in an epic epiphany. I saw myself toiling away in a workshop over hot wax. I picked out real estate for a storefront location that will be open in 2 years. I even saw myself in ten years time, and how the business will be operating. I saw everything down to the last detail, so I spent a couple of months writing a business plan. I then put together forecasts, profit margin figures, P&Ls. The final steps included pulling together funds and starting production. More on that later.

 

As I conclude this entry, I can proudly say that 30 hasn’t happened yet, but I am now a business owner, a candle maker of my own, and I am well on my way to building a successful company.

1 Comment

  1. Ron Brooks says:
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Nice Story . . especially the hitting 30 thing . . wow thats a big one . . been there done that :) Have you thought of creating life figures from the wax?


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