I liked the challenge…..
From the beginning my thoughts were to decorate candles for weddings and baptisms in different designs and materials from those presently used in the U.S. and Europe. You may ask why? The European designs seemed over the top with all the trinkets and yards of tulle hanging down off the candles. The U.S. designs seemed to either be imported from Europe or be accented with a bow in various colors and sizes.
Could I do this? Would Argie agree?
Having three of my children baptized in Greece, I was exposed to all the different styles of candles and materials used to decorate them. One large “lambada” (word for a single large candle) is usually used for the baptism that is decorated with lots of tulle, fabric, ribbons, a decorative gift item for the baby like a stuffed animal, toy or silk, dry or fresh flowers. More recently, a decorated floor candle stand with a pillar candle is another option. Three smaller candles decorated with colored ribbons are placed in the holders on the baptismal font or carried by younger children during the appropriate time in the service.
We were really excited to have decided upon a name for our business: “dahlia”. Registering the business with state and country made the business feel real. But now we had to deal with the dollars and cents. Argie asked me the minimum amount of money I thought we would need to get started. I replied, "$800 for the both of us”, thinking we could “bootstrap” the business. I guess I knew the concept at the time but not the term. I’m not talking about a rodeo! Bootstrapping is where you start a business with a minimal amount of your own money, but plow all your income back into the business, growing over time. To come up with a number I made an educated guess on the cost of materials to create a set of wedding and a set of baptism candles (lambades) knowing we could buy more materials once we sold these initial products.
“The only source of knowledge is experience.” -Albert Einstein
We needed to do many things to get the business going. Even though we didn’t write a business plan prior to agreeing to start the business, one was certainly beginning to unfold.
Sure, you can read books that attempt to guide you through the process. But we found that the best learning comes from experience. Here are just a few lessons I had already learned along the way:
Argie studied graphic design when projects were done by hand and not with the help of a computer. She worked many consulting jobs throughout the years while raising her four children. I worked as a surgical nurse for nearly twenty years and seven years dabbling in interior decorating, faux finishing and murals while raising my own four children. What did we know about starting a business? Did we know about company naming? Did we know about the financial burden and how to manage finances for the business? Did we know about all the legal paperwork? Did we know anything about marketing and advertising? Did we know the amount of time we would spend trying to develop our products and our company? And here is the big one...did we know what it meant to run an online store?
An Orthodox Church is dedicated to our Lord and God Jesus Christ, the Theotokos (the Mother of Jesus-the word comes from two Greek words "Theos" meaning God and 'tokos' meaning giving birth.), an Angel or a particular saint. When you walk into an Orthodox Church you will notice that it is filled with icons not only of Jesus Christ but angels, the Theotokos and many Saints of the Church. One may wonder or ask why do you honor others other than God and do you consider them equal to God? Growing up as an Orthodox Christian I was taught that God is the One True Holy One. So, why do we place so much honor to all these men, women and children and consider them saints? The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America classifies and explains why we address these people as saints. In simple words, a Saint is a person that while living on earth has achieved to imitate God in every aspect of their lives. As Orthodox Christians we study the lives of saints and use them as good examples for our own lives.
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His desciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine." Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."
The idea of creating wedding and baptismal candles for our church bookstore was proposed to me by our parish priest back in the spring of 2013. At the time, it seemed like an exciting project, since I was already decorating the “Easter Resurrection candles*” to sell in our parish bookstore.
Creating these candles has been the business of many over the years. In Greece, due to the large population of Greek Orthodox, there are many stores selling items used for the Orthodox sacraments of Holy Matrimony and Baptism. Throughout the U.S.A there are also brick and mortar stores, but many women have had a home based business selling items needed for the Orthodox sacraments.
When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus was also baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased."