Let it be noted that this was right around the time the kennel died. We are not sure, yet, what is going on with the dogs in our home. Perhaps they're just here as pets for the rest of their lives and we'll never have puppies again. Because this is a real possibility that we're facing, we were kind of looking for another source of income to replace the kennel. Or at least a small portion of what the kennel made for us. Anything to help.
Christmas happened, and we talked a bit about making candles, and decided that I'd add them to my Etsy shop and see what happened. The first of January, I spent nearly 2 weeks lining up craft shows for the rest of the year, because I'd need to get my product discovered to gain a clientele for Etsy. Candles are something you need to experience before buying blindly from an online shop. My weekends are booked, and some months are crazy busy with the scheduling. I'll be crazy busy all week, too, restocking my show stash for the next weekend if things go well. I'm not sure where I'll find this time, but it'll happen. January was a blur for me anyway what with designing a label that worked for us and product testing and market research and craft show booking and finding local suppliers for the things we'd need and all the other things that go along with learning a new trade and starting a new business. If January worked, and nobody in the family died from my neglect, the rest of the year would be okay, right?
That was January. My goal was to sell candles through Etsy and hopefully double the sales I was getting in the shop. We prayed that God would direct us in this new venture, and either slam the door shut, really hard, right in our faces (because we need unmistakable signs like that) or just bless the business and show us how to grow it.
In February, things escalated quickly. (And it's only mid month!) One day we were happy doing what we were doing, and the next day we realized that we needed a serious cash influx before September because of a fun email that I received. (Which I'm not at liberty to discuss yet. I'm telling you, life has been so very interesting here lately.) We talked about maybe getting the candles into some local stores as well as selling on Etsy, and prayed, again, that either we'd get a ginormous neon sign that said DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT THIS or that things would go so well that we'd know it was another ginormous sign that gave us the go-ahead with that plan.
I contacted a few local stores, and was met with far more positive feedback than I ever imagined I would get. Things escalated quickly. I'm still kind of reeling from the ride. One day we were quietly making candles as a hobby, hoping that we'd have a few sales on Etsy, and the next thing we know, a half dozen local stores have agreed to carry our line of candles, melts and room sprays. That number isn't an exaggeration; in fact, it's a conservative figure.
This week marks a milestone for us. We placed our candles in our very first brick and mortar store. Bella's, in uptown Somerset, has designated an entire shelf to our handmades. (Locals! Stop in! You'll love the place, I promise, and there are so many fun things in there that you'll thank me for sending you.) I have a basket filled with dog toys, a basket with collars, and a basket with our candle products, all on a shelf set aside exclusively for me. I just sat back and stared at the humble display for a bit, because.... just wow. Life is full of surprises, isn't it? I never saw this twist coming, and yet I'm loving every single minute of it.
God is good to us, and invents ways and reasons to give us exactly what we need. Perhaps I needed a new hobby. Perhaps this is the new source of income for us. Perhaps it's just a stepping stone to something even bigger. But in the meantime, I'm strapped in and holding on tightly, because this ride is on the fast track to Somewhere and I want to still be on it when it reaches it's destination. God has a plan. I can't wait to see what that is.