We had the good fortune of connecting with Tina Williamson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tina, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
I love this question because yes working for myself was a huge decision but the one that really has helped me be successful was the decision to stop comparing myself to others. Most of what goes on behind the scenes of a company are way less glamorous than what many show online so it’s easy to assume that being an entrepreneur was just waking up and living this ultra-cool life but realizing much of what I see posted and featured is not version 1, or 2, or 3 .Often times you are looking at years of hard work and dedication to a craft. Deciding to stop comparing and just make candles I like was the best thing I could have done.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I don’t think I every would have had the guts to start my own company if I hadn’t worked for a terrible startup when I lived in California. Working that job was probably the most stressed I have ever been and day after day candles were what got me through. So I started making them, and then I decided to sell them. Initially family were my only customers and cheerleaders but through word of mouth a lot of people I didn’t know were buying which was truly shocking and the encouragement I needed to keep going. For me talking to people about my candles was a challenge. I’m definitely not a toot your own horn sort of person so my mother-in-love has been such a resource because she tells any and everyone about them, my husband also has made it possible through his work supporting us because my work doesn’t yet. He also is the one who the drives me to the post office and loads giant boxes of wax and diligently answers all my “what do you think about…” questions.
It’s been a learning experience in community, and relying on others, but more importantly in believing in yourself and abilities. Owning a business means donning like 500 hats and duties and some days it feels endless but there is nothing more rewarding than looking at a finished product that you made and having someone tell you it made their day.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Detroit and love it here because there is so much variety. A perfect weekend getaway here would include a trip to Eastern Market to grab hot coffee, donuts and some snacks for the day. Then we’d ride over to Belle Isle and enjoy the water while it’s still cool out. We could sit on a blanket or do yoga by the water. It’s so pretty. Then we would head over to Rust Belt Market and let them shop trinkets. There are like 50 small shops selling all kinds of stuff, a cute terrarium with exotic frogs and a bar that serves awesome local brews and non alcoholic drinks too. Then we would head back downtown for a stroll along Campus Maritus, we currently have a faux beach, shopping, and skating. After shopping we would head to the skating rink and enjoy the music and food. My favorite thing to do though is to cruise the city. Detroit is excellent for cruising because we have these long thoroughfares like Woodward and Jefferson, with the music on you can see the beautiful city with your own soundtrack.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have been given so much in the way of great friendships that support and uplift me. I don’t have a lot of close friendships but I will say the few that I have seem to always know how to keep me grounded. I am kind of a hermit and come out every now and then and those friendships seem to never put pressure on me to show up more than I’m able and I am really grateful for it. What has been really wild and looking back and seeing how even unpleasant situations and relationships leveled me up and taught me. One of my most challenging but helpful relationships has been with my mother. Without her I would not be here and I probably wouldn’t have the ability to laugh at my pain. Because of her I understand truly how sadness and comedy are two sides of the same coin. She had the tenacity to get through so many situations with her sense of humor and I will carry that lesson with me forever. She definitely also taught me you can’t change people and you have to accept them where they are at or not at all. So I would love to dedicate this article to her.
All photos taken by myself (Tina Williamson)