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Trading a Cubicle for a Candle Workshop

A 9-to-5 job isn’t the only way to make money. Some people are putting their hobbies to work and making a living doing what they love.

Vicki Garcia, 55, turned her longtime candle-making hobby into a business.
Vicki Garcia, 55, turned her longtime candle-making hobby into a business.

Making candles was a hobby Vicki Garcia enjoyed for decades before she started her own business selling natural scented products, called Ever Pure Organics.

Driven by her own need for a natural, petroleum-free candle that didn't irritate her senses, Garcia began creating her own soy candles at home 30 years ago. Garcia wanted to turn her hobby into a business back then, but there wasn't a big market for organic products in the 1980s. So Garcia pursued a full-time career in corporate communications.

But nine years ago everything seemed to change. Garcia, a frequenter of weekend farmers’ markets where artisan-made goods are in demand, noticed that the public was more aware of what they were putting into, and on, their bodies. At the same time, her employer relocated. That’s when she decided to start Ever Pure Organics.  

“I would never go back,” Garcia said. “I’m my own boss now...I love it. I meet so many people and I would be lost without doing this.”

A licensed esthetician and massage therapist, Garcia grew the product line from just candles to include therapeutic soaps, scents and oils, bath salts, handwashes, and baby and pet shampoos. Now, all Ever Pure Organics products are dye and additive free.

She continues to make everything herself in what her family affectionately calls “The Dungeon,” which was once her husband’s man-cave. The process is pretty intensive; it takes 13 hours to make one bar of soap, which sells for $5. Her candles sell for $7.50.

“It was a struggle at the beginning,” the now 55-year-old business owner recalled of the days when she first started making the candles. “It was a very hard sell and I almost gave up, but my husband said, ‘No, keep doing it. Things are going to change.’ And sure enough, they did.”

Like Garcia, more and more people are turning into entrepreneurs and many start with something they simply love to do. In March 2012, one business report estimated that approximately 543,000 new businesses are created each month during the year -- following a mostly upward trend of entrepreneurship over the last decade.

Would you consider turning your hobby into money maker? Would you leave your full-time job to do this? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.   

Lynn Novelli August 14, 2013 at 01:11 PM
Congratulations Vicki, I too took my hobby jewelry design and created a business. Designs by Lynn Novelli. I love the creative side and doing something I truly love. It is a treat when I see one of my pieces being worn the jewelry takes on a life of its own.

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