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Nurse by Day, Candlemaker by Night - Jackie J's Inspiring Business Journey



Krystal J:

Today we are sitting with the incredible Jackie Jackson. She is a career nurse and also a candle maker, an organizer, so many things. But this is actually going to be her very first podcast interview. I am so honored to be sitting with her today and that she reached out and decided to be joining us on our podcast and YouTube channels. So first and foremost, Jackie, thank you so much for joining us today.


Jackie J:

Hi, Krystal. And hi, everyone out there. Thank you so much for having me. Please forgive me. I'm nervous. I never thought I was shy, but I guess I am a little shy today. So you'll have to help me through this. But thank you. I am so glad to join you. Glad to be able to take advantage of this platform so that we can reach other women and encourage other women, inspire other women. So thank you so much for having me.


Krystal J:

Absolutely, 100%. And everything that you just said, that is what we're all about. It is a lot to put yourself out there. So I'm so glad that you did it. Regardless of how nervous you might feel. I've probably interviewed however many times, maybe close to 100 times already. I still get nervous. So you're all good. This is going to be such a great conversation. So let's go ahead and just kick it off from the beginning. Tell us a little bit about your background and how did that lead you to simply inspired by Jackie and all of the things that encompasses.


Jackie J:

Okay, thank you so much. So I have my notes here so that I don't lose my train of thought. I like to share with people that I have two deficits and they turn out to be strength. But I have ADHD, so I lose my train of thought easily. And I have OCD, so I get fixated on my thoughts. So to save the universe from all of that, I have my notes here, so please forgive me for looking down at my notes, but it'll help me stay on track to share. So, in terms of my background, I have been a nurse. I entered the nursing career at the age of 15, and I am now 56.


So I'm just over 40 years. I took nursing assistance one in 10th grade, nursing assistance two in 11th grade LPN in twelveth grade, graduated, and then came back for the second year to do my nursing, clinical. So I've been a nurse now for almost 41 years. Right, at 41 years. So that's in turn of my background. What actually led me to starting my business and making candles. One, everybody in my family knows I love candles. I get candles.


Like, I never have to guess what I'm going to get for a gift. If it's Mother's Day, if it's my birthday, if I just was thinking of you day, no matter what day it is, if I'm to be celebrated, I always get candles. Like, everybody know I love candles. I probably have at least ten to 20 candles, like, throughout my home every single day. I absolutely love candles. And during the pandemic, I was on the front line for two and a half years. Basically, I was in COVID testing. So when the pandemic started, we was probably testing like, 800 patients a day.


And by the time it ended, we was probably at like 70 patients a day. And so during the pandemic. Pandemic, just the fear of. The fear of unknown. Like, what does this pandemic mean? What does this mean? We hear people dying every day. We hear hundreds of people dying. Like, what does it mean? And you can be isolated just because it's that contagious one. So you're being isolated, you're unsure, you're scared, and you can cause some depression.


So one of the things that I had to really tap into was my love for candles and my love of creating spaces that I aspire to be in. And so I wanted to bring that during the pandemic to other families. So it didn't start off with candles. It actually started off with room makeovers, because I believe that colors, patterns, textures, clean lines, fragrancing, all of that makes people feel good, right? So these are things that are in your home, and you want to create that space using those things to make you feel good. And that was really important during the pandemic because everybody is forced to stay home. So I decided, okay, to tap into that and to keep myself from getting depressed, because I was seeing this every day, seeing the fear of what this pandemic had to offer, I decided that I would start a room makeover business. So I started a room makeover business, and that was in January of 21, because the pandemic started in 20. And then in June of 22, I was like, okay, I've done well with this, getting out there and creating spaces that inspire people.


I had, I think, 18 clients the first year, and I would go out to people homes, or either we would do virtual because of pandemic. And then I would, like, just help them to wind, close the eyes, visualize the space that makes them feel safe, makes them feel happy, and makes them feel like, okay, we can get through this. I can cope with this if I have to be home. Home feels good. This feels like the right place, right? So I would do that. And I had 18 clients. And then in June, I thought, hey, let me tap into fragrance, because fragrance is important in the home. So let me tap into that.


