Friday, November 18, 2011

Advice Please.....

As you know I'm kind of at a cross roads 
as to where to go with my candle company.

I'm waffling back and forth between a desire 
to move to another location for manufacturing
or to find a location in a high traffic area
to open a shop.

Now, my vision cuts two ways.
If I go purely into manufacturing I would
basically get a hole in the wall functional
place and just make and sell as many candles
as I possibly can to build the resources to 
either grow the business to a point of 
selling it as a proven, profitable business
or to then expand it into the 
gift shop/art studio of my dreams.

If I were to really stick my neck out
now I would find some investors
and open that gift shop/art studio now.
I happen to be very close to some 
amazing artisans who would likely
be willing to supply my shop for a 
generous cut of the profits.

Exciting news either way
is that it looks like
my oldest son,
Jonathan, will come into
the business with me.
He has expressed willingness
and I think there are many ways
his artistic talents will
be a blessing.

He will grow in business
and learn much about
the creative, business and
sales processes.

As readers, who have been observing 
this whole thing for the past several
years, would you be honest with me
about what you think is the 
better way to go?

I've got tons of ideas either way.
But, until I know which way I should
go I don't know what I am looking for 
and what I can afford.

That kind of stinks.

Good thing I'm too busy to really 
get it accomplished right now 
anyway, isn't it?

Edited to Add:

Speaking of busy...
I must have been tired when I
answered the questions on
this interview 
because I think I
compared myself to a pig....
Hop on over and visit Taylor.
There is a coupon code to save
20% there, as well.

22 comments:

luvncrafts said...

Sounds exciting!! Working together would be fun!! I don't know which way you should go tho.....I'm not very helpful. LOL :0/ I wish you the best, whichever way you choose!
Christie

Sue Runyon said...

I pray you can find a way to do both. A manufacturing location with a little showroom area maybe.

Mrs.Rabe said...

If you built up your business to sell it, what would you do then? Do you want to get out of the business of making candles etc, or do you want to continue by having a shop?

That was no help at all was it?

Deanna

Theresa said...

Exciting:) Yes, I think that it is very exciting to have a problem like this! I, personally, would prefer the shop type place versus the manufacturing type! Not sure which would be more profitable! AND to have your SON working with you? WOW, warms my heart! Have a blessed day my friend! HUGS!

Vee said...

Oh, dear friend, you must get your advice all the way from the top!

Did you see an article in CL (December issue) about a woman and her daughter who have made a go at a candle business. It reminded me so of you!

myeuropeantouch said...

I would open a shop first to see how that will go and this shop will give you then the information you need to move forward to find a manufacturing place.....or not.....
Becky dear heart either way your candles are wonderful....talk with God.♥
Love, Monika

Julia Badgley said...

I think the social interactions in a storefront would be best. You're a warm and loving person and this is a good part of the buying experience to me. Let the customers see you in action!
That's awesome to have your son involved!!!!!!!!!

Bella Vista said...

Becky, I would prefer the shop and think with your warm and outgoing personality you would also.

But.....this is the answer I would give you. Ask God what He would have you do. Set aside a few minutes of prayer time each day and petition Him for the answer. You will get it. Then your path will be clear.....never easy, but clear.

Sounds exciting,
Barb

SHEILA said...

Becky,
I think you need to open a shop. It sounds like your dream.
I want to do the same thing one day.
You will still be working hard making candles, but will also get to share your lovely personality with everyone.

Persuaded said...

I second Deanna's question.... if you grew the business to sell, what would you do then? I'm not asking specifically "what would you do".. but more how would that make you feel? Would you be like: Yesss! I feel so great about that success and now I'm off to the next creative challenge! Yippee! or would you be more reluctant about leaving your baby, or feel like this business was your big thing and leaving it would be like leaving a part of yourself? I don't expect you'll be able to answer that precisely at this point, but it's somethign to consider... is this candle business just a stepping stone or is it your life's work?

That said, I'd be prone to lean more towards finding a kind of a workshop type of setting... not a hole in the wall, but a pleasant spot that you'd enjoy working in and that would be welcoming to family and friends, kwim? Personally I think that a gift shop type of setting is a tremendous undertaking completely separate from the candle business.. or rather on top of the candle business. It requires a completely different skill set, mind set and passion. It also is a new business with new start up costs and risks. You already know that your candle business is successful and is poised for even greater success... you could just enlarge the plan you're working from now withotu adding on the challenge of a gift shop:)

Now Becky, you might well possess all the skill sets needed for running a candle makign business as well as a gift shop type business... and if so, and if that idea excites you and stirs a passion within you, then I say: ignore my thoughts/cautions and go for it!

I am so excited for you honey!

krafterskorner said...

I think including your son in it would be wonderful!

