Candle Wick Shoppe
175 W Nine Mile Road
Ferndale, MI 48220
Owners: Jacki Smith, Ag Phoenix, Patty Shaw
Year Opened: 2008
Store Size: 1,000 square feet
Hours: 11am to 8pm Monday – Saturday, 12pm to 5pm Sunday
Products in Stock Root candles, incenses, crystals and stones, herbs, custom in-house products
Inventory Method/Software Use: QuickBooks POS
Inventory Turn: 90 days
Sales by category: Candles are the biggest seller by far, then incenses and tumbled stones
Reiki meditation on Mondays, custom mojo bags, sponsor of the 2019 Ferndale Pride.
The Candle Wick Shoppe can be defined as the place to find the remedy for what ails your soul. A cute little apothecary-style space in Ferndale, Michigan where the funky and fun are welcome. They specialize in candles and other magical supplies and are known for their helpful and friendly staff. Also, they’re incredibly involved with their local geographic and spiritual community.
Why did you decide the open a store?
We had always wanted to have a store in Ferndale and when a local store owner asked us to buy his store, we jumped on the opportunity. It was a rough start with securing funds, staffing and the right product mix, but it was worth it every step of the way. This was our second time at the wheel of owning a retail store and we brought a new knowledge base to the table. Our joy of connecting to our customers face-to-face and helping them solve deep spiritual issues inspired us to take this chance on another brick and mortar. We already had an online presence, but it was too detached from the customer.
As a store owner can you share a little bit of your weekly routine with us?
Watch the money, order more products, watch the money. We are fully self-funded and inch along to grow our inventory base. Our weekly routine is all about managing the small things, so they don’t get too big. The owners of Candle Wick Shoppe all have full time jobs outside of Candle Wick and our team of part-time sales people manage the day-to-day needs. Sunday night starts the routine of creating tasks in Trello to manage our team remotely and ensure the routine stays consistent. We use all the technology tools to be available to our staff as questions arise.
How do you promote your brand and products?
Social Media is the biggest outreach for our brand and products. We have found that people will check your Facebook or Instagram page before they check your website. Our intent in social media is to be fun, informative and enticing. Additionally, we spend a lot of energy supporting local events for our city and our spiritual community. That has made more of an impact than print ads.
Do you work with consignment products?
No. That is a specialized business model and too taxing for a part-time team to manage.
Do you sell products online?
Online sales are the daily boon of cash flow that keeps us in business. Our website, Etsy, Amazon, and being the fulfillment house for one of our main product suppliers keeps the staff busy and products fresh. We find keeping up the Etsy and Amazon presence is easier and more rewarding than trying to keep a handle on the constant update needed on a retail website. We are scheduled for a website overhaul this summer and it has become a much bigger project than we anticipated.
Do you work exclusively with local artists and Made in USA products or do you sell imported products too?
We sell what our customers are looking for. We are in a town of local artists who have many outlets to sell their wares and ways to look cooler than we can compete with. Downtown Ferndale has become a spiritual mecca for the Detroit area. We have many crossover retailers for the spiritual market, yoga studios, healers, massage therapists, Reiki, and meditation. We all try to be unique in what we offer, making the buying process challenging. We have found that our niche is base, core spiritual supplies and many of these come from out of country. However, we endeavor to find Fair Trade options.
When choosing new products for your store what is your criteria in terms of selection?
Authentic purpose is one of our value statements applying directly to the type of product we buy. We look for vendors with similar core values as ours and when found, we invest deeply. We constantly look for products that create extraordinary experiences and joyful interactions, two more of our value statements. We love to laugh and be amazed at the creativity of others. When we look at new products we ask, “why would someone buy this product? What pain does it solve and what need does it fill?” Sometimes the answer is, “because it is cool,” and that is a valid reason.
Do you usually buy products advertised in Retailing Insight?
We would love to buy every product advertised in Retailing Insight! Our budget says differently. Many of the advertisers are our vendors and we enjoy a rewarding relationships with them.
Any plans to expand business to attract a broader audience?
It is in our business ideal to be a destination for meeting your magical and spiritual needs. We know we have not yet fully tapped into our core market and are plotting and planning the next adventure. We have grand ideas on making magic a fun, every day, easy practice. We want to change the world, one customer at a time, helping them unlock more ways to reach their goals.
What advice do you have for our retailers?
If your purpose is to run a store, make this your career. Learn from every successful person you meet, seek out council from people smarter than you, join organizations to expand your experience and look “up and out” to watch trends in the greater world. Your biggest enemy is exhaustion. Limit yourself to one project at a time, put on your own oxygen mask first and never be held hostage by your own business. We could go on. We always have tons of advice… oh and keep trying, there are options you have never even imagined!