So I started thinking about candles and diffusers. And, I mean, my brain was all over the place. So I said, well, I know I love candles, so let me learn the candle industry. So I had to wait a while, because, again, we're in the middle of the pandemic. And so I started going on YouTube and going on Groupon and getting classes, how to make candles, everything about candles, learning about candles, ordering virtual books through the library, candles, candles, candle. The business of candle making, et cetera. And so I did that. And when the opportunity afforded itself, I took my first candle class, that one candle class.


This lady taught us everything regarding candles and the science of candles, because we don't see that even something like a little candle has a science to it. So she went into the fact that you have to. Have you got so many vessels which are containers, candles, the wax has to be measured. The wax has to be poured at a certain temperature. The fragrance has to be added at a certain temperature. They have to cure for two weeks, like all things candles. So it was like, oh, my goodness, there's more to this than nursing. So everything has a science.


So I learned that. And that was a good first start because I was exposed to what the science of candles look like. Now I got to do something with it firsthand. So one of my colleagues started a candle business years ago. So I tapped into her, hey, can I hire you as a consultant to come and do a one on one with me? And I like to make some candles. I'm thinking about starting the candle business. So I hired her, and she came, and she walked me through. Okay, now you've heard it.


Now this is how you apply it. So she walked me through that, and then I made my first batch, and I sold my first batch. So I was like, wow. So then fast forward six months. I had sold almost $8,000 in candles in six months.


Krystal J:

Wow.


Jackie J:

So I was like, wow, this is unbelievable. This is unbelievable. And so I did that and I was like, okay, then maybe now it's time to really take this seriously. So that's when you start looking at the whole ideal of how to run a candle business. That was my alone answer, but that was my background and brought me to candle making and running a candle making business.


Krystal J:

I love it. And I was actually kind of surprised with the way that that timeline went, because I thought that it was going to be. I love candles so much that I was called to try to make my own, just for my own personal pleasure. I thought that's where your story was going to go. But then it was a little bit different in the sense that you weren't creating candles just for yourself. It was kind of because of that pandemic and all of the emotion that was tied to that, the fear and the anxiety and the depression of it. And you wanted to bring joy to other people, not necessarily just kind of create something for yourself because of how much you loved candles. So I really love that story. And I feel like going from room decorating to a candle business. It's such a great complimentary service, right? Because you can decorate their room and then throw in a few candles to liven up the space a little bit. That's amazing.


Jackie J:

Absolutely.


Krystal J:

Okay, so your first six months, you knocked it out of the park. You're like, wow, I'm actually doing something with this. $8,000. In your first six months. How were you making those sales? How did you get your business out there?


Jackie J:

Yes. So one thing I did, I consider myself to be very extrovert. So I'm usually not afraid to be with people, and I'm not afraid to walk into the room and own the room and talk to people, because I want everybody to feel engaged. I want everybody to feel invited and a part of whatever is right. So I walk into a room and I own the room where I had to have that same ideal of thinking when it came to selling my candles. Like, how can I get myself out there to sell candles? So you try all the stuff, like going on to Etsy, going on Walmart, and you make no sense. So I'm like, okay, tap into something that's natural for you. You're naturally good at talking to people.


So I literally start walking my neighborhood and knocking on doors. Hi, I'm Jackie. I'm a nurse by day, a candle maker at night. I'm actually your neighbor. I live right around the corner in north Rodney, and I started this candle line because we all need something to inspire us. Can I take a few minutes of your time to talk about this candle. That's how I did it. 99% of my sales was me walking door to door and actually walking up to people, whether it was in shopping center parking lot and saying, hey, I'm tacky.


I'm a nurse by day. Can I make my night? And that's what I did. I just had to step out and be comfortable with asking people, because a lot of people have a fear of hearing no. Well, I wasn't afraid to hear no. Like, at least in my mind, it was a win win situation, because I overcame the fear to step out there to ask, and it was an opportunity to expose my product. So for me, it was a win win.


