gardener & GEEK

Not too long after I started The Southern Belle’s Garden, I struggled with the direction that I wanted to take. I started the company because I love studying herbs. I love seeing how they can influence someone, mentally or physically. I love growing plants and I want to share my love with others.

But then I started making wax melts. Wax melts are so much fun to make and so easy to customize. I started naming them after my favorite things – books, TV shows, movies, etc. But they didn’t mesh with how I thought that The Southern Belle’s Garden should be. Over the past year, I’ve gone over a couple of different options on what to do. I could transition The Southern Belle’s Garden completely over to a more geeky nature (which goes against the whole reason I created it and why I love my business). I could have two companies – though I struggled over what products would go to each one. Or I could quit completely (just kidding, not really an option).

This past weekend, I decided what I am going to do. Please welcome:

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gardener & GEEK is a domain that I already owned. Originally, I was going to start another blog for the purpose of posting convention reports, movie reviews, etc. but decided to just add that content to one of my existing websites. gardener & GEEK will have similar products as The Southern Belle’s Garden, except all will be more towards a geeky nature.

The Southern Belle’s Garden will still have candles, my salves, and all-natural bath/body goods. But now that I have my focus, I can start adding other products that I’ve been working on – my tinctures, incense blends, herbal syrups, and tea blends. These are the items that I can’t wait to share with those that need them.

So please, keep an eye here and on my gardener & GEEK website, when it comes live. There is something for everyone on both.

Self-Doubt/Weekend Recap

Whew. I am glad that this weekend is over with! I had a show Friday evening (after working at my regular job all day), then a show on Saturday and Sunday.  This weekend flew by faster than I would have liked. I have this upcoming weekend off from any shows, but after that, it is a show every Saturday for the next 4 weeks!

As someone who makes all of her own products, I am sometimes conflicted with a bit of self-doubt. I stand by my products. I know they are good, but sometimes, especially when I’m doing shows, I worry. I have quite a few journal entries that I have written during the first 30 minutes of a show, when panic grips at my chest. What if nobody buys my items? What if nobody even stops at my booth? What if they wrinkle their nose up at everything I have? I’ve had quite a few years of experience in retail. I know that not everybody will like everything you have, but I’ve also learned that sometimes you can still make a sale but recommending a different product. That sometimes people buy from you just because you are cheerful and welcoming. That sometimes, your smile is the only thing that gets people through the day.

So it’s okay to doubt yourself sometimes, especially when you are a small business owner. Just don’t let those doubts keep you from achieving your goals. Even more so, don’t let a bad start to a day (or an event) sour your spirit for the rest of the day. Fake it ’til you make it – you never know who may surprise you and buy your products.

That all being said, as soon as I wrote down my self-doubts on Saturday morning, I made two sales in less than 60 seconds at the Camden Women’s Club Holly Days event. Though I had my slow moments, this events was my most successful one yet. I even sold out of a few products (and had to spend Saturday night creating fresh batches). This was my first year at Holly Days. From what I had heard, every year it fills up with vendors quickly.

I really hope that I am able to be in this event next year. It wasn’t just the sales – the whole event was nice. Breakfast was provided for vendors on Saturday (a delicious breakfast, by the way) and volunteers would stop by to see if we needed bathroom breaks. Lunch was done by a local church and the food was delicious and at a great price. What is even better is that I had quite a few repeat customers, i.e. customers that purchased my products at events last year and eagerly bought more!

Friday night, I did the Girls Night Out event at The Pines (a local country club). I would do this event again. Heavy hors d’oeuvre were served and there was a cash bar. The women that came stayed for the duration of the event (there were giveaways) and were eager to stay at my booth and talk about my products for 5-10 minutes. That was nice and something that I don’t usually have at larger shows. My sales were pretty good for it being such a short event (2.5 hours) but I think the connections I made are even more important.

Event Report: Scares That Care Weekend

My summer events have been few and far between. I anticipated being at my area farmer’s markets all summer, but with it being so hot this summer – both my products and myself were struggling.

I briefly wrote about Scares That Care Weekend a few months back and have been looking forward to attending for months now. Mixed in with that anticipation was a hint of terror. This was my biggest show to date – 3 days! I was a little nervous as to how my products would be received. I did okay at Tidewater Comicon, but not awesome. However, I did awesome at STC! People loved my products, even though they weren’t exactly horror related. My table location was down in the author’s area, which was a little weird, but I don’t think my sales suffered any.

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My booth! People loved my various wax melts so I think I’ll focus on those again next year.

