What Does Your Name Say About You?

Hello friends. Yes, you are on the right page. We are MILK + HONEY CANDLES and we have some wonderful news to share with you. We are evolving and at this very moment we are transitioning our brand into something so dear to our hearts & aligning our passion with a cause.  Think of this transition as a beautiful butterfly's metamorphosis. Starting in November we will officially be NECTAR REPUBLIC.

NECTAR REPUBLIC

Why the name change, you ask? As we have grown our small mom & pop business we encountered so many other businesses with the same name. This has caused some marketplace confusion, which is an inconvenience for you. Our growth is leading us closer to our dreams everyday. With each passing day a clearer vision of the future has materialized.

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FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS

We love giving back. Mother Nature gives so much and we want to return the love by helping to SAVE THE BEES. As you can guess... this is where our name, Nectar Republic comes into play. We aren't just loving on the bees, we care about all the pollinators. For every sale Nectar Republic will donate 5% of our profits to "Save the Bees". Keep a look out for our products, everything will remain the same, just a new name. Know that we are still the same family owned business that prides itself in creating handmade soy candles that promote a healthy home while leaving a light ecological footprint. So there you have it, a little meaning behind the new name and what it says about the direction we are going in.  

Good News

"Wichita Whole Foods connects with local vendors" BY BRYAN HORWATH, The Wichita Eagle

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Like other entrepreneurs before her, Lisa Williams found the inspiration for her product after perceiving a hole in the marketplace. 

“I wasn’t happy with the candles I was buying, so I started making my own five or six years ago,” said Williams, a Wichita resident. “I found out about the toxic chemicals that are in some candles, and I just wasn’t happy with the overall quality I was getting,” she said. “I started making high-quality soy candles and eventually sold them online and in farmers markets.” 

Enter Milk and Honey Candle Co., which began in 2012. Though customers can buy Williams’ products off her website, she said the company might never have taken flight if not for a partnership with Whole Foods, which opened a Wichita location in September. 

Today, Williams’ candles can be found in 16 retail locations in five states, including six Whole Foods Market stores. 

“I created a brand,” Williams said. “But I don’t think it would have happened without my partnership with Whole Foods. … You have to go through a rigorous process to get your product into their stores, but it’s worth it. “Just being in the store, it’s kind of like an invisible seal of approval for the product. Customers trust Whole Foods, and that trust falls on my product.” 

Local Flavor

Williams is among about 40 local vendors represented on the shelves of the Wichita Whole Foods store at 13th and Webb, said Nicole Lane, a marketing specialist who works out of the Wichita store. 

“We are very happy to partner with our local vendors and farms,” she said. “They are like family to us. Our suppliers share the same concerns and morals for social responsibility and the environment as we do.

“Plus, buying locally grown products bolsters local economies by putting that money back in the pockets of producers and growers,” she said. “We always try to connect with local producers when we enter a new market.” Whole Foods also offers low-interest loans to small producers for capital expenditures, Lane said.

Another hit at Whole Foods locations has been Michael McCoy’s Real Deal Salsa. A Bel Aire resident and El Dorado native, McCoy said Whole Foods hasn’t been able to keep the salsa on its shelves because of its popularity. 

Like Williams, McCoy – who also operates the Real Deal Cafe in El Dorado – is looking to take his product to the next level. McCoy, who also sells a line of Real Deal meat seasonings, has his products at Dillons locations in addition to Whole Foods.

“The salsa does really well at Whole Foods,” McCoy said. “There were a lot of hoops to jump through and paperwork to do just getting in, but it’s been a great thing. I had no idea how to go about getting insurance as a vendor, which I needed, and the people with Whole Foods helped throughout that process.”

After tweaking his salsa recipe during the past several years – he found that adding salt is rarely a poor decision – McCoy, with the help and expertise of his wife, Jennifer, settled on a formula and now has his salsa made by co-packer Original Juan in Kansas City, Kan.

“I’m in almost 60 grocery stores now,” McCoy said. “… I’m glad it all worked out – it’s been better than I could have imagined. “I’m actually thinking of selling the restaurant now, which I’m not sure my wife is thrilled about, but I think we can take this to the next level. I’d like to get into a retailer like Target or Costco.” 

‘Amazing Suppliers’ 

Another local vendor who has had success with Whole Foods is Andrew Gough of Reverie Coffee Roasters, who said he has been told his company’s products have at times been among the best-selling coffee brands at the store. 

“Buying local is important,” Gough said. “I can’t thank Whole Foods enough for what they’ve done in that regard in this community. I’m glad they’re here.”

Because of its list of strict standards – Whole Foods does not sell products that feature artificial food coloring or have high-fructose corn syrup – the process might be more difficult for producers to get their products in the door, at least compared with some other retailers. 

Still, the consensus seems to be that the natural foods and products chain can offer potentially fruitful partnerships for entrepreneurs, especially for those attempting to get started. 

