Depending on the source (not all agree), 60 – 96% of businesses fail before they ever reach 10 years old. Basically, the odds aren’t great that a small business will stick around for 10 years.
I started Antique Candle Co. (formerly known as Antique Candle Works) in January 2014 – what seems like ages ago. I wrote the first email to my first candle customers at my dining room table (here is what I wrote to you for Mother’s Day in 2014. Haha!), just a few feet from where I made the candles in my kitchen.
As I write this message to you now, I am in a different house – actually, an apartment in my hometown – and just a few feet away from where I sometimes record new product videos or live demos (like how to use our refill kits). Right now, I’m burning Banana Bread – a fragrance that didn’t win from a candle tester round a few years ago, but I personally loved it so much I stocked up on leftovers.
A lot has changed and owning a business isn’t easy, but I don’t think that’s why most businesses who want to be around 10 years later aren’t in business.
I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on this past year and there is a common theme – you are dreaming up the next ideas with us. Of course, the only reason I get to dream about things we can craft is because of you – but I think that is too simple. That doesn’t give you enough credit for why I get to make more candles for you 10 years later.
Do you remember when I started doing candle testers in 2018? If you’ve been here a while, you know that Candle Testers (when candle friends like you vote on the next new fragrance) didn’t always exist. I actually found this super old post when we were doing a candle tester round several years back. (It’s when my personal favorite, Banana Bread, did NOT win!!)
The whole Candle Testing process is so fun because I have NO IDEA which scents you’ll love or which ones you’ll score a 1 out of 10 (being, very bad). Haha! That’s a big part of what makes me appreciate you even more – you are always honest with me. You will tell me if a tomato candle is a terrible idea! I actually count on it, and it’s why I think we’re still in business 10 years later.
You’ve saved me from some pretty strange ideas. My tastes aren’t always your tastes, and that’s what began a fun journey of building this business together with you. With your input, your ideas, your comments, and yes, even your complaints, Antique Candle Co. has grown and changed for the better.
The most valuable feedback has been both the negative and the validating feedback for new ideas. I feel like we are doing this together – we’re testing things out, choosing new fragrances, deciding to launch room sprays, trying to make wood wick candles work, updating the images on the online shop to be less white and easier to see, and even making shipping more affordable. (Just this year, we offered free shipping the whole year for the lower 48 states. That was a huge deal for us to do that!) I hope you also enjoyed us bringing back soy wax melts and adding more Pumpkin candles this Fall!! Those were not in the plan, but we added it because of all the comments you shared that encouraged us to build those for you!
I had a lot of fun on all those projects, and I really appreciate your honest feedback along the way. Again – I feel like we’ve been doing this together. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for caring enough to share your creative ideas, concerns, and when you don’t like a candle. It helps us know if we are on the right path.
As I close this chapter on the first 10 years, I wonder if a timeline and journey of this business could be fun to share – there are some highlights of some ideas that started with you. Is that something you might like to see?
Friend, thank you for sharing feedback with me over the years. I believe the Lord is supporting our mission to connect with people and reflect light back into the world with candles. I also believe that your participation and feedback on what we craft has made all the difference in why we are still here 10 years later. Thank you for loving on us, caring about what we create, and just being here. If you made it reading this far, thank you.
Thank you. Thank you.
Brittany, Owner + Founder
PS – for the first time, I started doing candle tours with customers! I haven’t made a big thing of it, but just saying ‘yes’ to those of you who reach out…The reason I started doing this is because one thing I miss about doing the craft shows is having a way to ask you questions in person. I might continue the tours, but I’m not sure…
Do you ever get up to Lafayette, Indiana?? Purdue University is close by, so sometimes I get to meet folks from out of state that just want to visit. I must admit that our current space isn’t set up for tours (it’s pretty cramped!), so I always feel bad for those that do come for a tour. I wonder if we can build something for the future. I suppose it depends on your thoughts.
Here we go again: building something together! If we do tours in the future, what would you want to see or do? Hmmm…Oh, the possibilities!! I can’t wait to hear what you think!