"So, what do you do?" A question that comes up way more often than I'd like it to, because, as an introvert, I loathe the follow-up questions that are bound to follow.
"I own a candle company!" There, I said it.
"Oh my, wow! How on earth did you get into that?" See, followup questions.
Today, I'll be giving you all of the answers you've ever wanted about how Standard Wax started. This post is part one 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!
I've always been entrepreneurial. I used to make my little sister play office with me as children. After college, I tried to start both a hip pet supply store and a modern travel agency. When neither of those worked I gave in and settled for a job in marketing, making an attempt to use that degree I had. Perhaps starting a business just wasn't for me.
At my new job, I quickly learned that the person I was sharing a desk with was hired at the same time I was. This was a very small company, so it was interesting. As I dug deeper, I learned that we had both applied for the job, but they liked us both so much they decided to just hire us both. As the two newest hires we quickly became friends.
A few months later as the holidays rolled around, I learned that Andrew was an artist currently dabbling in ceramics. He had brought some pottery into the office for our desks and it was unlike anything I had ever seen. I asked if I could come over and buy some of his pots as Christmas gifts and honestly, the rest is history.
I chose my pieces and said "Ok, how much do I owe you?". His classic artist response was "I don't know, just take them." I don't remember the rest of the interaction that clearly, but one little sentence was spoken that changed my life forever.
"These would look really cool with candles in them."
To which Andrew replied, "Well, then learn how to make candles."
So I did. And I never stopped.
Photo proof of that first time making candles, circa October 2011 (crazy Hipstamatic filter and all)
I spent that winter learning how to pour candles in my kitchen as I lectured Andrew about needing to actually charge people for his art. I gave that first batch of candles out as gifts that Christmas and I'm not sure I had any plans of starting a business. But the response to my little winter arts + crafts escapade was wild.
I relayed the feedback to Andrew and somehow we found ourselves with a business name and a logo, selling candles at a little popup market. That market led to a wholesale order (60 candles! I didn't think we would ever be able to fulfill that order) and a website, which led to more markets and a couple more wholesale accounts.
We had endless business chats over wine and cocktails and created workspaces in our homes. Andrew and I were playing business, just as I had done with my sister. Except this time we were getting real money in return. I can't help but have a little faith in fate for leading me right to my entrepreneurial beginning, even when I thought it was a dying dream.
Stay tuned for part two of this series, which outlines the twists and turns of our growth as a company.
Some of the first candles, original branding, and those early markets!