Tricia said...

I believe the shop may be the way to go first. The customer interaction is wonderful. But first and foremost, pray to God for an answer. ASK SEEK AND KNOCK

The most difficult part of all this is Be still, and wait on His answer. That, dear friend/sister is the best advice I can give.

Be blessed,
Tricia ♥ ♥ ♥

ZudaGay said...

Becky, my thoughts seem to follow right along with the others I have read. I think that you would be a blessing to the public that would come to your little shop. And I think that you would enjoy the shop so much more than a hole in the wall. I'll be praying that the Lord will direct you and open wide the door He would have you to go through...and provide the means. :) By the way...I would be thrilled to send things to help stock your shop. ;D

sammysgrammy said...

I like SueR's solution - a little of both. Your dream is a shop. Perhaps you could oversee a staff of candlemakers to supply your shop and others.

Also, the big twice a year wholesale gift shows are in your area. I believe there's one in King of Prussia. I know there's one in NYC, Atlanta and Chicago. If you got a booth there, you'd probably sell lots of your candles to other gift shops then you'd be back in the mfgr. business again.

Tough question. Put out a fleece like Gideon did. Keep track of every little sensing the Lord gives you. He knows the plans......

Susy said...

Having been in retail for 18 years, my opinion runs opposite of the rest. I say grow your candle-making operation first and continue to develop a solid customer base. Retail is fun, but it's also a lot of work and expense. Being in the position of making the rent and overhead, paying back loans, and running the business as well as making your product is no small task. Also, I don't recommend borrowing money. Prosperity is progressive. Build your capital and fund any new ventures from your own pocket.

If you can't shake the retail bug, perhaps you could find an existing shop that would sublease floorspace to you. Start small and build on your success.

Elena said...

How exciting! I think it would be good for you to open a shop. Your candles are so beautiful and functional.

Sue Runyon said...

Rent for a place with a good location will normally be very high and would also require employees to staff it full time. Both of those cost eat up profits pretty fast and it takes time to develop a reputation as a shop. If that's something you can cope with, then it's totally worth considering. You could find a location with a backroom you could use for manufacturing and a storage area for inventory.

Or you can find a manufacturing location with a showroom for your fundraiser clients and wholesale clients to come to you to see the new wares and place orders and for others to come by appointment and purchase.

Becky K. said...

Wow! There is a lot to think about here. I'd not even considered doing trade shows. That would open new and exciting doors.

Keep the ideas coming as you think of them...I truly appreciate it!!

I'm so torn.

Susy, somehow your advice didn't surprise me at all. I'm hearing you!

The other thing I am taking into consideration is that a shop would not be my only income stream....It would be one part of it with mail order, fund raising and jar refills being in the mix. With a place for people to come my specialty of jar refills will do very well in our area. I could teach an employee this skill if it grew enough.

Karen said...

Wow, exciting stuff to consider!

I know that you ultimately want to go only where God leads you so I won't offer any opinions, but rather a question-or twenty-for you to add to your contemplations.

Would you be happy to be tied down to retail hours/schedule?
It would certainly mean adding employees at some time-are you actually interested in being a "manager", as well as an artist, bookkeeper, and all the other roles you will already be filling?
Would some sort of partnership with another artisan (ie: sharing retail space/responsibilities or just doing consignment or ?) give you your dream but still allow you some freedom in your schedule?
Would running a retail operation still allow you time to make candles or would you be constantly burning the midnight oil to keep the store stocked, the books updated, etc.?
What would you do to keep growing your business? Offer classes? Expand your product line?
What is your ultimate goal? To still be making candles until you retire or to use them as a stepping stone to different dreams someday?

I'm excited that your business is growing so well that you have these issues to resolve. I'll pray for you as you ponder it all. Hugs to you, dear friend!

Karen said...

Also, have you considered having a "seasonal" type shop?

A friend of mine has a soy candle vendor at her local farmers market where she takes her candles for refills @$1/oz.

Maybe you could find something like that, to do retail but not be tied down year round?

Vickie said...

Hi Becky - I 'm not a business minded person, but maybe the manufacuturing might be a good jumping off place? I like what Mrs. Rabe said about a little storefront, first, then you could move into getting your own shop? I know you'll figure out just the right thing! My hubby is about to become his own company and do some consulting work here. He thought it might be good to talk to an accountant and an attorney to see what the tax benefits are and also the legal aspects, and then weigh both options and THAT might give you a clearer picture of where to start....

Well, whatever you do, you'll be a hit with your candles. I'm sure enjoying my Autumn scents right now! It finally got chilly here so I get one of my candles cranked up just about every day!

Melissa G. said...

It's been fun to watch you grow!
I say go for your dreams!
That's neat that your son will be a part of the team!