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What I've Learned from Slow North

Hello friends! In case we haven’t met, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Bekah and I’ve been with Slow North almost since the beginning! It’s kind of surreal and SUCH a privilege to even be able to say that! I’m currently the Marketing and Wholesale Manager but my position started as something much, much different.


Here’s how it all began…

 


In April of 2016 I got an Instagram notification that my mom had tagged me in a “we’re hiring!” post from Slow North. I had recently purchased a Slow North candle for my mom for her birthday, so naturally she, being the instagram savvy “cool mom” that she is, started following them immediately after opening her gift. I laughed at the notification and rolled my eyes at this classic mom moment and moved on (love you mom). At the time, I was actually looking for part-time work, but given that this was my mom’s idea, it took a couple of days for me to come around to the idea of applying to work for Slow North. After a few days had passed, and after a few helpful nudges from my mom I thought “what the heck” and applied for the job.


Fast forward a week and I was standing in the studio being trained by Michelle, our co-owner & founder. I started working super part-time (just 4 hours a week!) as a Production Assistant in the studio. This was Slow North’s very first studio in Michelle’s garage in their backyard with no windows and little A/C, but it was a sweet escape from reality once a week and I LOVED it. Every Tuesday morning I honed my skills as a candle maker and was able to thrive in a creative environment where I was working with my hands day-in and day-out. These are skills I had been sharpening since childhood through years of taking art classes, but being able to exercise creativity and be valued for it AND paid for it was something completely new to me!

 

Slow North's second studio location, custom built in the Simmons' backyard. A slight upgrade from the first garage studio ;)

 

Since my first day, Slow North has grown from a small, brand new candle business to a thriving, multi-faceted lifestyle brand. We’ve grown into 2 studios since the first garage studio, now fully functioning as a combined studio space + retail storefront, carrying hundreds of brands from all over the United States and hosting all kinds of workshops! And not only has Slow North grown, but my position as a Production Assistant grew into a full time job as the Wholesale & Marketing Manager… a total dream job that I didn’t know was a dream until I was given the opportunity.

 

Our FIRST transaction at our brick and mortar Grand Opening in August of 2017!

 

As my time here at Slow North comes to an end, my appreciation for this company is really hitting me hard. During the month of August I will be getting married(!!!), spending a week out of the country with my soon-to-be husband, celebrating my 26th birthday and then immediately packing up and moving to Houston! Although I won’t be around the Slow North studio anymore, I’ll still be contributing to the team in various ways from afar. I will deeply miss seeing our weekly regulars, working one-on-one with my sweet coworkers and boss, and of course I will miss smelling like essential oils 24/7! In the time I’ve been working for Slow North, I’ve learned so much. It’s hard to put into words… So bear with me while my long-winded self tries to sum up 3 of the most important things I’ve learned during my 2+ years as a Slow North employee:


  1. The creative community in Austin (+ beyond!) is full of the most wonderful, genuine people. I have met so many inspiring makers through this job. I’ve had the privilege of interviewing and blogging about some of our Slow North stockists and even vendors that we carry in our own shop! I’ve locked arms with and bonded hard with fellow makers/booth neighbors at weekend-long craft markets. I’ve begun to fill my home with goods that are handmade by some of my favorite makers who I now consider friends. To have a home full of meaningful objects that are made by hands that I know and admire is one of the most heart-warming feelings. I’ve learned that beautiful things are not just things, they are manifestations of passions and talent; reflective of a person’s heart and story. Check out some of my favorites here!
  2. Timing isn’t everything. In case you haven’t heard the story behind Slow North, I urge you to educate yourself and read their story here! There’s no way you can read that without walking away motivated. In short, Michelle & Jon saw a need for clean, botanical home goods on the market and they capitalized on it. They were pregnant with their first child at the time, but they didn’t let that stop them from pursuing this dream. Their diligence in cultivating this business has given way to a huge amount of growth for Slow North. Hundreds, if not thousands, have benefited from Slow North products, and they have paved the way for countless other small businesses to thrive in this market as well! So, just know that the passions you have are for a reason. I want to encourage you to push past barriers and inconveniences and face the process one step at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are small businesses.
  3. You can find a job that you won’t dread going to, but it may take time. I had plenty of jobs before Slow North that I legitimately could not stand going to. But rarely would I have mornings where I’d be down about driving to my job where I worked in a candle studio that smelled like heaven, met genuinely curious and joyful customers, and had a boss that cared deeply for her employees’ success. All of these things made it easy to not only work for Slow North, but actually LOVE the work I was doing. I’m not your typical 9 to 5 kind of girl, too much routine makes me feel extremely unmotivated (any fellow ENFPs out there?!), so the changing roles I was constantly growing into were a huge reason for the continued interest and enjoyment I felt for my job at Slow North. Through working for this wonderful company, I’ve found myself thriving in this niche market of small businesses and I’ve discovered my own passions for helping small businesses grow through using my own skills I’ve developed in social media outreach, small scale marketing, and fostering genuine connections with fellow creatives. Work was actually created for our enjoyment and our good, so when you find yourself working for a company like Slow North, hang onto it for dear life!

Say hi & follow along with all my new adventures on Instagram! Ya know... if you're into that.



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