Ciara Thompson, Wood and Heart Design co, Parry Sound
I have the wonderful opportunity to meet and photograph all kinds of amazing human beings.
While they are in studio, it is a privilege to learn about their businesses, or the work they do, their family, their interests, and hear a little bit about their story.
What inspired you to develop your idea?
It was a bit of a fluke actually! I made my first candle as a way to explore my creativity and it turns out I was really, really bad at it. It inspired me to really delve in and master the craft — there is a lot more to candle making than just melting wax and pouring it, which really fascinated me. Soon people in the area wanted to buy candles from me, and a few local stores asked me to be on their shelves, and it really kick started W+H! I am still, even after 3 almost 4 years, continuously learning!
How have your priorities changed from when you first started?
I would say as of right now my priorities have shifted from merely trying to get product on the shelves of other stores, to now co-owning and operating my own store, while simultaneously working with wholesale and exploring the world of private label.
Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out?
It has all been such a learning experience that I honestly would not change a single thing. I don’t think I could be where I am currently without all the trial and error!
What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey?
Being in Canada, it was often really difficult to source a lot of the supplies that I needed for candle making, especially the vessels. Once COVID-19 hit, it made it even more difficult to obtain a lot of the supplies, and it was during a major turning point where we were expanding. There were a lot of times where I was pulling my hair out, but it was just one more thing to overcome and show me just how strong we can be as a business!
How do you define success?
I really love this question! I think success to me just means continuously learning and evolving. If there were ever a day where I woke up and knew everything there was to know about business it wouldn’t make it something I was interested in anymore. To me, it doesn’t have to be big giant steps forward, or it can be that sometimes as well. Each day is a new adventure and that is success to me. I’m not limited to what I can achieve and this is exactly what makes it all worth it.
What is keeping you up at night?
Oh, I would say this definitely changes as my business changes! For a while it was figuring out the right wood wicks. Then it was, as mentioned, the vessel supply crisis I was facing. Currently, I’m sleeping like a baby but I now am aware that that could change at any given moment so I’m taking this time to catch up! 🤪
Describe some of your key routines or habits that you have to keep you going?
I make sure to wake up early every day. I spend a lot of time in the morning with my coffee planning my day, researching things, networking, or finishing up work in the workshop before I even head to the store. My mornings are my safe place. If I didn’t have those moments to allow myself to be in my own la-la land, I think I’d implode! Haha!
Do you, and/or, how do you find time to develop your creative process?
I spend a lot of time during the day researching and developing, and brainstorming ways to expand or improve. The wheels are always turning, and I love love love throwing new ideas out onto paper.
What are some hard choices that you had to make to get where you are?
I’ve had to miss out on a lot of things to get this little baby business of mine off the ground. It can be hard to say no (FOMO is a real thing, haha) but it’s one of those things that are part of the process, and I’m learning every day different ways to find balance.
What book and/or podcast are you enjoying right now?
I had a lady stop me in the street one day and she was talking to me casually about the store and the candle business. I had never met her prior but she told me to read the book Soul Over Matter by Zhi Gang Sha and Adam Markel, a book about attracting unlimited abundance into your life and career. And it was just one of those occurrences that felt like it was meant to be. I’m finally reading it, and I think anyone else in small business should as well.
What is one thing people would never guess about you?
I have to really push myself to believe in myself, it isn’t something that comes naturally to me. It is becoming easier as time goes on and I see myself overcome difficult things, but I have to really fling myself outside the box without looking back or I will start to second guess myself. I’ve had people comment on my drive, and I definitely have it, but I have to kick myself in the butt whenever that self doubt creeps up on me. My mantra is that I can do anything that I put my mind to.
What is one thing you wish people knew about you?
I think it would be the hard work I put into myself in order to be able to do this. A lot of people know different versions of me — sweet, passive, silly, or even sometimes awkward (those who know me know, haha), but I’m actually a very strong person. I don’t give up when the going gets tough, and I have to do a lot of continuous internal work to make sure that I can sustain and accomplish my dreams.
Where can you find Ciara?
If you are visiting Parry Sound, be sure to visit Ciara in her store, located downtown Parry Sound, at 26 James Street at Moon & Heart Lifestyle Boutique, which is a collaboration-style boutique between Wood and Heart Design co., and Samara, owner of well-renowned clothing boutique, Moon River Apothecary.
Peter Istvan Photography
Peter is a professional headshot photographer. Available in studio, or on location. Serving Parry Sound, Muskoka, Sudbury, North Bay, Barrie, Toronto, and surrounding areas. View pricing and scheduling.