Monday, December 10, 2018

Pacifica Grace Studio | Behind The Scenes #1

Since my business launched on November 14th, I’ve been working hard to make candles to order, packing, and shipping them.  The initial orders were from supportive friends and people I know.  Since then I’ve gotten a couple of orders from strangers, but the volume has died down.  It’s pretty difficult to market yourself in a flooded market, with a social media algorithm that doesn’t favor small-time business like mine.  But I press on.  Because it’s fun, for now.  And because I don’t know how to do “retirement” right, as many of my friends have told me, ha ha. 

Today I thought it would be fun to show you some behind the scenes at Pacifica Grace Studio headquarters! 

Part of my start-up cost was finding some appropriate shelving to store my supplies, equipment/tools, and some limited inventory.  Before I got my shelves, I literally had boxes and supplies just everywhere.  That was messy and I couldn’t take it anymore.

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So I ordered some IKEA IVAR shelves.  They are very tall and very sturdy and I absolutely love them.  I almost think they are the best part of running my small business, ha ha.

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I designed the configuration so that the middle part is my packing and shipping station.  It has all the boxes, bubble wrap, tape, labels, etc.  Everything I need to pack and ship.

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The left side contains all my raw meterials to make the candles.  Upper left is my wax melting pot.  All the different sized jars and tins are in the left middle shelves.  The left bottom cabinet with doors has all my wax supplies.  I needed doors on there because that side will get some sun and I didn’t want my soy wax to melt! 

The right side is inventory and staging area.  I have some very limited inventory on hand and they go inside the bottom cabinet with doors in the upper shelf.  Again, doors are needed so when the afternoon sun hits the shelves, my finished candles and wax melts don’t melt!

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Also inside this cabinet are all the fragrance oils and my own special mixes of scents.

I also stage my finished candles on the right side of my shelving.  These are some candles that I made the previous day, but are waiting to cure.  They don’t have labels yet and the wicks aren’t trimmed down yet.

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I also have photo props and staging on the right upper side of the shelving.  I had to buy a bunch of props for product photography and they sit on that shelf and in boxes on the shelves below.  I was even able to take some product photos for social media just right there on the shelf!

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I actually don’t have an area for pre-shipment staging, so I bought a white standing height utility table to use for that. 

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I have been testing new soy wax blends.  I use 100% soy wax but some have certain characteristics versus others.  To get the best of certain characteristics, I’m testing and blending my own mix of soy wax.  I’m also testing new scents to see if I should offer them in the near future.  This one is Cinnamon Bun and made my whole house smell like a Cinnabon!

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I’m also test making bath & body products to give away to friends as Christmas gifts.  So far I’ve made bath bombs…

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Salt scrubs…

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and body lotion.

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I’m giving away sets of these to some of my girlfriends from where I used to work.  I organized a Christmas luncheon next week and I’m doing the party favors!

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They are soooooo cute and I love them.  They smell so good.  But in order to sell them, I will need to figure out the FDA cosmetic labeling requirements first.  Since they are bath & body products they are considered cosmetics and the FDA regulates the labeling on them.  It’s not overly complicated, but of course I would need to comply in order to sell. 

I’m also researching scents and products for Valentine’s (or Galentine’s) Day.  And beyond that I’ve ordered some spring/summer (tropical, floral, ocean, etc.) scents to try out.  I may end up mixing my own too. 

So that’s pretty much behind the scenes at Pacifica Grace Studio right now!  I’m hoping to get some orders this week so they can be made and shipped in time for Christmas!  If you’re still reading and would like to buy some candles or wax melts as gifts, you can still use the code BLOG10 to receive 10% off your order!  Store is here.  I got a lot of orders for the 4 oz tins for teacher gifts!  Something to keep in mind…

And last but certainly not least… Noodle has been camping out under our tree, waiting for Santa Paws already!  So cute!

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Introducing Pacifica Grace Studio


I’m excited and proud to introduce to you Pacifica Grace Studio today! 

About a month after I resigned from my full-time corporate finance job, I got the idea to launch my own business selling handmade pure soy wax candles and wax melts.  I've been working more than full time since early October to launch my business on November 15th.  I’ve worked hard on product testing, product development, graphics, branding, web domain, all the financials, business plans, getting the appropriate licenses, social media, marketing, writing product copy, actually making the candles & wax melts, designing product labels, product styling & photography, shipping, customer service, etc.  I'm doing everything myself and it's a one-woman show!  :)

What’s in a name?

I named my business Pacifica Grace Studio because this combination of words hold deep meaning for me. Grace is my mom's name. I lost her to cancer in 2007 and my life hasn’t been the same since. It's my way of remembering and honoring her. Also, the meaning of my Chinese name is grace. It's actually two characters that mean "grace & mercy" together. Pacifica is derived from the Latin root for the word "peace". Plus I live near the Pacific Ocean, so it evokes that as well. Both words have individual meaning to me, but together they mean "grace & peace", which is how the apostle Paul greeted the Corinthians in I Corinthians.  I’ve always loved that greeting.  Plus, who couldn’t use more grace and peace in their everyday lives?

