All I can say is WOAH. I am so grateful to have made it a year. I would’ve never guessed that we’d gain over 100 customers, sell over 200 candles, and grow our Instagram followers from 0 to over 300 in the midst of a pandemic. We even sold out of 6 collections this year. But those highs didn’t come without some lows. The hardest part about running a business came about in the last half of the year when I had to make a tough decision. I had to decide whether to stay in Dallas or move back home. I knew that this move could hinder the relationships I’d made with customers, but I’d hoped that they would continue to support me. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just customers that I was worried about losing, my supplier was also based in Texas. So, I decided to invest in tons of materials and supplies just in case I couldn’t find one back home or the shipping costs would be crazy expensive. When I first launched this business, I never would’ve guessed that we’d have to move. I’m grateful to still be making candles and not only gaining new customers but keeping many of my existing customers. Outside of this setback, I’ve had to learn so much in such a short period of time – starting with our website. When I first launched, I’d gotten feedback that it wasn’t clear what I was selling. This motivated me to do a major over hall on the site, and since it’s gotten a lot more traffic and our customers know exactly what we’re selling. Another customer mentioned that there wasn’t a ‘Shop’ tab, and I’m not sure why that never dawned on me or why it’d never come up from others before. I guess I had assumed that everyone would scroll down onto the home page in order to find the shop button, which was a poor assumption on my behalf. I had to remember that customers love ease when it comes to online shopping and can get easily turned off from giving you their business when things aren’t easy to locate or organized in a way that makes sense to them.
As we got closer to the year mark, I am shifting my focus to the details. I know that I needed to continue perfecting our candle ratios (how much fragrance I was adding and at what temps), designing our minimalist yet luxe labels, and upgrading our packaging for an even better unboxing experience.
In the next year, I hope to continue to meet customer’s needs for a way to make self-care a part of their routine in an affordable and luxurious way. I hope to continue to improve and do better than the first year, and trust God in the process. Whatever is in his will for this business is what I want. Prayerfully I will still be making candles for people to enjoy in their homes. I’m also hoping to have booked several Wick Sip & Pour events and assist someone else who is passionate about candle making and wanting to start their business.
My promise as we journey into year 2 is to continue to provide amazing products that you all continue to want.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for a great year.
I know it's a little early to be talking about Black Friday/Cyber Monday, but I wanted you guys to be able to start your planning now. Let's face it, for many of us, the smartest way to shop is to already know what you want, set the money aside/start saving & plan accordingly on when is the best time to make the purchase. It's especially important to start early because Black Friday is expected to look completely different this year due to COVID-19. Many retailers aren't even planning to open their doors for this coveted event due to it being next to impossible to social distance. So, majority of the deals will likely just be online. Either way, my years of learning how to best shop for all the deals without feeling all the guilt are still key.
The single most important factor for me has been to PLAN. I am such a planner. I love to write things down, keep to do lists, write out my monthly budget, etc. I purchased my first home recently, so as you can imagine, I’ll have a pretty big list this time around. What I like to do is think of each area in my home, and the things I would like to purchase for it. Then I write out the things that either myself or the kids are wanting. Once I have this list, I begin to look up the current price in order to kind of gauge what it may be once the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals start rolling in. Once I have an idea of what everything is going to cost, I can start to prioritize them into wants vs needs and give them a mental ranking so I know exactly how important it is for me to be able to purchase that thing. Lastly, I budget accordingly. So instead of putting an extra payment on a bill, I may use that for my shopping. Or I will even decrease the amount of cash I withdraw for my envelopes in order to have some extra for shopping also.
Here’s an example of the list that I like to make (If you’d like a free downloadable pdf copy click on the black_friday_worksheet below.) For my room, I’ve been wanting either a headboard or a canopy bed (Still can't decide...). The one I'd like to get is pictured below. Taking a screenshot before Nov., gives me an idea of how much I can maybe expect to pay. The website currently offers 15% off when signing up for marketing and promotional materials, so I would imagine that their black Friday sale would be at least 25-40% off. In doing the math, I’d hope to be able to purchase this bed for $824.25-$659.40. I then repeat this step for all of the other items on my list. Depending on your list, it can be a bit time-consuming, but if you take it a day at a time, I promise it's worth it and makes your shopping experience less stressful.
