For over twenty years Jacki Smith and Patty Shaw have been known as the candle ladies. Many have heard them say, “We have a candle for that” and by golly when pressed many realize that they really do. At first glance, Coventry Creations looks like a regular old candle factory. There is lots of wax on the floor, its smells heavenly and there are rows and rows of candle molds. What is not easy to see is the “Why”. Why is this humble candle factory different? It’s because making handmade candles is not the reason Jacki and Patty are in business. They are here first and foremost to inspire others by teaching empowered living. Candles happen to be the method in which this is done. Anyone who reads the labels, promotional material, website and their books will see that this is true. They will also learn that there are many paths to empowerment and Coventry Creations favorite ones are Magic and Spiritual Enlightenment. One important lesson the candle ladies have learned is one does not negate the other. Magic, enlightenment and business can all happen under the same roof, in fact it is the secret to their success. In addition to making magic and participating in meditation, the ladies attend entrepreneurial school. They do rub elbows with multi-million CEO’s on a regular basis and learn from them as well.
Being a manufacturer is complex animal. In addition to branding, creating a marketing plan and fine tuning a sales team, a whole other world of activity and expenses goes on. Jacki and Patty work diligently to master all aspects and have done it as a team. Each one has taken responsibility for a branch or more of the business but they approach it from the perspective that everything impacts everything else. Truly a synchronized dance. Just like in the universe, there are no real islands, just the illusion that there are.
Jacki is in charge of branding, marketing and sales while Patty oversees manufacturing and financials. They both get to play in R&D but Jacki takes the lead in determining direction and aesthetics. You would think this was enough to keep both sisters busy and fulfilled, but this is not the case.
There is a little venue called the Candle Wick Shoppe just a mile and a half from the factory and it belongs to the same sisters who brag that they have a candle for that. Jacki and Patty use their store to try out new ideas, live the life of a retailer and most importantly, talk to people. They know that the best way to understand the success or failure of a product is to watch their customer’s reactions and buying trends. The same goes for their wholesale customers who the sisters work tirelessly to create and sustain successful working relationships. Jacki and Patty literally know what it’s like to be a store owner and have used these experiences to mold their customer care department.
All the issues Coventry Creations customers have, the Candle Wick Shoppe has had too. So when Jacki and Patty say, they understand the store owners frustrations, they are not kidding. Many of the ideas and experiences in the business to business articles Jacki writes for Retailing Insight come straight from what she’s learned from running this little shop.
Working on both sides of the market has been invaluable business experience. It has helped “keep it real” for Jacki and Patty so they can continue to do what they went into business for; inspire, teach and create new and interesting way to be empowered. By the way Jacki and Patty are customers of Coventry Creations too.
Ferndale, MI 48220
COVR members discount, see www.covr.org