What to Write….

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 I have been thinking about having a blog for a little while now, but I really didn’t know what to write about. Then after reading other people’s blogs I finally realized to just write about me. Write about what I am up to, what is going on in my business and in my family life. So this is my try at having a blog. I want to first give credit to Eva Bethel for the wonderful topper at the top of my blog-I received it free from her site www.primlicious.com when I purchased a web set for a new business I have started. But probably I should back up a bit and talk about how I got into this country craft business that I enjoy so much.

THE BEGINNING:…..lol. Back in 2002 my sister started showing signs of country decorations. See my Mom had seemed to be in the country scene for as long as I can remember. Not so much primitive at the time-but old things, buttons, mason jars, baskets, angels, rusty items. My sister on the other hand-was always modern-brass, black/white themed. I started seeing my sister have wooden painted blocks, distressed type items sitting around, cloth that she called homespun. I wasn’t sure what it all meant-until our town had a Grand Prix-which attracted alot of tourists-and out front of her home she set up her hand made items. Well I felt the excitement of these people wanting to purchase her items. Ok, not many purchased but did show interest-and that is when I found out she was planning to open a country shop. So in the next few weeks I found her front 2 rooms go from “extra” rooms to 2 rooms filled with soybean candles, berry garlands, rusty items, bobbins, buttons, potpourri…..some of the items she had made I didn’t realize she was capable of making-I was to say the least amazed. I smelled the candles and couldn’t believe a candle could smell just like Mulled Cider, or Caramel Apples-and they were candles I could afford. Other candles that I had purchased before either were too expensive and didn’t smell for very long-or they burnt straight down the middle leaving me dissapointed. I HAD to figure out how to make these-as if I was able to do that maybe she would carry my candles in her shop. Well I could go on and on with this story-but to jump ahead.

AHEAD: After much research I was able to find the supplies necessary to make these soybean candles. At first I mainly worked at knowing that it would take me time to formulate the right “recipe” in order to get a candle that burned clean and evenly. I had to make sure that the scent was as strong at the beginning as it was at the very end. The look took some time -as when I first started I just used the jars I could get at our local hardware store. I found out very quickly that making a great candle takes time and patience. But finally in the spring of 2003 I was able to present Melissa with a great candle-and she bought from me wholesale and then resold them in the store. After a bit of time went by my sister decided she would like to offer anything she made in the store wholesale-but where did this leave me with the candles? as I knew she couldn’t buy from me wholesale and turn around and sell them wholesale. Did I mention I had started working in the store part time? Well I did-learning everything I could from Melissa-so I could be a great employee to her-she had so many great ideas-and I just wanted to be a part of this great operation. Well to make a long story short-I did what I always seem to do-and gave up something “that I really didn’t think I wanted” anyways…and sold the candle business to Melissa-I stayed at the store and helped make the candles but I didn’t have to order the supplies anymore-didn’t have to make the decisions anymore-I just worked-and believe me at the time I was happy with that. Melissa always gave me credit for the candle recipe….but somewhere I found that I hadn’t given myself a chance-and as time went by I started to regret my decision….or did I?

So during the time I worked part time for Melissa I tried graphics-making graphics, learing about making graphics….I also talked her into starting her own web site. www.cntrykeepsakes.com I knew enough on the web to get her web site up and running. I did all the updating-as she told me what she wanted to be on it and kept it listed in the search engines. I tried a small business with my Mom selling stuff on Ebay and we even did our own site-that didn’t seem to work…so we ended that. I continued to work for Melissa-and really enjoyed it. Then in May of 2006 Melissa decided to close the store front and take her business home to do it solely on line. I was so sad-but told her IF she ever decided to give it up totally to please let me know-as I might very well be interested.

PRESENT: Well to make this long story finish up-in January of 2007 Melissa came to me and offered me the whole business. She said I could keep what I wanted and let go of the rest and when I was ready-if I was interested-I could take over Country Keepsakes. Well if you ever knew what it was like not to know who you were or what you were supposed to be doing-I can tell you that it was in that moment I had finally figured it out.  All the wanting and waiting and being patient had paid off. In March of 2007 I took over Country Keepsakes-all of the work I had done helping Melissa paid off; as I was able to keep offering the same great products just as stores had been used to having them. Melissa gave this store a terrific foundation-and I have found that I can be as creative as she was-but in turn I learned a lot from her-which has kept this business familar for people. So that is how this business started. It has always been family run-and continues to be today. Our Mom helped a lot when the store was a store front-and she continues to help me now-whether it be putting homespun on the candles, mixing up the great mixes or mixing up terrific potpourri. My husband helps carry boxes, do candle dishes or lugging my heavy wax boxes up the stairs. I will end this post for now as I can see it is a big one. I will write more later.

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