“Kansas has some amazing suppliers, and we’re happy to have their products at our store,” said Lane, the Whole Foods marketing specialist. “Anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of the products on our shelves come from local producers, and we’re proud of that.” 

Whole Foods, founded in 1980, has more than 400 stores in North America and Europe. The store typically hosts local vendors on the second Saturday of every month for a taste fair where consumers can test products and speak with producers.

Source: Article Link

Out with the old, in with the new

Just last week, I purchased a Hyacinth plant to usher in fresh life into our home. The strong floral fragrance was so fresh and clean. It inspired me to freshen up things around the shop.

New pieces of distressed painted furniture, garden home decor and vintage accents filled our little shop. It's funny how little things like this inspire us to do more. Even though winter is still here, I was eager to decorate the shop with ferns, mint green, seaside blue and tiny touch of florals. Its beginning to feel like spring at Milk + Honey.  

Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.
— Pietro Aretino

Where did the time go?

It's been practically a year since my last blog entry. I had all these aspirations to become a blogger but little time to invest. As you can imagine, I have been busy making candles. But honestly, where did the time go? It just flies out the door when your having fun, I guess. Business has really taken off and I almost don't know where to start to fill you in on what's happened. I have been good at keeping up with my Facebook page. But in case you haven't followed that, I will start with our most recent venture, Relove All Things Shabby.

Relove All Things Shabby is a shop of vintage goods, painted furniture and home decor here in Wichita, KS. Rhonda Gribble and Stacy McCarthy started their venture together and have been refurbishing old furniture for years. Coupled with their talent for painting, they also a retailer of Plaster Paint. With much success they decided to expand their shop into a larger facility and invite artisans, craftsman and antique dealers to create a venue called Relove Market

Pictured is my candle booth and all its charming vintage decor from the past fall season. Of course, I couldn't help myself, I hand to get my hands into painting furniture. You will see more pieces in the near future. In November, Courtney Browning of 12th and White joined our shop. It's a great fit and I adore her style. You have got to visit her blog too. Courtney is so talented and her home decor is absolutely beautiful. We both love architectural salvage and she has a passion for antique home decor (ironstone, antique tin and rustic windows). We have charming farmhouse & cottage accents to fill your cozy home. Check back with us as I will soon reveal our expansion. I'll have lots more painted furniture and Christmas decor to share with you.  Happy Holidays!

Feeling Squirrely? Try Nut-pourri!

Lately, I have been just memorized by these enormous fuzzy nuts that are falling out of the sky.  Why are they so odd?  Never have I seen anything quite like them before. 

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Then yesterday, I got a wild hair up my you know what and did some good old fashion research. Come to find out that this is from a Burr Oak Tree.  Thought maybe these nuts were abnormally large and alien-like because our tree got struck by lighting this summer.

 

There are over 52 different oak species in North America. The Burr Oak Tree produces the largest acorns in the oak family.  You can identify the oak by it's leaf shape.  

You can see the split in the bark from where the lighting struck.  Only feet away from the house, the lighting blew out two televisions and the garage door.  Welcome to Kansas.  

Washed up these bad boys and remove the cap of the acorn.  Thought that they would make a beautiful arrangement on the table in a bowl for the fall season.  Then an idea flashed in my mind, "NUT-POURRI!"  I couldn't resist.  After the acorns dried I soaked them in Cedarwood Amber oil and stored them in a tupperware container. After a day of soaking up the fragrant oil, I poured them into a decorative bowl and voila. They just smell so rich and woodsy.  Nothing beats bringing the outdoors inside. 

We are so lucky that the lighting strike didn't kill our oak tree.  Guess we should mark this years acorn harvest as our "lucky nuts."

 

My acorns bring all the squirrels to the yard. ;-)

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The stars and the moon have aligned

The day has finally come...  I am officially launching Milk + Honey Candles to the public.  It's been blood, sweat and tears climbing this uphill road over the years. But in my mind I never lost sight of my dream.  

I'll be completely honest, it's scary to leave the security blanket of corporate employment and benefits. It took a lot to believe in myself and have the confidence in my abilities. And it definitely didn't happen over night.  Lost without motivation and direction, I had a  conversation with God. Through some divine intervention the stars and the moon aligned, the clouds lifted and everything became so clear. I discovered myself again. With the support of my beloved friends... suddenly, my business was up and running. Out of the basement and into people hands. I have to tell you, the reviews I have been getting from customers have been so overwhelmingly exciting to hear. It practically brings tears to my eyes because I can't believe that this is happening. 

So what do we do from here? We party! For those of you who know me this isn't a surprise, event planning has been my life for the past 7 years. But this time, it's my party!!! 

Please join me on Friday, Nov. 1st as I celebrate and share my craft with you. Milk + Honey Candles has been a dream that has come to life. Finally, I am able to stand beside my handmade soy candles and share my passion with all of you. Let's taste wine, eat and shop!  Enough said, right? 

In order to provide enough refreshments and food for all our guests PLEASE RSVP to lisa@milkandhoneycandles.com  This is a come and go event, hope you can stop by.