How it all began!
In 1980, at 9 years of age - around the Holiday Season - in 4th grade I remember making my very first candle. It was a simple milk carton candle. Wrapped in a bow with glitter on it. That was all it took! That single candle was the cause of many trips to the supermarket to buy "canning wax"... the easiest way for a 9 year old kid to beg his mother to buy paraffin wax was in the isle of the supermarket. Besides, show me a mom who doesn't love candles! The giant mess I'm certain to have made aside, I enjoyed it very much... using everything from yogurt containers, paper towel tubes, and just about anything else I could think of as a mold. I wish I could remember what I used for wick back then - to be honest, I really can't remember, I have to assume it was some kind of string from the kitchen draw. We all have "that" draw in our kitchen with a little bit of everything! On second thought I think I may have melted down perfectly good candles (for the wax, if I know myself LOL) and used the old wick. Not very concerned about wick sizing and such when you're 9, I suppose. :)
Continuing, as a youngster, I made candles on and off with a bunch of small jobs and a paper route in between (do they even have paper routes anymore?) fate stepped in again. Walking around a mall in Paramus, NJ with a friend before the holiday season I noticed a help wanted sign on a kiosk that was barely set up. I had no idea what they were selling... all I saw was that "Help Wanted" sign. As I approached the wooden clad counter I saw that magic word! "Candle" it was for the world renowned Candlestock of Woodstock, NY. "How cool" is what I remember thinking to myself! I have to admit that at the time I didn't have a clue what Woodstock was all about, where it was or anything else. I did know that there was a really neat dipping tank being set up, and lots and lots and lots of boxes to unpack -- all full of candles. I'm not sure if I was more excited about all the candles or about the fact that they needed somebody to unpack them. I suppose Mr. Moss, the owner, could sense a hardworking and eager pair of hands and I was hired on the spot. I distinctly remember Mr. Moss sending me to go get a package of pens from one of the stores on the other side of the mall. I ran as quickly as I could - back then I think it would have been considered wanting to please your boss -- today, we call it work ethic - something everyone still prides themselves on at Buyacandle.com
Working at the Candlestock kiosk was a seasonal thing and by February of that same year it was over. There were a bunch of visits to their store and the two car garage that they rented out from Mr. Raleigh... The seed had been planted - unbeknownst it to me!
|Three floors up in the right hand|
corner... "The Loft"
1990-1991(photo as appears today)
The shelves were piling up with candles! What do I do with all these candles!? A couple miles away a flea market had opened! An idea! Why not open a booth in the flea market and see what comes of it? It was right before the Holiday Season, the peak time for candles! The shelves quickly emptied and before we knew it we were making candles and selling candles. It seems that we had a candle business on our hands! I continued to go to school full time, work the business and make the candles. Looking back - how it all got done, I wish I knew -- but it got done!
|Our First Store!|
(photo as appears today)
|Article about our first store - I thought it was "artistic" to call myself Peter Michaels. LOL|
I graduated from college with my undergraduate degree and realizing how much I loved academia, I went on to get my graduate degree. All studying in that little store - doing what I love - making candles and talking to the greatest customers ever!
|LuLu - Our Mascot!|
Adopted in December 2000
Photo taken: June 28, 2012
In the Spring of 2002 a very hard decision was made. The tiny candle store on the corner was going to close. We were still busy... but things were changing - there was something new on the horizon. The Internet. A few years prior we bought a domain name called Buyacandle.com and started putting together a website. Teaching ourselves everything we could along the way about it. Buyacandle.com had been up and running and was starting to see some light traffic. I wanted to pursue it full time and made the leap. We had a spectacular "relocation sale" from a traditional store to a virtual store and sold everything in the store. The candles, the fixtures -- everything.
We started Buyacandle.com fresh -- albeit in our own 2 car garage (like that of Candlestock's recalled from many years past!) and our basement with two bedrooms as offices. (This was before children and more which I'll get into later! LOL.) Buyacandle.com's entire production was sprawled out among a huge portion of our home. It wasn't that long ago that entire pallets with cases of wax were dropped off in our driveway and hand carried into our kitchen and brought down - one-by-one - into the basement for storage. 2000+ pounds, 50 pounds at a time, up the side stairs, in the middle of the kitchen, and then down the basement stairs and stacked up!
Somewhere along the line we added a Toll-Free telephone number -- and then we added a second one... just in case! :) -- and it's on top of every page on our site! If you ever can't figure something out, need an idea, or have a question, just call us. We answer *every* call and love helping!
From there we grew Buyacandle.com into a leading online candle store. A vast array of candles with an amazing selection of pillar candles and floating candles just to name a few.
In 2007, I married Stefani - an extremely skilled graphic artist and designer, formally trained at the prestigious Philadelphia University where she received her undergraduate degree in graphic design communications. Stefani joined me immediately following our marriage and has been a part of the daily operations of Buyacandle.com ever since.
The Lord blessed us with a boy in 2008, Fox William... and then again in 2010 with a girl, Hadley Dagny.
|Buyacandle.com's New Home!|