First I would like to welcome you to our new blog platform. After switching web developers, I realized I had mistakingly not saved any of the previous blog posts... so whether or not we wanted a fresh start, here we are! I started writing blog posts to help answer my most asked questions, whether it be about myself or referring to interior design, business, etc. What I have realized about myself in the recent months, as a store owner, is that people like to make small talk when they come in to shop. Another realization I have made, is that I am absolutely terrible at making small talk when people are asking me questions about myself. The truth is that I just feel like I have so many life lessons to share, regardless of my age. With that, I figured maybe its best for everyone if I just get them all out in a blog post so that I don't feel inclined to share my life story with a stranger who asks me, "so how did you get into this business?"
So how did you get into this business?
Natty West got its name on a girls night with my mom (and business partner), and we just wanted to come up with a business name if we were to ever have one in the future. We came up with Natty West, Natty meaning 'smart and fashionable' and West coming from the both of us originating from the west coast. About a year later, we got to talking about pipe dream businesses and decided we would give something a try that would be a low cost investment but that could yield a significant income for us to potentially afford some of those dreams in the long run. We ended up discovering candles were a passion project of ours, being that my mom has serious sensitivities to certain chemicals that are in big brand candles and fragrances. I grew up knowing we couldn't walk into Yankee Candle or Bath and Body Works without my mom getting a major headache. So we did our research, and we found one of the most common triggers for headaches in fragrances are carcinogenic ingredients commonly used as preservatives, enhancers, carriers, and solvents. One of the biggest offenders, are phthalates (th-ay-lates). We found a great solution to this issue that follows the guidelines of the Research Institute of Fragrance Materials (RIFM). The RIFM follows California state laws, which have the most strict laws in The U.S. for fragrance materials. With our fragrance materials being safe, using a soy-vegetable wax blend, and using lead-free wicks, we have formulated a candle that will not trigger sensitivities to unhealthy carcinogens. Now, my mom who was never able to burn candles, is able to enjoy them whenever she pleases! We want to allow others to experience the same.
As for the store itself, it wasn't even on our radar until January! The location we are in used to be home to the Redemption Bookstore. The owner was retiring, and she offered to get us in touch with her landlord. In short, we signed a lease two weeks later! We has known for years that we wanted more than just an online candle business, but now we had to figure out what it was that we were going to do. Ultimately, we decided on home decor and locally curated goods made by businesses without a brick and mortar. Luckily, we had made so many connections at different markets and pop-up events, that stocking the store was relatively easy! Since we opened on March 1st, we have done some fine tuning to our business model and now offer interior design services as well.
So I'm guessing you got your degree in business?
I sure didn't! Maybe surprising, maybe not, but my choice career path was a long, long process of elimination. Growing up in a 'medical' family, I was used to gruesome surgery stories at the dinner table. Both of my parents were in the medical field and I always looked up to them for literally saving peoples lives for a living. They were my real life heroes! I also grew up a Navy kid. We traveled all over, and even overseas. I learned to love different languages, and ended up studying Spanish and French in high school and college. I thought that I would be a doctor some day, save lives, and maybe travel while doing it. So I took every science class I could in high school, and I loved all of them. During my first semester of college I was breathing the fresh air of freedom, and didn't make enough time for my Biology and Chemistry classes in between volleyball and my social life. Needless to say, my grades fell through big time. What was running through my head at the time were things like, "Do I retake both classes and set myself back a whole semester for graduation?", "Do I switch my major so I don't have to retake the science classes?"... I ended up taking a career aptitude class to figure it out, and decided on a Criminal Justice major. It was a perfect fit for me, being that I wanted to be in a public service industry where I could impact people's lives. I developed a strong passion for CJ and ended up graduating early with a minor in Spanish as well. I wanted to go into emergency management, or doing something crazy in Washington D.C... and then I got married... and then I got pregnant. I was working police dispatch at the time and something in me just knew that I was not going to be a working mom in a 9-5 job. Insert Natty West...
What's your favorite part of being a business owner?
My favorite part about being a business owner is the freedom to be home with my son, take him to work with me, and just the ability to be way more family oriented than I would be able to working for someone else. I knew I wanted to be as stay-at-home as possible, so that I could watch my son grow up. Even better, this works perfectly being business partners with my mom. We split the work day in half and she will take little man when I am working. I just love the he is surrounded by family all the time, and in hands that I know I can trust! Family is 100% the most important thing in my life second to Jesus. I know now, that my most important job is the one that I have at home, because raising my son to be a good man is the single most impactful thing I might ever do in my life.
Well, I did warn you!
Thanks for reading, please feel free to reach out with any comments or questions!