I’m working from home today trying to write and all I can think about is how much I don’t want to remember. Laura took her life almost 7 years ago and it still really hurts. I miss my friend so much. September is Suicide Prevention month and whenever I hear ‘Suicide Prevention’ the guilt and grief come rushing back. I don’t know if I can ever forgive myself for not answering her call that morning because I was running late for work. I knew she was in a dark place, and I knew she needed me. When I called her back, it was too late. My therapist of course assures me this wasn’t my fault, I could not have prevented it, but my heart will always wonder what would have happened had I given her the time she needed.
As you all may (or may not) know, Malicious Women Candle Co (MWCC) began as a therapy project. I write about it in the ‘About Us’ section of my website. The name Malicious comes from the years Laura and I stayed quiet in situations and what we should have said if only we were More Malicious. When I realized these candles spoke to other people as much as they were healing me, I wanted a portion of every candle sold to honor Laura and her battle with depression. To date, as a small business MWCC has donated over $42,000 to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in Laura’s name.
We use an app called Pledge that auto donates for each candle sold
I honestly never intended to start a side hustle. I was pretty happy with my career at Boeing working in Quality Control. When I first started MWCC I had never used Instagram. I knew nothing about websites and didn’t have a clue about marketing. I just put everything out there. I took every free Masterclass I could find and spent my mornings watching YouTube videos while doing my makeup. There was so much conflicting information, tutorials, guides…you name it and I tried to follow them all until I just said ‘Fuck It, I’ll Do It My Own Way’. I started writing to you and posting all about my day-to-day life, posting the good, bad and ugly online and not trying to filter what it is like starting a small business. Once I started sharing everything with you all, MWCC started to flourish. I quit my Boeing job and decided to become a candle maker full-time.
With the explosive growth from 2019-2021 I started to hire out the marketing. First, I tried the firms that promised all sorts of success. These firms were expensive and the only thing they were really good at was taking my money. They could never get our brand voice and didn’t understand my mission. MWCC isn’t just about using the ‘F’ word, it’s about finally saying the things we normally keep hidden, lighting those feelings on fire and letting that shit go. That’s always been my mission. Along the way, there have always been people telling me whatever I am doing that day is wrong or risky. Everything from the topics I wanted to talk about to how I should manage my inventory and warehouse. Most of the advice I receive comes from a good place and for years I didn’t want to upset anyone by ignoring their advice - to a point. (Insert childhood people pleasing syndrome)
I mean, some advice I ignored. I still actively speak out for women's rights and I try very hard to leave religion out of my candles. (It's so tough because there is so much I want to say!!!)
By trying to please everyone, I had absolutely lost sight of my mission and my WHY. I stopped writing, posting, and I basically outsourced my company while I focused on the day-to-day candle making. It was easier for me to just let everyone else make the business decisions. This latest idea was probably the most painful decision I let happen.
The bounce rates were really high on my website with over 300 products for people to navigate through. I agreed it was too many and that we should discontinue the least selling candles. What ended up happening is we took the top 20 candles and the zodiac candles and discontinued the rest of the labels. It was actually physically painful for me as the stories behind these labels were personal to me. I'm actively working on bringing back some of my favorites now. The positive is I love that you all have the ability to select a scent and I want to continue that. It reminds me of my kitchen counter days.
I tell you this not to blame anyone, but to highlight the very real impact to my mental health as I lost my way. I stopped doing what I wanted and sunk into a depression funk. I developed a different ‘Fuck It’ (See how versatile the F word is?) attitude and started drinking more by 2022 to escape. All I could do was focus on my failures. It became easier to take a sort of backseat approach and let the experts tell me what to do.
To wrap up this very long post to you all, I want to say this from someone who has first-hand experience with people pleasing and the depression and self-loathing that follows, listen to your gut. I’ve missed my voice and the passion as I became consumed by the darkness. I lost connections with friends because I was just too depressed to want to move after going through the motions at work. I lost my joy.
Luckily, I have an incredible support system at home and am surrounded by the most amazing team at MWCC that have helped pull me from my funk. I’m on new meds now and I am starting to feel the passion come back and get excited again. I planted my garden and have spent a lot of time with my plants. Harvesting food I’ve grown brings me serious joy. I took a much-needed dream vacation to Ireland and feel very refreshed. Check out Joe and I at The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. It was so beautiful!
My plan is to write to you weekly and share this new phase of the journey. (If you're reading this on email, the unsubscribe button is below if this sounds like a terrible idea to you.)
For me, I want to keep telling Laura’s story and share my real victories and struggles involved with being a woman, a wife, a mother, a friend, and running a small business. The only way to shine a light on the darkness is to talk about it. If we are ever going to remove the shame and stigma from metal health we have to keep talking about it. My friends and family checked on me and I want to encourage you all to check on your quiet friends. I believe that is the most important way to prevent our loved ones from sinking into the darkness. Thank you so much if you made it this far and thank you for your continued support of me and MWCC. I truly couldn’t do this without you.
Warr;or On My Friends and Stay Malicious,
Till next week,