Small Business Struggles

By Shopify API

Even pre-our-new-norm, having a small business has been challenging, to say the least.

We wanted to write a little something for you (mostly for us though and our own healing, really) so that you could get a glimpse inside the mind of small business owners. We’ve made note of our biggest challenges that we have faced, along with the thoughts that run through our minds when we are faced with these challenges.

brand awareness

How do we find our clientele? Well how do we get our name out there? How do we create ads? Who are our ads for? What the fuck is marketing? Oh, we have to post on Instagram…how many posts is too much? Oh no, now we seem to be posting too little…

Figuring this out has been quite fun at times, but also quite stressful. Tools like Canva make it easier for us to create beautiful posts and ads, which has been incredibly helpful… but even our current marketing strategy lacks strategy, because both of us are just learning this marketing game on the fly.

We participated in the 2019 One of a Kind Holiday Market in order to increase our brand awareness, and that was great. But we have so much more work to do…(yes, we’re accepting any and all suggestions).

having no employees

Yes, we will be candle-makers! Amazing! Oh, we need to register as a business? Okay let’s talk to someone who can do that for us. Wait, we are the ones who have to do that? Okay… Whoa, we need to file corporate taxes? What’s that exactly? For this new project, can’t we leverage the marketing team for that? Oh right, that’s us! Well…they’re super busy this week so we’ll have to push that project out, yet again.

Not only are we makers, but we are accountants, marketers, bloggers, web designers…the list goes on. It has been quite the learning experience, and we are grateful for each moment of it, however there are times where we absolutely want to rip our hair out. And there are certainly times where we have thrown handfuls of wax across the room (and whatever else is in reach, usually wax). It’s all love, though - the frustrations are simply hurdles of our big picture in our entrepreneurial dreams.

work-work-school-life balance

Okay so if I study from 7-9, work from 9-5, and work on dioden from 5-7, I can make the 7:30 dinner reso for suuuureeee. Sleep, what’s that?

Yes, it is true - we both work, are in school, try to have social lives, and run dioden. It is a task. Keeping up with healthy habits like staying active and mentally healthy habits like catching up with good company or having some well-deserved me time at wine-o’clock is so difficult to do with everything else we have going on. With dioden there’s the blog, checking our social media, doing our bookkeeping, organizing our admin stuff, and making products that smell lovely and aid with mental health - between all of this, working and studying, it can be very difficult to maintain our own mental health at times.

large-scale competition

Are people going to appreciate the handcrafted aspect of our brand, enough to purchase our products over a big-box store’s cheaper candle?

We know how hard everyone works for their money, and we try our best to keep our costs low so that we can keep our prices low for all of you lovely people. Curating small batch products and operating with no large equipment (hands and pots only, people!), the process is time-consuming as well. Big brands have the luxury of mass-production and buying in large quantities which keep their costs and prices low. As a small business we do not have this opportunity, and it can be stressful for us when we price our products as fairly as possible and see our large-scale competitors offering their products for low prices and have the ability to have things like anniversary sales and boxing day sales. We hope you all know that we put a lot of love into the products we curate for you, and we hope you also know that we do our very best to price our products as fairly as possible for you as well as for ourselves.

It has been a time - we are grateful, exhausted, excited, innovating, stressed out, hopeful, uncertain, looking forward to the road ahead, frustrated as fuck, and our hearts have never been so full.

Thank you for sticking with us on our journey. We love our pack.

In gratitude,

~Sage

photo: @all_who_wonder

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