I hope this helps you guys to plan your shopping. I'll have some special deals for MML that I'm super excited to share. Imagine a new deal for each day of the week leading into Black Friday/Cyber Monday. If you haven't already, be sure to sign up for our emails so that you're the first to know about them!
21 Days.... That’s all we have left of summer. I must admit that although I love summer, I’m super ready for fall mainly because the weather tends to be just right majority of the time. You know that 70s – not too hot, not too cold weather. Plus with fall, I can enjoy my favorite “fall” things like fall fashion, fall scents, & fall food. I love when I’m able to bring out my sweaters, hoodies, & boots. Something about that oversized sweater that just makes me feel so cozy & comfortable. And because the weather is perfect, I can pair that with everything – shorts, leggings, jeans, skirts, etc. My favorite is the hoodie, with the skinny ripped jeans, & a pair of heels look – this look is so versatile & literally looks good on everyone. If you’re looking for some inspo, Pinterest & Instagram are my gotos. On Pinterest, I search for Fall Looks for Women (or Fall Looks for men), Fall looks for 2020, & Fall fashion trends. For IG, I use #falllooks #falltrends & #fallfashion. You’re sure to find a look to fall in love with when using these. After you’ve got yourself looking good in your fall wear, you can focus on your home. Given this blog is based on a candle business platform, you know fall scents has to be my all-time favorite. I love a good pumpkin, chai, apples & cinnamon smell. These are literally the epitome of fall. The other day I went into Target, and immediately saw these scents on display for the plug ins and air freshners. There’s just something about that fall spice smell to immediately make you happy about the change in season. It’s hard to describe in words, but I hope you guys can get what I’m saying. I bet many of you were able to catch a whiff of your favorite scents just now. And good news, if you couldn’t imagine it or if you’ve been procrastinating on filling your home with fall scents, MilanMonet Luxe has you covered. We have 2 new fall scents – Rich Harvest & Rich Bourbon that are available now. Both are strong & won’t disappoint – just click on the Shop tab in the menu bar to explore. Finally, I want to share with you guys my next fall favorite. It’s actually a two in one deal. Fall food not only tastes good, but it smells good too. So, if you don’t have any candles just yet, cooking up some of my favorite fall foods is sure to smell up your home for a bit. My favorite fall food is homemade pumpkin muffins. I’ll have to admit, I didn’t actually start to like pumpkin until last year after I tried Starbucks cream cheese filled pumpkin muffin and fell in love. After weekly purchases, my upset budget led me to go to Pinterest & search for pumpkin recipes. The kids & I made some one day & I just couldn’t get enough. We literally couldn’t stop eating them. I don’t even think they lasted more than a maybe a day or two. Unfortunately I never saved that recipe, so I’ll be on the hunt for another good one now that fall is almost here. But hey, if you have one, please share in the comments. I hope you guys have a rich fall & can enjoy some of these faves & more!