Krystal J:

That's incredible. And I'm falling in love with your story more and more. Did you have an Etsy shop simultaneously while you were doing all that? Because you said 99% were coming from you doing that directly.


Jackie J:

Yes. So the first thing I did was to start the Shopify. That was one platform. And then I learned about Etsy, and then I did Etsy and then looked into Walmart. Walmart has a marketplace that you can apply for. They approve you, but it's an approval type thing. But most people get in. So I looked up all of those platforms, apply for those platforms, paid money per month that wasn't cheap for those platforms, and made not one sale.


Not one sale. So I had to do something different. I had to do something. And so that's what made me get out and just start asking people and talking to people about product.


Krystal J:

What I love so much about that is you didn't allow the lack of success with Etsy and with Shopify to deter you from continuing your business. You didn't take that as a sign of, like, okay, maybe the candle business isn't for me. Maybe nobody wants my product. You actually took a step back and reflected, like, well, what am I good at? How do I know how to put myself out there? And you really honed in on your strength, which is talking directly to customers. And I think that is something that can be missing really heavily for a lot of ecommerce shops because they rely so heavily on those websites, but they are missing that face-to-face interaction. And a lot of times, customers really need to be able to see and feel the product and talk to the people behind the brand for them to fall in love with it and want to make that purchase. For you to be able to make that pivot, that's incredible. I want to talk about the nose, so don't be afraid of the nose.


That is so incredibly important. Do you have any advice for anyone that's kind of pursuing that same path where they are reaching out directly to customers, but they are afraid of that rejection? Like, how do you handle it? And what advice can you share with other entrepreneurs that might be experiencing their first no or maybe repeat no's?


Jackie J:

Okay. Yes. So what I would say is, one, you have to stand in the fact that you're human, right? And nobody likes to be told, no matter, even a millionaire. You could say, hey, I want a new jet. Well, this jet is not available. So, no, you can't get this jet right. So you have to just stand in the fact that you got to believe in yourself, you have to believe in your product, and you have to know the end result. The end result is to, one, get exposure so that you can make sales.


And if you don't get exposure by getting out there and talking to people, then even though it's going to be some no's, then that would be one less exposure. So just opening your mouth and getting out and talking to people about your brand and asking them if they're interested in purchasing your brand is a win win. Because if nothing else, the exposure is out there. Because then they can go home and say, hey, I met this lady. She was really interested. Her name was Jackie. She's a nurse by day and a candle maker by night. And I didn't buy a candle that day, but I really enjoyed talking to her.


Maybe I'll look at her website, or here's her website. And you look at it because I know you like canceled. That's a win win because now you'd have had that exposure. And even though that person said no, it can lead to somebody else saying yes as a direct result of that person that tells you no. So yeah, just stand true in your product and then take that opportunity for exposure.


Krystal J:

I love that you bring that up. And particularly because I don't know if you've seen, but I actually host markets with some vendors and part of the industry is there are just going to be some slow days, right, where the foot traffic isn't as great or people just aren't buying as much that day. But I absolutely look at it the same way that you do. If you're making that connection, regardless of if a sale was made that day, the fact that you are able to communicate your product and your vision with someone and make that human connection with someone, you don't really realize the ripple effect that that can have in that moment, right? So that can absolutely turn into your biggest sale yet if they go home, end up perusing your website or spreading it to all their friends just because they fell in love with you, even if they weren't the particular or ideal client for your product.


Jackie J:

Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.


Krystal J:

So after the six months, you realized you're killing it. Have you done anything differently to kind of ramp up your business?


Jackie J:

Yes. So most recently, I started having what I call cocktails and candles because actually I have a bartending certification. So I started creating these opportunities for cocktails and candles, and I just recently had one. It was in Montgomery county. It was probably close to 20 people, and it was a mixture because you're trying to look at your target customer. Right. So it was about 20 people, and it was set up for one of my clients that actually is a business coach. And so I went to her home and we had cocktails and candles, and I made cocktails, and then I had all my candles on display.


