Keela Buford, August 17, 2020
In this time of heightened social awareness about relationships, activism, and the environment, we have all been called to care a little (or a lot) more about our health, others’ health, and, somewhere along the way, our planet’s health too. One candle company in Virginia has been doing just that since last summer through the help of our candle jars in combination with an outstanding reforestation organization.
What is reforestation? Reforestation for Rustic Slate Candle Company is all about intention, one candle at a time.
Why trees? Why the earth? What is the reasoning or inspiration that led you to make a difference in such a way, or what led you to take on this type of philanthropy?
When I started Rustic Slate Candle Company, I wanted to grow a business to give back to my community and the environment. Trees provide immense ecological value, but some are lost every day. The United States alone loses 36 million trees a year! By giving 10% of each candle sale, Rustic Slate plants a tree in a region close to where the customer lives.
One candle purchased, one tree planted
So explain a bit more about how this tree-planting, reforestation process works following product purchases.
When I plant trees through One Tree Planted, I receive tree certificates. In the past, I planted them in the name of the customer, but as sales increased, it became difficult to keep up. With the pandemic and slowing sales down, I will be moving back to planting them in the customer’s name starting in September.
I also get updates when the trees get planted. They don’t get planted right away since growing seasons differ from region to region. Most recently, I have had trees planted in the Pacific Northwest, New Mexico, and Florida.
Why Rustic Slate? Why candles? What led you to this line of business?
I graduated with a business administration degree in December of 2018 and was working in retail as a mid-level manager. I wanted to start my own business. I created an online home goods website to distribute rustic-themed decor. The products were all handcrafted by artisans, and selected with a cause they gave back to, such as human trafficking or women’s rights.
As for the name, I grew up in a little area in Pennsylvania called the Slate Belt. In the condo I share with my girlfriend, Annabelle, we have the most unique slate floors, and that’s how the name Rustic Slate came about.
One of my top sellers was candles, so I decided to try my hand at making them myself in April of last year. I fell in love with the creative process of finding the perfect scents, picking the right colors to match the scents, and the rewarding feeling of getting positive feedback on a product I made myself. By the end of Summer 2019, the company was redesigned to sell my products, and Rustic Slate became Rustic Slate Candle Company.
So, you help the earth, but what led you to Jar Store? How have we helped you?
As my company grew in popularity and I developed supply chains, I discovered Jar Store. I found that Jar Store is always there when I need supplies. You were able to keep me in business when other companies couldn’t keep up with demand. The pandemic has caused a lot more people to be interested in candlemaking, either as a hobby or a business, so some crucial supplies became harder to find. Jar Store always came through for me, so thank you!
What has been the biggest obstacle for Rustic Slate or maybe even in the tree planting process? Whether it has been getting off the ground monetarily to maintain and build this planting mission, finding the right organization to pair with, the candle making process itself in terms of sourcing the products needed, or more.
The biggest obstacle for Rustic Slate has been sourcing the raw materials for my candles. Finding reputable, quality suppliers was a struggle at the beginning. I had wicks that worked great at first, but over time I found their quality degraded. I have since switched to a different company. Also, suppliers will sometimes discontinue a raw fragrance I use for a candle, meaning I have to discontinue them as well or reinvent them if I find a similar scent, but they are never quite the same!
As a small business, when you work with just a few products, it is difficult to maintain affordable prices and still be profitable when even the slightest increase in supply cost can change everything. Just recently, I had prices increase for materials, so I had to weigh the pros and cons of raising prices.
So where can those who want to find out more about Rustic Slate, keep in touch, and help out locate you on the web?
You can find all of our products at www.rusticslate.net where every candle purchased plants a tree!
Any final words?
Thank you for the opportunity for Rustic Slate Candle Company to be featured. It is humbling and an honor.
And Jar Store’s final words!
Rustic Slate provides more than just candles. You can also find treasures like Asian tea blossom handmade soaps, lavender hand-made incense sticks, and rustic wood-crafted home signs and vases.
And YOU can provide more ways to help out the Earth by reducing your carbon footprint: