Yesterday was a bittersweet day. If you’re a long-time reader you know last summer I started an online candle shop where I sold my hand-crafted soy candles. Yesterday I officially closed the online doors to Lilypad Candles.
Lilypad Candles was never meant to be a long-term business. I started it last summer because I wanted to gain professional experience in the e-commerce space. I work for a marketing agency and it’s in my best interest to be as well-rounded as possible in all verticals. Most of my experience is in B2B but I really wanted to learn B2C (because it sounded more fun… and it is!).
I figured there was no better way to gain a ton of experience in a short period of time than to build my own e-commerce business from the ground up. Putting skin in the game (aka my own money) I knew that I would pay careful attention to my campaigns because I would need to at least break even on my investment.
I ended up doing better than breaking even, I made a small (very small) profit. However, the experiment is now over.
I feel like I gained a ton of knowledge not just in e-commerce marketing but also in all aspects of running a small business with a physical product. Before I started the business I expected the hardest part to be production, but really scaling production was quite easy. The hard part was dealing with logistics as a one-person business.
A few months ago I put together a Day In the Life post and I realized just how much time I was spending on the candle business. It was around this time that I started feeling a sigh of tiredness rather than a shot of excitement when i would check on how many new orders I needed to fulfill each day. It was at this time that I realized it was time to start scaling the business back, so that’s what I’ve been doing.
I’m so grateful for all of the customers I got to interact with, especially the really wonderful repeat customers. Though I closed the doors on the online shop, I do feel the experiment was a big success. I now feel confident in not just the theory of e-commerce marketing but also the execution.
What I’m really excited about? When I get home from work I don’t have to worry about making candles anymore! This leaves me with lots of extra time for running, thinking about running, planning new running routes, etc. You get the point : )
I do still have some candle making supplies left, so I imagine my family and friends will be getting candles for Christmas this year, haha.
Though I’ve fulfilled my last candle order, I’m not one to ever be content (which is both a blessing and a curse). I’ve already got another idea in the works and this time it’s one that I’m pretty passionate about. I was never really passionate about candles. I LOVE burning candles a lot, but truthfully making them was kind of boring… especially when I was making many of them at one time and I had an assembly line running through my kitchen!
It’s time for me to move onward, but I have no regrets about the time I spent making candles and learning e-com.
I truly believe that if you want to learn something, the best way to tackle the process is head on. Whether that’s learning to run a 5K or marathon, learning something work-related or learning something fun, there’s nothing quite like jumping in head first and dealing with the consequences. It’ll be hard sometimes but that’s where the real learning takes place.
That’s what I keep telling myself on speedwork days!
If you could start any type of business, what kind would you want to start?
Do you like to jump head-first into things, or do you take a more careful approach?