When I initially started my business it was nothing more than just a hobby and side hustle. In the beginning I didn't really have a crystal clear idea of what Blazing Bombs was going to become and what my true goals were, nor did I have someone that inspired me... All of that changed in 2017 when I was introduced to a seasoned soap maker through a close friend of mine that I was visiting in Toronto for the weekend.
Joey had been a friend of mine for several years in elementary and high school who is now a successful make-up artist and entrepreneur. At the time, he lived in a really cool studio apartment in Toronto while attending school. I went to visit him one weekend and while talking to him about my little side hustle with Blazing Bombs, he said to me, "OMG, there is this lady in my building YOU HAVE TO MEET. She makes soap and drinks wine!". Immediately I was interested in meeting her, and I was lucky enough to meet her that very weekend.
We walked down to her floor, knocked on the door, and entered her soap making kitchen. Immediately I was in awe. I was so impressed by what she had established with herself that I had no words and just stared at her entire empire. It was honestly a soap-maker's dream come true. It had a clean, rustic candy-shoppe vibe to it, and I was instantly in love. In the wake of my amazement, she was so welcoming and kindhearted, and she was ready to enjoy some wine after a soap-filled day....Little did I know that this person was going to imprint on my life drastically. The name of her business was called Carberry Soap.
(As this person does not know I am writing this blog on them, the former owner of Carberry Soap will be referred to as "M")
M was in her years of retirement, or "semi-retirement" as she claimed when I met her. She owned her own shop for 10 years in the GTA and when she downsized, she was a vendor at The Nooks - Danforth. (TA DA! ... this is how I first became aware of The Nooks!). In addition to her retail experience, she was also a vendor in Toronto's One of a Kind Show (which I also didn't learn about until I met her). M had so many years of experience in the bath and body industry, I still to this day cannot tell you enough what an inspiration this woman has been to me. Every product she made had so much love and care incorporated right down to the packaging, which is what I admired the most. She truly cared about the quality, customer experience, and presentation when shopping her products.
After meeting her for the first time that weekend, we exchanged tips on making product and sourcing suppliers. Over time, we literally chatted almost every single evening about everything and anything. There were days I'd go over to her house on a day off to help her keep up with her bath bomb demand, or to hang out and share inspiration.
One day I will forever remember is the time we were talking about what I would do with my nursing career if my business ever "took off". At the time I was working my full-time night shift at the retirement home and attending handmade markets when and where I could... I honestly didn't know that I would be where I am today with Blazing Bombs. I remember my response being similar to, "I don't think I would ever leave nursing. MAYBE consider going from full-time to part-time, but I know that I am not there yet. I don't think that I'll ever leave nursing because I love both so much." ... I'm pretty sure M had more faith in me than I did at the time. I had a feeling that she was implying I wouldn't have time for both eventually and that's not something I could see for myself at the time.
I would say that M and I became very close soon after meeting one another. It wasn't until after meeting her that I had someone I truly admired and looked up to. From her wild personality and her beautiful products to her business experience, I can honestly say that she inspired me to keep improving. I made it my goal to get into the OOAK show as she did, gain retail experience, and maybe one day do exactly as she did by working from home full-time surrounded by her business empire created from the ground up.
I'm specifically sharing this experience because I believe one person can make a huge impact on your life- whether it be business or simply just in life. Unfortunately, for reasons still unknown, all communication with M faded sometime in early January of 2018. I know she is still alive and (hopefully) well, but sometimes things happen in life that we have to accept and carry on. I will admit it was like losing a best friend when this happened. Although it was a short period of time that I was good friends with M, I felt like I had known her for more than a decade. There was always so much to talk about, so many ideas, and so much inspiration. Despite the falling out, I still think about her all the time and hope nothing but the best for her and her family. I don't think she knows how much I valued our friendship because without meeting her... I don't think I would have come this far with Blazing Bombs.
Since meeting M in 2017, I have been a vendor in the OOAK Spring show (2019), have had several retail locations carry my product (including The Nooks), quit my nursing career at the end of July 2018, and now successfully run my business from home full-time.
You can visit my other blogs if you'd like to read more about my business transitions and growth!. (Read: "A Decade in Review"// "How it all Started")