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The Evolution of Country Lights Soy Candles: A Brand Transformation Story

June 1, 2024

When Darren and I made the decision to continue the Country Lights Soy Candle business Joyce, Darren's mother, had ran for nearly 30 years, we wanted to ensure we had reason and purpose behind doing it.

If you know us, you know we're both drivers and grab every opportunity we can by the horns and run with it. We're built this way to the core, and almost to a fault! We've heard more than a few times in our adult lives that "you can't do it all" or "you aren't superman/woman", but my gosh are we going to try!

When we told our friends what we were doing, they encouraged us and were very supportive, but few knew the true time commitment we were making to this venture. Following the decision to move ahead with leading things, we had a LOT of work to do.

It'd been several years since Darren had been home and poured candles and I hadn't done more than burn a few test candles Joyce had poured over the years. We spent the next few weeks getting things pulled together from communications, candle making basics to familiarizing ourselves with the shop and where things were located. It was a fast learning curve and one that took the whole family to helping us figure out.

Over the next four months we spent our Friday afternoons and evenings driving from our home in Wisconsin to the home farm in Illinois--a two hour drive each way. Some nights we'd sit in the kitchen talking with family, but most nights we handed Owen off to the Grandpa's and Uncle Stephen and jumped into the candle shop where we often worked until the early hours the next morning. Darren became a big fan of Celsius' at this time and Kendall worked through all the homemade chex mix from Aunt Myra and Casey's cinnamon bears she could find!

Even as we grew tired and run down over those few months, we'd still spend a lot of time driving and in the candle shop chatting through ideas, the dreams we had for the business and our family. We asked ourselves the hard questions, the easy questions and so many in-between.

Is this the best way to do this? How does this work? Whose that company? What's the password again? How much is this printer and can I just throw it out the window yet? How does this timer work?

We had so many laughs and joys in that shop. We laughed about Grandma and how she loved to come talk to us during the day, but refused to sit down and made us all anxious. We laughed about Owen and how many circles he ran around the shelves. We laughed about how well Joyce utilized the various spaces she had in the shop as she just slowly took over the space through the years and didn't have a "clean, clear box" to work with.

We also spilled a lot of tears in that shop. Frustrations on how to do things. Annoyance with one another at 2 am because we were low on sleep and food. Disappointed in the mistakes we were making. And of course just the regular grieving process we were all going through.

But even as those moments came and went, we always knew to take a step back and remember why we committed to this.

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Over the last six or so months we've worked to identify and articulate who this company is as we've transitioned into ownership. We're the next generation with new experiences, thoughts, ideas and visions for where we're going. We want to evolve the brand into something that feels more like us and where we're going.

So we're transitioning from Country Lights Soy Candles to Country Lights. A brand that's focused on carrying the spirit of giving from one generation to the next through our soy-based products.

We are still very much focused on fundraisers, but want to amplify our offerings and the value those bring to each organization participating. We also want to provide more options and opportunities for custom candle orders, whether it be wedding favors, corporate gifting or anything else that needs a little flame of positivity.

But ultimately, we want to carry on traditions set by the hardworking farm families that came before us and continue to cherish time spent with family, giving back to local communities and growing new roots for future generations.

Thank you everyone for your support as we've stepped into this opportunity. We're excited for all that the future holds!

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