Whew time is really flying. I can’t believe that the last time I wrote on this topic was 5 months ago. I have learned soooo much and feel like I continue to learn each day. The good news is, I’m not ready to give up yet. They say 20% of new businesses fail within the first year. So to know I’m 4 months away from being in business a year, and still not wanting to quit, is pretty good. Some new lessons I’ve learned are to make wiser purchasing decisions. There were a couple things that I purchased and either ended up not liking it or regretting it because I’d spent more than what I should have. When running a business, you really have to be strategic with how you budget the funds – especially when you’re like mine and still working to break even. I am working on following a better system to help stretch the funds so that on the slower sales months, I can still make the basic necessity purchases (i.e. the website subscription, more fragrance oil, etc.) The next major lesson I’ve learned is that it’s okay to research the competition, but don’t dwell on the competition. I take notes on what seems to be going well or pain points that others may have and that’s it. I try not to get wrapped up in the fact that they have more customers, more of a social media presence, and things of that nature. Finally, I learned to take advantage of the slow times. When sales aren’t where I’d like them to be, I’m using that time to either rest, research new scents, or increase my inventory for when the sales do pick up. This is extremely important because you just never know when things can turn around. Take today for example. I hadn’t made a sale in 20 days, but then I get featured in D Magazine’s ‘18 Dallas Candle Companies Share Their Bestselling Scents’, and boom, I got more sales. This was a huge eye opener for me. I knew it was coming, but I was still holding my breath. I will say, it’s nice when your hard work starts to pay off. For me, this is only the beginning. I can proudly say most of my time has been spent releasing new scents. Since March, I’ve launched the Calm, Cool, & Collected collection, On Vacay, No Bounds, & the Everyday Luxury line. Outside of reading that article, part of what keeps me going is receiving all of the customer photos. Being able to see our candles in someone else’s home brings about a feeling like no other. I also love when I get to see how much our candles are used for self-care. It wasn’t until I started this business that I began shifting my thinking of candles. I used to think they were just a luxury, but when you begin to use them for self-care which allows you to take care of your mind, body, and soul in order to reset – that’s not JUST a luxury – that’s a need being met. All in all, I’m thankful and truly blessed that God is allowing me to maneuver and steward over this business. I hope to continue to make you guys proud. Thank you for all the love & support.
In an effort to increase our sustainability and ensure we’re leaving the world better than before, we’ve learned to repurpose our candle jars. The beauty of our candles, is that they make beautiful décor pieces on their own. They go perfectly in the bathroom, the living room coffee table, or on the nightstand. So, we’ve put together the steps as well as some inspo for you to get creative with how you will repurpose your vessels.
If you're wondering when is the right time to repurpose, we'd recommend once you have approximately ¼ of solid wax left in your candle vessel. When you reach this pint, you can begin the process of cleaning your vessel. There are several methods to doing this, but the one that we use the most involves utilizing your freezer. The supplies you’ll need are your freezer, a butter knife or spoon, dish soap, and a sponge.
Place the vessel in the freezer for 2-3 hours. Once the wax has frozen, it will either pop out naturally or can easily be broken apart using the butter knife or spoon. Be careful not to scrape the jar because this can cause metal streaks to appear in the glass, and I haven’t quite figured out how to remove them just yet.
Once all of the wax is gone, you will want to clean it out with warm soapy water. I usually let my candle vessel sit with the soapy water for 10-15minutes. This helps me to be able to easily remove the wick
Step 3: Remove the wick.
From there, you’ll want to use the sponge to wash the vessel out, removing any excess wax.
Allow the vessel to air dry or use a non-abrasive towel to hand dry it.
Now that your vessel is clean, you’re ready to repurpose it to your liking. I’ve used mine as a statement piece on my coffee table, a cotton ball holder on my bathroom sink, and as a way to collect loose change. You can try these out as well, or you can also use the vessel as a candy dish or as a planter for a cute succulent.
I look forward to seeing how you guys repurpose your candle vessels!
Being able to go to the spa has been something that no one has been able to do for
M O N T H S.....So, with spas being closed, the next best thing is to look towards your bathroom. Your bathroom is literally the ultimate potential spa destination while you're at home. I love it because there’s so much you can do to make it your sanctuary whenever you want to really relax and feel as though you’re at the spa. If you’re like me, and love to find peace without having to leave your home, checkout these tips for creating a spa atmosphere.
Outside of these tips, there are plenty of other ways to bring the spa to you. You can add a humidifier, a small speaker that plays music, décor that makes you feel as though your on vacation, faux plants, etc. Be creative, but don’t go crazy. This is meant to help you feel more and more relaxed in your home.
Here's a few photos of my bathroom. Hope you enjoy!