And she brought people in. They were three doctors, they were lawyers. Most of them were finance people. But that was an awesome opportunity to, again, mix and mingle, get your product out there, and if you get a sale, great. $255 later in 2 hours of candle sales, that was different. So now I'm pretty sure that I'm going to do more cocktails and candles. I actually have an event tomorrow and next Saturday.


Krystal J:

Yeah, that sounds so fun. I would totally be there. Where are you based?


Jackie J:

I'm in Maryland.


Krystal J:

You're in Maryland? So clearly not that close to me. Our podcast, we are in the Bay Area listening is in the Maryland area, looking out for those cocktail and candle events. That sounds like so much fun.


Jackie J:

Thank you so much.


Krystal J:

So talk to us about your time management. I mean, all the nurses I know work ridiculously long shifts and are so tired.


Jackie J:

Yeah.


Krystal J:

The fact that you're continuously, physically putting yourself out there and then talking through all of that time, that also sounds very exhausting. So what are you doing to kind of manage your time and also make sure you're taking care of yourself when you can?


Jackie J:

So that's a great question. So, first and foremost, again, know your strengths and weaknesses. And most people would say that attention deficit hyperactive disorder, ADHD, is a weakness for some, OCD is a weakness for some. But for me, they tend to be strengths because, one, my ADHD is a big h. Like, I'm 56 years old, but I probably can run circles around the 36 year old. So I'm always energetic. If I wake up and I'm ready to move, I'm energetic. So that's one.


Me being fixated with tasks, having tasks and getting those tasks done is another strength for me. So that's two parts, is tapping into my ADHD, tapping into my OCD. So then there's nursing, and then there's my candle business. For nursing, it's just a given. I've been doing it for 41 years now. So I wake up, my heart says it's time to get up and go take care of somebody. I'm a natural nurturer. I love to nurture and take care of people.


So what I decided was that I will do 50% nursing because I'm at the end of my career, and rather than retire, because I know that I wouldn't do well with retirement because I'm naturally energetic, I said 50% to my nursing career, 50% to my candle business. So that's what I do. I work 20 hours a week now in nursing. After 40 years, I'm now at 20 hours a week as a nurse. And then 20 hours a week I dedicate to my candle business. And that's usually Monday through Friday. So Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, where actually, it's week one. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, I work.


That's 24 hours. And then week two, Tuesday and Thursday, I work. So that's 16 hours. So there's my 20 hours with my every other days in between. So I'm nurse one day, like business maker, business entrepreneur on Monday, nurse on Tuesday, entrepreneur on Wednesday, nurse on Thursday, entrepreneur on Friday, and then the weekend is self care. So that's when I like to spend time with my grandson. I like to go for walks in the park. I like to call and talk to my girlfriends on the phone, and, hey, what's going on? Just catching up.


I'm a big crybaby, so I can cry about the littlest things, like, oh, I just got a promotion. You deserve it. So that's how I manage entrepreneurship, nursing, and then self-care.


Krystal J:

I want to talk to you a little bit about how strict you are with your boundaries. With all that you did mention weekends are for self care. Have there been a lot of instances where you're just itching to keep working on your business?


Jackie J:

Well, the only time that I do kind of put aside self-care for a weekend is if I have engagement. So my candles and cocktails is always on Saturday. It's always Saturday. So I'm willing to give up a Saturday. So I would do normally one candles and cocktail a month. But this month I made an exception because I have one event that's all white. Event this Saturday, tomorrow, and then another event for the same client next week. That's like the end of the year pool party for this client.


So I'm doing two different events, but normally in terms of boundaries, I stick to the Monday through Friday, every other day for business, Monday through Friday, every other day to be a good nurse, and then my weekends for myself.


Krystal J:

Love it. Let's dive into your events a little bit more. And this is a topic that I love because I also host events, as I mentioned, and I feel like they are getting more and more popular, like these kinds of mixers and also workshops and things like that, especially for candle makers. I think that's such a great route to go. Had you hosted events prior to hosting your very first candle cocktail and candle mixer?