So what is Scares That Care? From their website:

“Scares That Care!” Inc., is an IRS approved, 501(c)(3) charity. Founded in 2006, “Scares That Care!” to date has raised and donated over $100,000 to organizations that treat sick children and families with a child affected by illness, burns or women fighting breast cancer. “Scares That Care!” is also proud of the fact that we are an all volunteer organization, with no salaries or paychecks issued to any staff member involved with the charity. If you’d like more information, please visit our home website scaresthatcare.org

I loved going to this event. Though working pretty much 3 days straight (and dealing with that traffic coming/going) did wear me out – I had a blast! Conventions that take place completely in a hotel are my favorite. It is like you are in your own little world surrounded by friends and family (even if you’ve never met any of them before).

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Skull shot glasses that I used as planters for succulents.

It’s pretty awesome when you go to an event and have people that you recognize from television and movies come look at your stuff. Or when you go to the bar or to eat and be able to have a conversation with those same guests.

I did well enough at this event that when tables for the 2017 event became available last night – I went on and booked mine. Yes, the first floor tables are a bit more expensive, but I think it is worth it. I’m curious as to how much traffic the vendors on the second floor really received.

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I apologize for the blurry cellphone picture – I didn’t think to bring my camera to my table until Sunday – but these are two different botanical necklaces I made (one for love, one for protection) with an infuser pendant in the middle. The necklaces will be listed on Etsy soon.

I made some notes and have already thought of ways to expand and enhance my booth. Plus, I’ve started brainstorming lots of interesting new ideas for products. My goal, for next year, is to double my sales from this year!

So next year, make sure to stop by and see me.

Scares That Care Charity Weekend 4 will be held July 20-23rd 2017.

Etsy Update

It was a wet, cold, windy weekend but that didn’t stop people from coming out to the Edenton Farmer’s Market on Saturday. The snow managed to hold off until that afternoon and thankfully, it is mostly gone here. The market this time around was indoors and though it was on a smaller scale, my booth did well. I even managed to sell a few of my themed wax melts.

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The X-Files started Sunday night. I missed it but I will catch up on it really soon, I’m sure. That being said, Mulder and Scully have finally been added to my Etsy shop.

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Mulder – In building Mulder’s scent, I wanted a manly smell that wasn’t overbearing. I combined the rich notes of hay, sandalwood and cinnamon with rym, birch, tobacco. The base note is musk and finished it all with the faint scent of soap and fresh laundry to create a warm, smokey scent with a hint of freshness, sort of like Mulder stepping out of the shower after being in the woods all day.
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Scully – I imagine Scully, tired after a long day of work, relaxing with a big glass of red wine. That’s where this scent developed. With notes of tawny port and cognac, sweetened up with lighter softer pinot noir, vanilla and raspberry, it’s topped off with spicy notes of cinnamon, clove and vineyard dirt with a hint of sharp black cherry. To illustrate Scully’s softer side, I added touches of Lily, Gardenia, and Narcissus with notes of orange and lemon.
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I also added this soothing bath melt to my Etsy shop as well – this proved to be a good seller at my booth this past weekend!

Etsy Update

I added a few new wax melts to the Etsy shop, one is in honor of Valentine’s Day – the other 3 are in honor of the new X-Files miniseries coming out soon! I’ll have a couple of other scents coming out for that shortly (namely ‘Scully’ and ‘Mulder’). I’ve also been working in my studio today on some things for my booth at the indoor Edenton Farmer’s Market this weekend (as long as the weather holds out).

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Alien Abduction – Alien Abduction is cedar infused with smoky patchouli, sandalwood and vetiver, then topped with Eastern spices and a trace of white musk. After being abducted and plopped into the middle of the forest, you’ll need something soothing afterward, so I finished this wax melt off with a touch of black tea.
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Love Potion No. 9 – Love Potion No. 9 is a perky blend of Japanese grapefruit, mandarin, Georgia peach, purple plums, Valencia grapes, and soft rose petals with a base note of Nubian musk. A delightfully fruity scent reminiscent of a first love.
But because love can always carry a bite, I added a touch of darkness – leather, smooth frankincense and edgy woods round out this wax melt.
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Roswell – Roswell is a rich, heady blend of mandarin leaf, orange blossom, floral notes, sandalwood, vanilla, amber, finished with myrrh and lavender.
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The Lone Gunmen – The Lone Gunmen is a masculine blend of black pepper, cardamom and clove with a touch of sweet mandarin. Rich leather, smooth frankincense and edgy woods help to round out this scent.