Throwback: The Story of Standard Wax (3/3)
This post is the third and final part of a three-part series on our history, growth, and changes over the nearly nine years of history - all leading up to a fun limited-edition launch featuring throwback products from our past!
Things were crazy in part two of this blog. CRAZY FUN. Just kidding, or am I? Either way, we were living the dream. But one thing wasn't quite going according to plan, and that was the fact that Andrew wasn't digging the entrepreneurial lifestyle and was ready to settle down into a "real" job, with real stability, real retirement benefits... you get the drill. I was thrilled to finally be paying my bills and not working for someone else. I was not ready to give this up. So in late 2016, Andrew officially cut all ties with Standard Wax, leaving me as the sole owner and operator of our little candle business.
I definitely felt a little lost, while feeling super powerful and free at the same time. Working with a business partner isn't a walk in the park. It's basically having another marriage to manage. But it's also another person to bounce ideas off of, balance you out, etc. Andrew was the creative force behind the early days of Standard Wax, and I was more of the vision. I could see where we were going and tell other people what I needed them to do to get us there.
2017 was filled with the power of doing things my way. I would keep chugging along, wholesale was hoppin, tradeshows were so much fun, and my production and support team kept growing. Everything was fin!
*record scratch* But it wasn't. I quickly realized that I had grown my company into a monster I no longer enjoyed. The fun was over. Now it was just really, really hard work. And a lot of the choices Andrew and I had made earlier on were started to leave a bad taste in my mouth. The biggest one was getting our ceramic candle vessels manufactured overseas. After a very stressful holiday season where our shipment of ceramics was delayed by several months and we had nothing to sell during the busiest and most profitable time of the year, I promptly vowed to never go that route again. I didn't agree with the business model, and ethically I couldn't continue down this path.
This meant the volume we could put out was about to go drastically downhill. This meant our wholesale business was going to change significantly. This meant the unique product we had brought to the market would be going away forever.
I acted quickly and began letting our wholesale accounts know what was happening. Did I know what was coming next? I did not. But when I make up my mind about something I act immediately, so this wasn't shocking at all.
It took most of 2018 and the early parts of 2019 to sell through the stock we had on hand. In this time, I also became pregnant which had me making decisions in a whole new light. Was this sustainable? Could I raise a baby and run this business? Should I just give it all up and go get a job?
I spent a lot of time reflecting on the things I loved about my business and the things I would rather live without, and by the time Ruby was born in March 2019 I had a gameplan.
When I got to the bottom of it, I loved bringing art into your everyday. I loved working with artists on limited-edition releases. I loved experimenting and trying new things, in the name of art and creativity. What I didn't love so much? Pumping out the same exact candles forever and ever.
And I had found a way to make that my entire business. I did a lot of internal work on my brand. Who am I truly working for? What do they want to see and hear? How can I help them live better, more beautiful lives?
In August 2019, the Standard Wax you see today was born. I brought to life the Candle Builder, allowing so much flexibility in the products I'm able to offer. I partnered with countless artists, supporting them and shining a light on their work. I left space for creativity and play with our monthly limited-edition launches. I streamlined production and simplified my life by hiring my mom, the best employee I've ever had.
I wrote our Manifesto, something I don't share enough but these words guide my every decision.
I'm in love with the life I've built while building this business and thrilled that it was able to grow and change right alongside me. I'm thankful for those of you that are new here and equally happy to see orders from names I recognize from those early days. Every website order, every private label project, every PO from a retail partner... all help support my little family and my employees and allow us to continue bringing art into your everyday.
Limited-Edition Throwback Bundles will be live for email subscribers on Tuesday, 7/21 at 9am. These special products are from the glory days of Standard Wax and I'm filled with a lot of feelings being able to share them with you now! Quantities will be super limited so if you're not on our email list, you can sign up here to join.
I hope you've enjoyed this history journey as much as I have! See you Tuesday for the launch!