Jackie J:

So I had done some bartending. Again, I'm a nurse, so normally during the winter holidays I bartend for doctors. All of my clients have been doctors. They're at work and they're like, hey, nurse Jackie, what are you doing on Saturday? I'm having a party. I need you to bartend. Are you a devil? So normally I've done bartending, but it's totally different from the candles and stuff. The candles and cocktails is a little more intimidating because you're putting yourself out there with your product. So you just got to be like, okay, this is a little intimidating, but this is an opportunity for exposure and to get my product out there.


And it builds up your confidence. Those no's build up your confidence. So, yeah, I hadn't really done anything other than bartend. A few private parties.


Krystal J:

So now that you have hosted a few of those cocktail and candle events, what do you think are the key things that make an event like that successful if someone were to want to venture out and do something similar for themselves?


Jackie J:

Okay, so first I will give some other ideals because now I'm thinking of doing coffee and like, so I'm going to start getting my name out there. Hey, I'm Jackie. I'm a nurse by day, candlemaker by night, and I'm going to be reaching out to these coffee shops and saying, hey, could we have like a Saturday, a two-hour time where you know how they do the book signings and everything. I would go in, we would have coffee, we would have candles, we would sit down and talk. All things candles, because two things. One, somebody will actually buy your product, and two, you might inspire somebody else to create another stream of income by them.


Krystal J:

Starting a candle business, that collaboration aspect is such a great idea, especially if you don't already have this really big network already built, kind of utilizing the community that's already around you and figuring out where they are and who the places that your ideal customer is at and hangs out at. That is such a great tip. So you're not worrying about figuring out the venue, providing your own coffee, doing things like that.


Jackie J:

I love that.


Krystal J:

So what have been some of your biggest obstacles? I feel like you have such a great energy, and you're kind of just going with the flow with everything, and everything's been so amazing. So have you experienced any really low lows or big obstacles and how did you work through those?


Jackie J:

Yes. So, absolutely. Let me see. Let me go to my notes. So I've had four. One was learning to make candles, right? Because I had never made a candle. So one was learning to make candles. So you actually have to take the time to learn the science of candles because it can affect your business.


So let's say you learn how to pour the wax and all that stuff. You melt the wax, you pour the wax. It looks pretty. Somebody go to burn your candle, and then it tunnels. Right? So all the wax goes down onto the little wick inside, and they don't really get to use their product because it has burnt out too quickly. Right. So the importance of learning to make candles, that was obstacle number one. So you had to do that.


So, as I said, I looked at YouTube videos, I read library books. I hired a one-on-one consultant to teach me. I took candle making classes. So that was one. Two is exposure. And most people, I find that, especially with the pandemic, a lot of people were more introverted. So they spent so much time with theirselves that they really just was overspending time with anybody else. But in order to make a business work, you got to get out in front of that business.


You have to be the face of your product. So you have to be comfortable with talking to people. You have to be comfortable with people telling you no. So that was the second obstacle, Jackie, even if they say no, it's a win win situation. So you got to have those self talks and remind yourself of that. Three is social media, because I am this shy of a baby boomer. So I hate social. Like, I hate social media because I just have no idea, like, attach here, put a hyperlink here.


None of that stuff. I'd rather do open heart surgery than figure that out. Just an open-heart surgery. So the use of social media. But that's important. It's important to get comfortable with that, because those platforms is another opportunity for you to be able to get your product out there. And then the fourth is growing an online customer base because, yeah, I can know walk the universe and hey, I'm Jackie by day, I'm candle maker by night. You can do that, but you want your candle to be able to sell whatever your product is.


You want that product to be able to sell when you're not there. So in order to do that, you want to exhaust all resources with the platform. So social media is important because that is one way that you can increase your customer base, is getting your product out there so that your product sales even when you're sleeping. I hope that answered your question.


Krystal J:

It did, and also kind of led into my next question, which was going to be, what was your advice that you have for other entrepreneurs just starting out? But I think you touched on it already in so many ways. And one of the main ways, or to get started, is to do your research, right. Really do want to invest all of that quality time into creating a quality product. And again, I love that you don't like social media because there are so many people out there that are so reliant on it, but that is absolutely not the only way that you can grow. Word of mouth can be so phenomenal for your business. Just putting yourself out there and making that reputation for yourself as the face of the brand out in your community, that can be so incredibly impactful. So what is the future looking like for you? What is success for you in terms of growing this business?