For the store launch I am offering nine scents initially for the holiday season.  The are available in 3 sizes in candles and also in wax melts


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Pumpkin Chai

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Caramel Popcorn

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Apple Maple Bourbon

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Cranberry Marmalade

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Pumpkin Souffle

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Peppermint Bark

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Gingerbread House

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Winter Forest

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And star shaped wax melts of all nine scents.  They are so cute and fills up a room with flameless scent really fast. 

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I also have a special limited edition blue-lid jar of our signature scent Grace.  I’m donating all profits after cost of sales of this product to the American Cancer Society.  Once this sells out it will not be restocked.

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I don’t have room to carry a lot of inventory, so the candles and wax melts are made to order when a customer orders it.  Soy wax does have a 24-48 hour cure time, so total production time is between 3-5 days before shipping out.  After doing a ton of research on shipping, I’ve decided to ship USPS Priority Mail, which includes tracking numbers and some insurance.  This ensures my customers receive their products in 2-3 days transit time.  This also gives my business some shipping cost predictability.  For the launch I am only shipping to the United States right now.  I just don’t have the capacity yet to fill out the necessary customs forms and figure out shipping costs to other countries right now.  But it’s always a possibility in the future.

I know some of you have been LONG time blog readers and have followed my little ol blog for many years!  I’m incredibly grateful for you, especially since I haven’t been blogging as regularly in the last few years.  I’m glad that you’re still here and still reading.  I’m offering a special discount code for my blog readers.  Please enjoy 10% off your total purchase through 12/15/2018 with the code BLOG10 in my store.  (Click on the link and it will automatically apply the discount for you!)


I won’t always just be talking about my business here on the blog, because I have plans for new blog posts and content that I’ll share in a future post.  But I will be sharing some behind the scenes of running the business, because that’s obviously a big part of my life now. 

You can subscribe to the newsletter for new product announcements and exclusive subscriber discounts.  (It will not be more than one email per month.)  This is the best way to ensure that you actually see our special promotions and product announcements, since Facebook and Instagram algorithms can be somewhat finicky.

Like & follow Pacifica Grace Studio on Facebook.

Follow on Instagram.

Thanks so much for reading and sharing in my excitement for the launch of Pacifica Grace Studio!

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

What I’ve Been Up To + A New Venture

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Thank you so much for all your comments from my last blog post.  I was overwhelmed that anyone is still reading this blog, and that some of you took the time to comment so thoughtfully.  I appreciated it very much!

I meant to blog more often, but I was doing other things and got busy with a new venture.  I will talk about it towards the end of this post.  First a recap… each one of these things probably deserve their own post, but like I said, I got kind of busy in October.  Winking smile

Towards the end of September we went to Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland!  I had gotten tickets back in July as a celebration of me leaving my job.  We had never been to this special event before.  It ran from mid-Sept to October 31st at Disneyland, on certain nights. 

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There were no lines on most rides during the party.  We got to trick or treat too.  There was special Halloween fireworks over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, and special Frightfully Fun Parade.  It was the most fun I’ve had in a long while!  I highly recommend going next year if you’re local to SoCal.

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We went to Ohio in mid-October to visit Todd’s family and to enjoy fall festivities.  We don’t have fall weather in San Diego in October, so I loved bundling up and doing fall things!

We went to the Castle Noel in Medina, the largest Christmas museum of its kind!  We saw one of the original Elf movie costumes there and we were so excited! 

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We went to a farm and picked out pumpkins, ate corn and apple cider, and went through a corn maze.

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We had a family pumpkin carving contest.


This was ours (Todd and I were a team).  It’s the Corpse Bride.

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Whose pumpkin reigned supreme??

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And we watched a Buckeye game together.

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Speaking of which, of course college football season started back in September.  We’ve been enjoying our football Saturdays!

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Todd did another triathlon!

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I went to the beach a couple of times.

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We hung out with friends.

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I finally finished all the Harry Potter books for the first time!  And saw all the movies!  I loved them!  I went to the library (OMG, freeeeee books!) and read books.

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And I cooked meals. 

Instant Pot Chili Mac

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Thai Green Curry Tofu with Bok Choy

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Chicken Enchiladas

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Chicken and Dumplings

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Let’s see, what else have I been up to?

I’m launching my own business!!!  For the last month I’ve been setting up my business, getting permits, product testing, scent designing, designing labels, branding, graphics, making test products, concepting out product photography, etc.  It’s taken me full time working every day.

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Can you guess what my new business is?

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I am opening a new Etsy store to sell handmade soy candles and wax melts!  I’ve name my store Pacifica Grace Studio.  It’s a name that really means a lot to me.  I will talk about it in a separate post.

Store will be here on Etsy.  You can follow on Facebook and Instagram too!  There just may be launch special coupon codes on social media! 

I’m aiming to launch on Thursday, November 15th.  Obviously that’s only 8 days away and I have so much to do before then.  But stay tuned to the blog or follow on social media for any updates on launch date and special coupon discounts for followers.

So that’s what I’ve been up to for the last two months since leaving work.  Winking smile

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