Jimmy History Part 2
So, as I was saying… I sought out this soy wax thing. It sounded like a great natural, clean option and the name Soy Wax was catchy, very marketable. One my biggest driving forces was the fact that I had educated myself on the world of Premium Fragrances and was beginning to work with some very intricate fragrance blends and paraffin has a petroleum smell to it that bastardized these amazing fragrances. Soy wax answered the issue of the petroleum smell.
Well, low and behold, I ran into Michael Richardson, the creator of the first soy wax formula, at the Extracts show in NY when he was looking for people to buy his newly perfected formula of soy wax. At the time he had a few earthy, granola types (I am not putting these people down, I am a tree hugger too but I am just not as crunchy looking on my surface) buying his wax, but no national brands had picked up on it yet – probably due to the fact that at the time soy wax was considerably more expensive than paraffin. There also wasn’t any demand yet for products that were “good” for you. This was before Wholefoods became the major player that it is today. People weren’t looking at ingredients like they do today. I figured that I could take this earthy product, marry it with high end premium fragrances and package it for the upper end gift and spa markets…and that is exactly what I did.
By the time I was ready to start working with this new found wax, my company, DIG, was folding. My business partner, who held the controlling interest, decided to close the doors.
In six weeks, nearly to the day, from me walking out the door from DIG I had begun a new company, Er’go Candle, and was at market selling my new wares and my new soy wax. Let me tell you, it was a “teaching experience”. I had to educate people on the difference between a vegetable wax and what paraffin wax is made of – petroleum oil. I had a few years before any other national brand began to “offer” soy “alongside” their paraffin offerings and about that long before it really started to take off. Other candle companies used to laugh at me when I would say “soy wax is the future of the candle industry”. They all thought it was a fad and would be gone in a few years. Now nearly every single one of them offers soy wax in their lines or has switched completely over to soy because of the demand. Now the first question asked in most cases when someone enters your booth at market is, “Are these soy candles?” Soy wax is now a billion dollar portion of the candle industry – that isn’t going away any time soon. Needless to say, we had some moderate success selling soy candles.
At the peak of our success, a group of the investors, a family who acquired the majority position in the company, decided to “go in a direction that did not include Jimmy Belasco”; and quite frankly, I wasn’t very interested in the going in that direction. They had to either kill me or vote me off the island.
At exactly 11:11 am on May 2, 2005, after several months of mutual discomfort between myself and this group of my investors, as well as a failed attempt on my behalf to buy them out, the gavel came down closing the shareholder’s meeting that voted me off my island. Trust me; it was a bit more of a roller coaster than this highly polished version.
To my rescue was a friend who sold artwork on a cruise ship; he was able to have me join him as his guest. So on May 7th I was on a cruise. Thank God!
I had no clue what I was going to do. All I knew is that I wasn’t done with the wonderful world of candles.
I knew that if I was to receive some divine inspiration, I would have to not think about what had happened and not think about what I was going to do…so I became FULLY PRESENT UPON THAT CRUISE.
…and Divine Inspiration hit.
(to be continued…)