It’s been a hot minute since I updated my personal blog. I don’t even know if anyone still reads it. I’d like to update it more in 2023, I’ll avoid the word that rhymes with schmesolution since that will only fuck it up. I’ve been writing weekly again at Splice Today where I’ve been Senior Editor for ten years now— it’s almost a small feeling of pride knowing someone as scatterbrained with a migraine-riddled brain can manage to do anything in my life for ten years. You can always find those weekly writing pieces here:
In other news, this week is my two year anniversary of pouring candles. The candle business actually started around June 2020, but for the first six months the candles were poured by a small business of local students and I was just supplying the vessels and reselling them. When they got Covid over Christmas I had to buy all the supplies and start pouring myself and fell in love with candlemaking so I started supplying my own business.
It’s been a fascinating and wonderful two years growing the candlemaking business; also in that time I opened The Beach Bank which houses The Beachcombing Center nonprofit Beachcombing museum on Labor Day 2021. I have used all the profits of my business to keep that building open. In the last two years I have worked more 80 hour weeks than I can count. I have never written myself a paycheck. I’ve had multiple surgeries and other orthopedic procedures on my foot, elbow and now coming up, my shoulder and countless migraines from the wear and tear on my body of spending so many hours on my feet pouring candles trying to make ends meet for the overhead of this building.
I unexpectedly had to leave my island cottage and move to a new place and my living expenses tripled, and now I can’t afford to have my business continue to finance the over $2k a month it costs to operate The Beach Bank. A primarily online business can’t fund a brick and mortar store and unfortunately I’m sad to say that while I was able to raise money to create a space for the Beachcombing museum collection and didn’t mind running it without a salary, it was nowhere near enough to pay for the operating expenses of the building — a 1915 historic building requires constant expensive care and maintenance not to mention just heating it, and I simply don’t have the financial support, board support or volunteers to continue to operate this organization on my own. Quite simply, I bit off far more than I could chew, I’m killing myself with work just to try to keep the balls in the air, and no matter how hard I work I can’t get into the black. I’ve never been so stressed in my life or felt so alone.
I am in a position where if I don’t make changes, my physical and mental health are going to suffer beyond repair. While I am making an effort to retain the museum room in place and am currently moving my candlemaking studio out in order to make candles in my new larger home setting and will be renting one room of The Beach Bank, I am working to find a tenant for the front shop room as well in an effort to cover building expenses. I am also considering finding partner museums to display part of The Beachcombing Center exhibit so that it might be seen by more of the public. Anyone who supported this effort should be aware that I consider this museum collection a part of the public domain and remain sworn to protect its history and provenance as such. I continue to be dedicated to Beachcombing education and research, unfortunately working as hard as I have been to keep the lights on has precluded me from being able to do very much of what I simply love.
I am rebranding and redesigning the candle company; we will be offering different types of custom treasure candles and am excited to focus on trying to build and expand the business in a new way. I will be working to finish my memoir this year also. I want 2023 to be a healthy, happy new year and will make whatever changes are necessary so that I am not as mentally and physically exhausted as I was in 2021 as this is simply not a sustainable way to live. The whole experience feels humbling in a way and while it would be tempting to feel like a failure in terms of The Beach Bank, I still plan to sell candles there, keep The Beachcombing Center there as long as I am able, and honor its mission. I just need to take a step back to simplify my life and focus on the candle business and my writing because those are about all I can handle at the moment; running a brick and mortar retail operation is not something that has proven to be a talent of mine; I’m not sure that’s as much failure as just learning limits and being honest about my capabilities.
Thank you to everyone who has followed along with my journey; I am forever grateful for your support.