So Many Reasons to Love France! And Life!

Hello gorgeous people!!!

Its been a while! How are you doing? I hope you have somehow found your own unique way to not only cope with life but to thrive as well! In the ups and downs, highs and lows, just know this, you are equipped for your own journey, the wisdom you need, the help you need, the right resources and people you need, have been put on earth for you. So please don’t despair, seek the answers, they are out there.

I, also have been journeying, literally and figuratively. I started to make scented candles! I decided to throw myself into creating a candle brand that’s made in Africa, by Africans using raw materials made and sourced from Africa! Which Africa blesses the world with; like every scent, brings you some of the beauty of the African continent! (Ohhh! The enthusiasm of a new beginner! It’s great that when you dream, what you see is the end picture, not the steps you have to take everyday to get to the dream…). Anyhow, I like to say “I make the most beautiful scented candles in Nigeria” (LOL, yes, I say so myself).

This journey has been a great learning curve; being part of the “Manufacturing” sector in Nigeria, dealing with finding raw materials, getting essential oils from Northern Nigeria and seeing how the security situation in the nation affects supply, fluctuations in cost as a result of the so-called “recession” and exchange rate instability… A! LOT! It is a learning curve that has been steep but which also calls you to enjoy the journey, knowing that each step that I take, each hard lesson is creating a maturity, creating a seasoned entrepreneur, helping me see more and more, the problems and therefore the opportunities to solve them! It has been really exciting times…

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See? I told you we make the most beautiful scented candles!!! Check us out @owambecandles on Instagram

As Paulo Coelho, says in his book ‘The Alchemist’, “making a decision is only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.” So, I decided to make candles, let me track back to say, I used to make candles in the past under my brand called, Tes Amour. Tes Amour candles were extremely beautiful, made from pure soy which is environmentally friendly and perfumed with essential oils,  so they could be used as massage candles as well. The only problem with them, was I imported all the components to make them. So, I didn’t arrive at this new venture because it was part of my grand plan (deliberate strategy), I arrived at it because Nigeria supposedly went into a recession (this is not a fact that I admitted as applying to me), because the Dollar prices rose against the Naira and therefore it didn’t make business sense to continue to make anything that was import dependent! So that aspect of the business came to a halt! You can imagine the fear! Questions floated in and out of my mind, “So what do we do now? Close shop?” “Should we raise capital to continue as is?” “Where will we raise capital from?” “Does it make sense to raise capital in Naira and buy in Dollars?”, “then sell in Naira?” “How much will we sell for?” “Will the market receive it?” “Ohhhh, will the dream die? Will I ever create this candle line that I have sooo hoped to?” It was one question after the other!

It was on the backdrop of this, that someone said to me “you always ask me, what is in my hands? In relation to this business, you now have to ask yourself, what is in your own hands?” And with that question, my journey towards “creating a candle brand that’s made in Africa, by Africans using raw materials made and sourced from Africa,” began! I was determined to create a business that used only what was available in Nigeria, so that we not only build local production capacity, but also local agricultural capacity, to grow the fruits and plants from which the scents are derived. (This is our long term goal).

Fast forward, one exhilarating year later, (exhilarating in the best and worst ways possible, filled with the greatest uncertainties as well! The need-to-know, control freak in me, does not like uncertainty, AT. ALL!!!), the journey I took, took me to a place called Grasse! Grasse is the perfume capital of the world, you have some of the best and oldest perfume making houses in the world in Grasse, which is in the South of France! You know I just had to go there! Because yes, I am looking to create a beautiful African candle brand so I needed to go and see where it had been excellently done! I needed to go and learn processes, I needed to see how they packaged, how they marketed. I needed to learn new and inspiring techniques… One of my great goals on this trip was to see and experience businesses that have been passed down from generation to generation! One of the perfume houses, I visited was Mollinard, its been passed down 5 generations! It was created in 1849 and still thrives! 

Though I did not know it at the time, I also needed to go and see the beauty of the South of France, my soul needed the rejuvenation that such unspoiled beauty creates…

I could go on and on about this Entrepreneurship journey, tell you about the pains, the tears, the lessons learnt and the very high highs! (Let me know in the comments below if you would like to hear more about this. Feel free to ask questions so I know what you want to hear).  I could go on and on about this, but that’s not why I started writing today! I started writing to share my photos with you. And to say that that there are so so many reasons to love France (the whole of France, not just Paris) and so many reasons to love life!!! So, live fully, live out loud, hold the dream till it comes to pass, and enjoy the photos below!

 

Ciao! Thank you for hanging out with me. These photos were taken in Grasse, Cabris, Biot and Nice, where I spent the most beautiful couple of weeks learning advanced candle making techniques… I loved every bit of my time there, I feel like every new place I see shows me a different side of the Creator’s expression and I feel really blessed to share it with you!

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