Well, it has finally come to that time — the time to reflect on the past year.
After taking a 3-month maternity leave, I returned to my full time job as an Optometrist in January. Almost everyone thought I would take a break from Scrumptious Wicks while I went through this transition period. To be honest, even I thought I would.
But a part of me knew that I would miss it far too much if I stopped. It wasn’t because of pride; it was because creating and pouring candles was my escape from the day-to-day chaos. I really enjoyed having that time alone to clear my head and let my creativity run wild. Plus, after having my son, I felt like I needed to have that quiet time in the studio even more. So, I made it a point to keep it up — because in the end, it made me happy. And that happiness was worth making time for.
2019: you were an absolute game changer for Scrumptious Wicks. I couldn’t nail it down to one thing, so here are a few things that I think helped move me and the business forward.
After having our son, and with my husband’s fellowship in NYC, we had to move to a new place earlier this year — which ultimately meant a longer commute to work for me. I got so frustrated in the mornings/evenings because I felt like I was wasting so much time in the car every day. So I started listening to podcasts while driving.
Some of my favorites are How I Built This with Guy Raz (which actually inspired me to start my own business), The Product Boss with Jacqueline Snyder and Minna Khounlo-Sithep, Women Inspiring Women with Melanie Mitro, Biz Chix with Natalie Eckdahl, and On Purpose with Jay Shetty.
In one way or another, all of these podcasts helped knock out the Imposter Syndrome on my lowest days. They helped me stop making excuses and gave me the tough love I needed to get back on track. One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from Melanie Mitro: “In order to have the life that you envision, you must be willing to live your life NOW, the way others aren’t willing to live theirs.” That meant that on the days I was exhausted, I had to find it in myself to push the needle a little farther. I couldn’t depend on my family or friends to cheer me on. I had to do it myself. So, even though I came home exhausted from work and I just wanted to relax on the couch, I would quickly eat dinner, give my son a bath and put him to bed, and then go straight to the studio. If I finished at least one or two things on my to-do list, then I could enjoy the rest of the night in peace.
WORKING SMARTER, NOT HARDER:
I also learned to strategically tackle things on my to-do list that would help propel Scrumptious Wicks further -- not just go from the top of the list and work my way down.
Tasks like changing a label design were important, yes, but things that were far more important were sending that pitch email, prepping inventory before a big launch, or even networking. Changing the design of a label could be done later. The other tasks as I mentioned would have a much greater and more direct impact on the overall growth of the business if they were completed first.
Instagram has single-handedly changed my business for the better. The ability to connect with people in all different fields whether it be entertainment, hospitality, makeup artistry, photography – you name it, you can find them on Instagram.
I have also been fortunate enough to chat with other businesses owners, specifically South Asian female entrepreneurs, via Instagram. Community is so important, especially when it comes to entrepreneurship. Outsiders are happy to cheer you on when you are at a peak in your company, but during those valleys, it can be very lonely. Having a sense of “entrepreneurial sisterhood” has really helped me push through those moments of vulnerability when I didn’t know where to go next.
In previous years, when I would feel stuck, I would turn to my family and friends for advice. Here’s the thing though – they all mean well, which is fantastic, because their support is everything to me – but they can easily miss the forest for the trees because they’re living this day-to-day journey with me. I’ll give you an example: in May this year, I went completely dye-free with my candles. I also changed the design of the jar from a mason jar to a more modern and sleek straight-sided jar. The response ended up being amazing, and I’m so happy with the new look (and it seems you all were too!). But in the months leading up to the change, I voiced this idea about making the switch to my husband. He didn’t understand why I wanted to suddenly change the aesthetic of the jar when people were, supposedly, happy buying the mason jar version. We were also living in an apartment with a closet full of mason jar cases. “But what are you going to do with all the jars you have in stock?” he asked. He meant well, and I still listened to his concern. But I knew that this was the direction Scrumptious Wicks had to go.
So, I posed the same concern to my group of female entrepreneurs, and, one by one, they all supported me in making the switch. They said that it was completely normal for a brand to evolve over time, and that if I had a vision for what Scrumptious Wicks was supposed to be, that I should continue to work towards it. They also reminded me that my customers would show me if they liked the new version – the sales and the testimonials would prove it. And in the worst case scenario, if it didn’t work, then I would pivot again. Because learning to take risks and pivoting was essential to the longevity and success of the company.
Fast forward to a few months later, after the new look and branding. I was starting to prep the gift box and scent options for Diwali 2019. I, once again, asked my husband for his input on something, and this time, his response was different yet still sincere: “Did you ask your business friends yet? What do they think?”
Missing the forest for the trees was not going to happen again. Or at least, it wasn’t going to happen while I still believed in myself and continued to trust my gut.
2019: thank you for an unforgettable year of growth, both personally and professionally. I look forward to 2020 now with this outlook: anything is possible. Yes, absolutely ANYTHING is possible. You just have to be willing to take the risks, put in the work, and most important of all, have the right mindset.
Thank you all for your continued support. See you all in the New Year!
Lots of love,