2. Why did you decide to go into business? What was your motivation? How long have you been in business? I have a Belgian Tervuren, and while there were some cross stitch patterns available, they weren’t capturing the detail of the breed that I was looking for. I had dabbled in counted cross stitch designs before, so I designed several patterns of the breed. I received a positive response to the designs. I have a BS in Biochemistry and mainly worked in laboratory settings, I needed a creative outlet for my artistic side, so I decided to design more patterns. I was fortunate, when I lived in Rock Hill, SC, to have a cross stitch store across the street. They held a competition and I entered a design in the Original Design category of a racehorse and jockey. While it didn’t win, it was received very favorably by the owners of the shop. After returning to Spartanburg, SC, I continued designing patterns and, wanting to work with more color, I started doing birds. I showed some of the designs to the shop in Rock Hill, and they asked if I could do a design of a Congo African Grey as they had a customer looking for one. I continued to work on designs for fun and occasional sales. In the back of my mind, I wanted to start a business but working full time, it stayed there. Then in June 1996 I found myself unemployed and decided it was time to get serious about starting a business. Originally, the business was all mail order, selling my patterns by placing ads in dog and bird magazines. Eventually, as the internet grew, I opened an eBay store and over time the business became exclusively online, with a few customers that still mail order, and I added my own website in addition to eBay. Over the years I continued to grow the business, while working full time. I married Robert in April of 2010 and about a year and half later, after I had a temp job end, he wanted to contribute to the business. He always had an interest in candles and decided to learn candle making. We decided on Soy Wax for environmental and health reasons. With my core business based mainly on dogs and dog show people, we added a line of hand-painted dog silhouette candles to help us pull that group into our new line, along with attracting general candle lovers with the unpainted jar candles and tarts. We also offer other hand-painted designs.
3. What products do you make and sell? Counted Cross Stitch patterns of dogs (most AKC breeds), horses, birds, cats, tropical fish (freshwater and marine), and custom patterns from customer’s photos of their pets. Coronado Candles line of hand-poured, made to order, Soy Wax Jar Candles in a variety of sizes, both plain and hand-painted. Soy Wax Tarts in a variety of sizes and designs. Digital prints of some of my original artwork, mainly pencil drawings. Fuzzy Squeakers, which are hand-crocheted for dog show handlers to bait dogs in the show ring. We are really excited about a new squeaker product coming out that will be crocheted using Chiengora (dog hair yarn).
4. What are your business goals? Our goal is to continue growing our business and reaching a larger market with all of our products. Since my husband had a stroke last March, neither one of us has been able to work outside the home so growing the business has been a priority. The candle making has been great therapy for him and he spends a lot of time researching and coming up with new designs and ideas for our Coronado Candles line. We are hoping, during this next year, to add reed diffusers (using NG aroma buds) and hand-made soaps. In addition, I will be working on adding the remaining AKC breeds to our counted cross stitch line and adding more prints and photos, and begin doing custom pencil drawings.
5. What are some products you use from Natures Garden; what are your favorite products from Natures Garden? We use the Spectrum Liquid Candle Dye, Fragrance Oils, and Wicks. We have found that all of the NG products are absolutely amazing… Your dyes work so much better than some others we have tried. Among our favorite scents from NG are Key Lime Pie, Dark Gourmet Chocolate, Chocolate Covered Cherries, and Jelly Bean!
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