Thank you, 2018. Hello 2019.

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Photo by Wole Ajabe of The Whiff Co

Photo by Wole Ajabe of The Whiff Co

 

Thank you. What an understatement for this year. Three years ago when I took the plunge into running my business full time, I had no idea what would happen, but I was determined to try. To grow. To explore. And to create my own way of life. We followed no path set out. We don’t have financing or investors, or a trust fund that has kept this experiment afloat. I walked into this life with the bit of money I had made throughout my life, and nothing but the ability to keep trying, and to not give up.

People often ask how I got started, and honestly, the story is boring. It’s slow. This is how it goes: I like making things. I tried selling x and then I tried selling y and then z, and z seemed to take off so here we are, eight years later. Sometimes others’ quick growth and success frustrates me, but I’m resolved in 2019 to be happy with mine. Slow growth, slow success, but sustainable, which is what we’re all about around here anyway. Slow, mindful, sustainable living.

And although the royal “we” around here has primarily been a one-person team for eight years with a few extra hands here and there, the truth is that it’s never just been me. It’s been us, and your support has meant the world to me. So much of the time I make new connections through someone I’ve met at a market, or by something someone sent through Instagram, or because you told a friend about us who told a friend who was opening a new shop. And for that, thank you. Thank you so g’d much.

In 2019, we hosted eight workshops across DC, participated in dozens of markets and pop-ups, saw our products in 20+ new stores, and sent what I’m estimating to be thousands of candles into homes across the country.

With your purchases of our spring collection, we were able to donate over $100 to Washington Youth Garden, and with your purchases of our fall collection, we were able to donate over $600 to Friendship Place. We were also able to donate to RAICES, and contribute candles to fundraise for school projects, legal defense funds, people battling cancer, and more.

Although these last few years have been difficult, it’s put life into great perspective for me. How can we contribute? How can we give back? How can we spread light?

Thank you to all of you who help us do that. We are so proud to call DC home, and to know that it is filled with people who also care, who support causes they believe in, and that give small businesses life.

Finally as I wrap up this sappy post, let me thank the real heroes- Jane and Lydia who were in the studio making our goods and shipping out orders this season, my mom and uncle who show up with lunch and all the random extra things I need (water, clementines, panels of muslin, etc), my brother Rashid and friend Leise who helped cover markets this year, my mother-in-law who fixed up a car for me to borrow to tote around furniture and candles across the city, and of course my husband Brad who keeps the rest of my life afloat while I live in candle purgatory all of December. Thanks for keeping all those bowls of pasta warm late at night, and not minding me eating them in bed and then going straight to sleep.

2018 was a year of figuring out how to grow without losing our handmade roots. 2019 is going to be year of figuring out how to grow while keeping a sustainable lifestyle for me. How to rest more, how to pause more, all while keeping the engine going.

I’m excited to keep making and creating with you in this new year. Let’s keep spreading light together.

XO, Amina