Mother’s Day is one of the biggest holidays celebrated throughout the year. In 2019, we consumers spent $25 billion (National Retail Federation nrf.com) on all the wonderful moms. I can’t help but wonder how many moms – especially new moms - will have to be celebrated on a ‘lesser’ scale due to the pandemic. I was talking to a new mom recently, and she mentioned feeling a bit slighted because of Corona and all the stay at home orders. With everything going on, she can’t go out to REALLY celebrate, and the chances of receiving a nice gift is pretty slim to none given retail stores being closed, longer than usual shipping delays, and the only open stores being Walmart & Target (don't get me wrong I love Tar-jay lol, but still). Having this conversation is what tugged on my heart, and why I’m writing you today. I want all the moms to know that no matter what is going on in the world, YOU are worthy of being celebrated. Being a mother is by far one of the hardest roles I’ve ever had. My hope is that you can feel just as special while maintaining your safety at home. Here’s a list of ways you can still have an amazing Mother’s Day – whether it’s for yourself or planning for your own mom.
For most of us, it doesn’t take much. I can bet that every mom’s needs can fit into one of these. Last year, I received roses, cards, a '10 Things I Love About My Mom' book & enjoyed breakfast in bed. I look forward to this Mother's Day, and I hope that you’re able to make it just as special. Feel free to let us know what you’re planning or come back and let us know how special it was for you or a mom you know.
For many of us, it’s only been a little over a week, since being told we needed to quarantine at home, and not leave the house unless it’s for essential things – like getting groceries, gas, medicine, etc. I think it’s safe to say that this situation went from ‘0 to 100 real quick’ - meaning things escalated way too fast. And with less than 2 weeks in, and the possibility of months of social distancing,
I wanted to give you guys 7 tips on how to maintain your sanity.
As of February 19th, I officially hit 3 months of being in business. Whew, it has been such an emotional journey so far. The word I would use to describe the first month is crazy. There was a lot of hype and support. Plus it helped that timing was on my side- Christmas was a little over a month away. Everyone was in the holiday spirit, and my candles made the perfect gift. I ended up selling out of my first collection! This didn't happen without some bumps however. I've learned quite a bit so far (probably enough to write a book) but I wanted to discuss some of the areas that I learned the most in.
Despite these learning areas, I am still just as passionate and excited to continue in this journey. Building a business from scratch involves a lot of trials and errors, numerous hours and money invested, doubts, fears, tears, frustrations and more. It is definitely a marathon mentality opposed to a sprint, and being patient through it all is a struggle!
I want to encourage those of you who are wanting to start a business or are in their first few months of starting, and are looking for someone who can share in the struggles of just starting out. There will be times when it feels like no one is rooting for you. There will be times when it feels like the sales won't come in. There will be times when you have to start completely over because the product didn't come out right. Just don't give up.
You've got this!
For some, organization skills are like a foreign language. For others, it’s like second nature. I tend to find myself closer to the second nature side. There are areas in life that’d I’d like to think I’m pretty good at being organized in. When it comes to my finances, balancing the kids schedule, and planning out the meals for the week, I do pretty well.
But if I can be honest, I don’t have it all together. I sometimes struggle with organizing my paperwork and emails. I do well initially, but as I add more and more paperwork, it gets to be a bit much, and I let it pile up until I can “get to it later”. And let’s not even talk about personal emails…Currently I’m showing 9,462 unread just in one account lol. Someone help me clear these out please!
Now that we’ve gotten some of my struggles with being organized out of the way, let me give you some tips on the areas that I’ve mastered.
My finances –
There are several methods that I use in order to help me stay organized.
Lucky for me, my kids are still fairly young, so their schedules aren’t too filled with activities. During the week, I mostly have to ensure I’m getting them to and from school on time.
This has been a huge life saver for me during the week.
The key for me was figuring out the areas that I was most disorganized in and starting there. If you struggle with finances, balancing your scheduling, or just choosing your meals for the week, I encourage you to pick one and see how you can incorporate the suggestions into your life. And do what works for you. Feel free to tweak any of them to better fit your lifestyle.
Can’t wait to hear how you’re getting more organized in 2020!
Tierra Gerdine, Mompreneur and friend passionate about entrepreneurship and sharing her story.