Monday, October 25, 2010

#2CIC Learn more about ValerieEssentials

How and why did you begin to be creative?
I started in aromatherapy. I made soap,
candles and oils for different causes, ex. 
for headaches & stress, massages, appetite...
 I would create baskets for different occasions. 
Most of my customers would just give me 
the scene that's in their head and I would
 go from there. I wanted the customer to be
 excited & amazed when they saw the finished 
product. I'd always put a little something extra
 to make them feel special too.
However, the one thing that everyone wanted 
were the candles. I would make 
custom seascapes with scents that the 
customer picked and every time they loved 
the candle. Gel wax seemed to be
 the new in thing back in 2000.
Later I learned to make the customers

 idea come to life and it was so cool 
seeing a scene come to life. If someone 
wanted a lighthouse I would do a light house 
overlooking the sea with different color sand 
and tiny shells up on the beach with the 
tiny dolphins jumping in the sea. Then it 
would have a custom scent.

How do you avoid repeating yourself, or falling 
into formula? How do you stay fresh?
Some candles are the same but some are different 
depending on the customer. Some like the 
seascapes, some like candles that are teacher 
related or something else. A lot like the drinks
 and food. They look so real and when you 
add a beer scent to a beer candle or 
strawberry shortcake scent to a strawberry 
short cake candle you have a conversation piece.

The only downfall is the customer doesn't want 
to burn the candle, even though I do refills too.

I also make soy & palm wax candles but I 

enjoy creating with gel wax the best because 
you can create scenes you can make a center 
piece or burn.

The palm wax is popular because it is soot-free 

like the soy wax but it is a harder wax and once it 
sets the wax has a crystal design in it. I have done
 many candles for weddings as well as other 
occasions. It is always nice when the customer 
wants to have a certain shade to complete their 
look, then the scent they choose pulls it all 
together and I had a part in doing that.

Do you have a ritual like retiring to a lonely 
place from time to time to cleanse your mind?
Not exactly. I have two smaller kids and I do 
not like to pour wax when they are around. 
Too many accidents can happen even though
 you are watching at all times and hot wax is
 not a nice feeling. I know from experience. 
Also when you have candles setting, the
 last thing you want it hard vibrations from 
kids playing near your working area.

But I will sit at night and visualize what 

the customer wants and how to make it 
happen. I also think about what I could 
do to make it even more special for the
 customer to really surprise them. It usually 
comes to me. If not I will contact the 
customer a number of times and keep 
them in the creating process to make
 sure we are on the same path. I will 
send samples to the customer to make
 sure the color and scent is exactly what
 they vision. Pictures can sometimes be 
hard to tell the true color.

Sometimes I may have trouble with the 

candle setting properly so 
I have done a set of pillars 4 times 
before to get them just right. The 
customer wasn't as picky but I know 
what I would like if I were buying something.
 I want it as close to perfect as I can get it.

I am hard on myself because the customer 

is putting their vision in my hands and I
 want it to come through
 as close as I can for them.
When you accept a job, how much 
value do you place on each of the
 following? Money, creative 
liberty, visibility, and to work with 
the best.
I would like to say that out of each 
order I make a little something But 
that's not true. However I know
 that I am doing my best for my 
customer. Sometimes if I have to 
re do the candle (sometimes as many
 as 4 times) it takes a lot of extra 
hours or even days to complete 
the candle. I would like to make 
money and have my candles become 
more than a hobby but I love to make 
customers vision come true. I like the
 challenge of getting it as close as I 
can to what the customer in visioned.
 Then to hear about what the customer
 thought of my work really makes
 those extra hours or days worth it.

Since I focus more on the perfect 

candle for my customer, I do have
 many repeat customers and 
new ones from the happy customer. 
It makes it worth it to see some 
one value your work and
 is appreciative of it too.
You are as good as your last idea. 
Wouldn't you like to have a more
 secure type of work?
The only reason I would like a more
 secure type of work is to have a 
steady income. But I am lucky 
enough to have a husband that works 
hard so I can be a stay at home mom
 for my two younger ones. I may not 
have the money but I have the 
time to be a good mom and have a 
outlet of making my candles for 
custom orders, my etsy shop and
 craft shows.

My shop can be found here-

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1 Comment:

Dina Cuomo said...

This is a wonderful interview Valerie!