The original launch collection!
We're celebrating CORDA's "birthday"! Four years ago, on September 9, 2019, our very first candles came into the world.
Michael and I have been doing some reminiscing, and we've got four fun facts to share for four years:
1. I didn't actually choose the launch date - Catholic radio did
In early 2019, I had promised a local station that I would donate candles they could give away to donors during their fall pledge drive, which would begin on September 9. I figured the business would definitely be up and running by then (even though I still had to finalize our custom wax blend, create all the custom scents, do extensive testing, design the packaging, figure out product photography, build a whole website, write all the content, set up a bank account, register the business... you get the idea).
Let's just say it was a very late night on September 8, and I didn't feel anywhere close to ready, but a promise is a promise, so CORDA officially launched on September 9. Thanks be to God!
2. Battle Cry and Compline almost didn't make the cut
Before we launch a new scent, people help us out as "candle testers" - they trial the scent in their own space and give us honest feedback on how the candle burns and what they think of how it smells.
The first time this happened was, of course, with our original launch collection, and I received some pretty negative feedback on Battle Cry and Compline (one person even said she "hated" the scent, although in all fairness she said the rest of her family loved it!).
While I was honestly a little shook, I came to realize this was a really important and helpful lesson in detachment. Scent preference is very personal, and not everyone is going to love or even like every scent.
Ultimately, since I really believed that these were the right scents for these inspirations, I decided to go ahead and launch them. Thankfully so many people have fallen in love with the scents, and Battle Cry and Compline are now two of our best sellers!
3. The first CORDA studio was an unconditioned laundry space
We were living in a rental when I started CORDA in 2019, and the only available space to set up shop was in the back, where the washer and dryer were in a kind of hallway to the garage.
It was under 100 square feet, and there was no heating or cooling (it was southern facing and would be 95+ degrees in the summer), but I remember so clearly what a joy it was to have my very own space to work in. And since I was set back from the main part of the house, I also had the awesome bonus of being able to play music really loud while I poured.
We moved about a year later for Michael's work, and that next studio space was almost 150 square feet - it felt huge! I also hired my first employee then, and by the following year the team had grown to as many as 14 people working part-time, some in the studio and some remotely. There's so many good memories there, too, including when we lost power right before the Christmas shipping deadline and the team rallied to get every single order out on time, despite not having heating or lights!
Then, last summer, we were lucky enough to move back home to Kansas City and be near family again, and so the business moved for a third time. Our current studio space is about 300 square feet and even though the team is much smaller, we still need to optimize every inch. Just recently Michael and I rearranged everything, painted the walls a warm white, and installed some wood-like flooring. We spend a lot of time in there, and these changes have helped make the space more comfortable and cozy.
4. CORDA actually has two big celebrations each year
In addition to CORDA's birthday on September 9, we also celebrate the "CORDA-versary" on January 27.
That was the official founding of CORDA, in 2019, when it all began at Mass in front of a statue of St. Joseph, and I was given the idea to make candles with saint and faith inspired scents. We do something pretty special for the CORDA-versary, too, so stay tuned!