candle making

The Making of a Maker

In the past, I considered myself creative. I’m talking about the tangible, things you make with your hands and can stand back and admire. I excelled in art class in high school and made jewelry during those youthful years. I used to save up money to visit the local bead store in Kingston, the one with the purple door, and spend it ALL on beads, right down to the last penny (#generationofthepenny) Back then it was all about tiger tail wire and crimps (remember that fad?!) and hemp jewelry, obviously channelling my inner hippie...necklace with your name anyone?! I even sold my creations, evidence that my entrepreneurial spirit has always been deep within my heart.

Then life got busy, my focus shifted, and eventually kids came along. It had been quite a while since I created something other than a sand castle at the beach. I’ve often wondered why I used to consider myself “crafty” though when I tend to keep the kids’ craft cupboard under lock and key... a variety of feathers, popsicle sticks and googly eyes collecting an increasing amount of cobwebs. I think it’s because I can barely keep my house in decent order that the thought of whipping out glitter and glue makes me shudder and release a pre-emptive yawn. Or maybe I should look at this with a different perspective....maybe the glitter would hide the dust.

Whatever the reason, I’ve stayed away from it, and while I have been curious and motivated at times, there are just SO many options out there now, I didn’t even know where to begin....WHAT did I want to make? Michael’s is such a fun store to visit, though I often leave feeling overwhelmed and that I am out of my league.

With the blogging I was doing, featuring women entrepreneurs following their dreams, I was surrounded by such amazing makers and I started to feel a pull to join the #makersmovement. I toyed with a few different ideas, but it came down to what should have been an obvious choice all along. SCENT.  I have always been obsessed with scent, it can evoke memories, create the perfect atmosphere...and cover up the smell of missed targets in the bathroom #momofaboy #letsjustbehonest. Then when I realized I could tie in the vibe of Arrow It Forward, of living my mompreneur life, with what I put on the labels....a fire had been lit (candle related pun intended).

Cut to me becoming a crazy person researching candle making at all hours of the night, working out the kinks in production, and making my first completed sale three days after the formation of this idea #thatshowiroll. Thank goodness I have a supportive husband who may not always “get” what I’m doing, but gives me the space to do so.

mom life soy candle

With my introduction to the world of making there are some observations I want to pass on to you. First, while I already had an ample supply of respect for makers of all types, this has risen tenfold. It is such a time consuming effort, and while I’m sure things get streamlined the more you make, the fact remains that makers devote much energy and hours to creating quality products. Second, the cost. We’ve all been at vendor shows and internally questioned the listed price (often naively thinking we could make it ourselves for much less) but PLEASE keep in is expensive to buy the things you need, to make the things you want to make, especially if you are keeping your business fairly small and can’t reduce cost by purchasing in large bulk quantities (one day I WILL order a skid of wax!). Another note on the point of cost, I guarantee the majority of makers aren’t charging enough, not paying THEMSELVES enough for the time and skill involved. The last observation, something that was unexpected, is how “in the zone” I felt when I was making, working with my hands. Normally my brain is in four places at once (which is why I drove away from the gas station yesterday with my wallet on the roof of the car #oops), but while I was melting, mixing, pouring, labelling....I wasn’t thinking about anything else! This was a welcome form of focus and flow...making meditation?

soy candle making

So yes, I’m excited that I can now call myself a maker, it’s a club I’ve wanted to be in for some time now, and it’s a club that has welcomed me with open arms.

candle display

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