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The Perm-to-Candle Queen Pipeline

This toothy young girl with hopes, dreams, and an oversized stripe shirt she'd still wear today, didn't grow up in a candle-burning household. But while packing for college one morning in September,... yep, I'm bringing 9/11 into this story, so buckle up.

In a world that was full of uncertainty, terror, and I was fresh out of the nest, I kept my head down and pushed away fear.

Just freshly 18 years old, the world I was entering was now wildly different from the world I grew up in. One day I left early for my job as a hostess at Outback (give it up for cheese fries shaping my personality, everybody!), and I had a little time to kill. I wandered into the Pier One nearby, and it was there in this sleepy little town of Salisbury, NC right off the interstate of I-85, that I discovered I was a Candle Person. It was a ginger peach pillar candle, and it changed my life.

It brought me comfort in a way that sounds silly to put words to it now, but a week after 9/11, and a couple of weeks before I was about to fly to Florida for college, full of fear and uncertainty, suddenly - something felt good. And I clung onto that.

It brought me back to the comfort and safety of my childhood - the same childhood in which I had the undeserved confidence to ask my mom for a PERM, and in which she had the audacity!!!! to agree. And they carry me today into a world now in which we lead our children further in to a world in which we could be overtaken by fear around us - and yet - we seek out our own strength. We gather it up from inside us with the tools we have learned to use throughout the years.

We know that when we tend to ourselves we are able to brave the fires. We are able to face the uncertainty head on. We can summon our boldness and go forward in this world, even if we do collapse at the end of the day in the comfort of our safe places. We all build our havens because they fill us with the strength to continue.

Today it might not be terrorists. It might not be a pandemic. It might not be a brush fire. It might not be anything that makes the news. It might be something so small, you keep it to yourself. But I know - we all know - you are strong and I hope you can find your ways to gather your strength in finding your little silly comforts, and learning who you are - and do it for the youngest version that you used to be. For that person with the hope in their eyes, whose biggest worry was that she'd never get to meet Joey McIntyre, or maybe that Amy Grant would never see her dance. (Probably both blessings that they never happened, tbh.)

But she did grow up, get a degree in commercial photography, shoot weddings for 10 years, flip houses for 4 years, design houses for 5 years, get married to a solid guy and have 3 kids, endure a pandemic as a stay at home mom and have one business fail, start her own home interior shop and then sell it, and then decide to launch her own candle business.

So, she is okay. But also - she did get to meet Amy Grant in the drive through at Starbucks in Nashville once, and that was good enough.

So hi! I'm Sarah Rhodes, and I'm pleased to make your candles.