Jackie J:

Okay, thank you so much. So, first and foremost, success to me is defined by embracing all that the universe has to offer, right? So I think of this every single day. Jackie, you can get up today. You can either see the glass half full or half empty. So if you're a person that has to see it, you got your glass, you got a line right here. You either choose to see that the glass is half full or the glass is half empty. You might as well put that same 50% energy into the universe and see the glass half full. Because as I said, if you walk up to a person and they say, no, I'm not interested in buying your candle.


Glass is still half full. Because one you asked, you stepped outside of your confidence, and you depended on your confidence. You stepped outside of your comfort zone and you asked, and even though they said no, they're going to remember you. Because, hey, this person asked me about a candle today. I might not be bothered today, but maybe I'll look at the website later. So success to me, means embracing all that the universe has to offer, celebrating those milestones and then learning from the setback. So learning from your nose, like, what made this person say no to me? And that brings a point in terms of presentation. We're in a time where your look is half of the sale, right? If I'm walking around and my hair is all nappy and I got a mean look on my face, people, I'm not approachable.


So that's half right there. You messed up half of your opportunity to sell because you look a mess. You don't look approachable. So there you go. That's a sale loss. But if you go out into the universe and you wear, like, I like my hair natural underneath, but when I'm out doing door to door, put on my wig with a little bit of waves, because to me, that makes me look more appealing. People want to stop, and they want to talk to me, and they embrace me. And then I throw in a little bit of my ADHD, and the energy gets going and the universe opens up.


And even if the person doesn't want to make a purchase, they'll remember me. They'll remember me coming to their door with a big smile, wavy hair, and I'm Jackie: nurse by day, candlemaker by night.


Krystal J:

What I enjoyed most about your answer is that it wasn't like, the success is, like, a destination for you. And your answer was so very present in the moment. Right. Being very mindful and proud of your presentation, celebrating the milestones. I really love that. That is what success is to you. It's in the day to day. It's not about once I make a million dollars in sales, that's when I feel successful. You're already feeling it and celebrating it and just living in it in the day to day. And that's incredible.


Jackie J:

Yeah. To me, success does not equal money because you have a lot of rich people out there in the universe that's depressed. That is, to theirselves that always, if they are spending money, it's out there spending money, trying to make their self happy. So success can't equal money. It just can't. It has to be something bigger than just the money.


Krystal J:

Well, Jackie, you've been so incredible and so insightful. I'm so glad we got to sit down and chat. Can you tell all of our viewers, our listeners, where they can find you and all of the amazing things that you do?


Jackie J:

Yes. So, first, I would like to say that as a future motivational coach, which is my lifelong calling, you can do it you can do it. Believe in yourself. You can do it. Take baby steps. You may have some setbacks, but you'll have more milestones than you will setbacks. So you can do it. To reach me, you can find me at Instagram, at @simplyinspiredbyjackiej.


On Facebook at simply inspired by Jackie J. And my website is simplyinspiredbyjackiej.com. And I am so grateful to be talking to you and all of your followers out there. Thank you for the opportunity. Thank you for the platform. We can do it together. We can. Even if we're just sending the energy out into the universe that all of us is in this directory.


And together we can. We can encourage each other. We can empower each other. We can pray for each other, and we can all be successful in terms of what success looks like for each individual one of us.


Krystal J:

Jackie, I don't know why you say future motivational speaker. You're already there. You're already here. You're already doing it. I don't even believe this is your first podcast interview anymore.


Jackie J:

Oh, it is. And I am so nervous.


Krystal J:

You rocked it out of the park. And there are people where you can really feel the authenticity in them and the passion in them and in their heart. And you speak from your heart. It shines through. So you are a motivational speaker, and I do hope you continue pursuing that because you do have so much light to share and so many people to impact and to motivate. So once again, thank you so much.


Jackie J:

Jackie, thank you so much as well. Thanks for having me. Awesome.

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