Whew, 2022 is finally over! That was rough. If I could describe 2022 from our small business perspective in two words; it would be painful growth. Why? Because in the middle of a pandemic recovery, our economy started to tank. We were unsure if we were going to make it. And just when we thought we weren't going to, we came back with a shining finish to the year. We can only thank our customers for that!
So you may be looking at the website and thinking, everything is way different. It is! We decided midway through last year that we needed to refresh the look of Hemp Wick Candles to match what it's always supposed to of been; a luxury brand. So this is something we have been preparing for in the background and figured moving into our new physical location in 2023 would be the best time to reintroduce ourselves. If you have been with us for awhile, I'm sure you have noticed our growth in branding over the past few years. It's been quite the journey.
Let's talk about the changes, and why. All of our product photos look the same. This was to create a more professional and cohesive look. It also makes it easier to add more fragrances to the collections without spending a ton of time and money on photography. We realized in 2022 that we had to find ways to cut unecessary costs without affecting product quality. This was one of those things.
Labels are different! Some may not be thrilled about this change, but we are so excited for these new labels! We went from making our own labels in an online program that wasn't ideal and was really costly, but worked for the time, to professionally printed luxury labels. The new labels feature embossed foil stamping with a matte black background. They are very high end.
But where's the fragrance name? The name of the fragrance will be on the bottom warning label. Many luxury candle brands use this method of labeling, and we wanted to secure our place in that category. We are working on expanding to a nationally known brand, and we need to be sure our branding matches that goal.
The new labels will also help in our new candle exchange and refill programs. The new labels are easier and cheaper to change out long term as we are able to order nicer labels in larger quantities and get bigger discounts compared to our old labels. Our old foil labels also experienced cracking over time, which was a big factor in our decision to change to higher end labels.
Speaking of candle exchange and refill programs! All wicked candles bought can be exchanged for a new candle for $14. We had to raise our candle prices due to rising costs that aren't going away anytime soon, so this is to help our loyal returning customers save money over time. It also helps us save money on glass, which is astronomically priced right now. Refills will only be for wickless candles, which will launch around summer of 2023.
Our packaging has also been upgraded! We are so excited for this! We have always tried to have packaging that matches a luxury look, and we finally have it! Our new matte boxes are beautiful and made of recycled materials! They are now wrapped in high end professionally printed sleeves. Fragrance names will be on the box sleeves in a designated area so that you always know where to look for the fragrance name. This change is due to us noticing that we were not consistent in our packaging through 2022. Some of that was due to supply shortages and costs. The new packaging should prevent those inconsistencies.
Finally, we moved into a new space! The new storefront is in a higher traffic area, brand new inside, and larger. This is great for expanding classes for customers, and for candle maker's coming in to take business related workshops. The shop has a very organic luxury boutique feel compared to our last space.
More on classes and workshops! We will now be offering Walk in Wednesdays for local customers to come in and make their own candles. No booking required! We will also be offering booked classes and private parties.
For candle maker's, we are building virtual and in person workshops to learn the art of carved candle making and the basics of starting a candle business. The carved candle workshops will also include optional apprenticeships.
We are also in search of unique vendors to rent shelf space and teach their own classes to customers! Contact us for information at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Last but not least, VIP Memberships have launched. You can either purchase a membership for exclusive deals and events and free shipping, or you will be automatically enrolled after spending a certain amount. Please see our membership page for more info!