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A Road Less Traveled: Our Journey to Finders Keepers Acceptance

When we first started Lumen + Luxe in 2015 we had no clear objective in our sights. All we knew was that we loved mixing fragrances, making candles, working with our customers on engineering scents and educating them about wooden wick candles.

Candles around the house seemed to make the mundane actives of home life more enjoyable for us. For instance, we found that lighting a candle while washing the dishes lifted our mood. We also discovered that burning our peppermint candle helped to eliminate the lingering smell of food after dinner. Candles seemed to make the place we spend most of our time that little bit nicer. After all, home is where the heart is….. Why not make it that little bit sweeter?

So, after months traipsing the market trail we realised that our ultimate goal was to be apart of the Finders Keepers markets. I mean, why not? It seemed like the perfect platform to launch our product with their outstanding organisation and 300 stalls hosting some of the best handmade products in Australia. We thought we would be a great fit and set our eyes on the prize.

Little did we know that our first attempts would be made while trying to juggle three children, a pregnancy, schoolwork and housework! We enlisted Heather Burberry to get our photos spot on and each month we refined our craft that little bit more.

We found ourselves constantly logging on to www.thefinderskeepers.com.au, drooling with envy over the products and photography. Around this time our concrete candles were gaining ground, and by the time Mother’s Day rolled around we sold more than we could make. It also happened to be application time for Finders Keepers Melbourne, and we had to submit a full presentation pitch. Earlier that year we pitched to Virgin Australia, so we merged that experience with what we learned from previous Finders applications, and honed our presentation nicely.

We put all the key dates in our diary and submitted the application. We did a happy dance and then collapsed in heap from sheer exhaustion. We counted the days until stall holder announcements were made and it seemed like an eternity. We refreshed our screen a million the day before the formal announcement in the hopes of getting the news earlier, but alas, there was no such email. Finally, it was the stall holder announcement day, and sure enough we were up at 5 am pressing refresh… refresh… refresh.

*DING* Finally, the glorious sound of a new inbox message. WE HAD BEEN ACCEPTED!!!!! It was without a doubt one of the most exciting days we’ve had as friends and business partners.

As the excitement slowly started to settle, we were hit with the cold hard realisation that we only had twelve weeks to prepare for an event 2,000 kilometers away. We needed to figure out how many candles to make, how to transport them, figure out if our room sprays could be made in time and… what about the bloody concretes?

We put on our overalls, slapped on some rubber gloves and got down and dirty with our first batch of Finders Keepers concrete bowls. Oh ya, did we mention we make the concrete and pour it ourselves? Fact. The weather wasn’t on our side and it seemed like it was taking longer than usual to dry. However, week after week we kept slogging away and made some pretty incredible concrete candles with some unique colour combos. Pretty chuffed to say the least!

Choosing fragrances for Melbourne was a tricky process. We are a Brisbane based company, and knew that what sells up in Queensland might not be as popular in Melbourne, and vice versa. We spent lots of long nights researching while the children slept. After two weeks we had narrowed down our lineup:

Brassy Tuberose, Dark + Stormy, Lemon Myrtle + Mandarin, Vetiver, Leather + Cardamom, Tigerlily + Patchouli, Lime in the Coconut, Lemongrass, Persian Lime + Passoinfruit, Love is Love, and Zing!

Room sprays and an all natural pillow spray called Know me Out just made it in time. With the decisions made, it was time to don our aprons and get candelling.

Our community, family and friends rallied around us. They helped us to set up glassware, stick on safety stickers, soothe screaming toddlers and made excellent sounding boards for our numerous ideas that kept generating since we’d heard the news of our acceptance. We are extremely grateful for these special people and we know how blessed we are to have such a beautiful, strong community rally around us. We could not have done this without their help, love, and support.

I hope you have enjoyed this inflight rambling which I typed while enroute to Melbourne. We are thrilled to be touching down in Melbs soon and setting up our stall at Finders Keepers. Come say hello, we would love to meet you!

Kyla + Marina x

October 2017