This will be my last post for Tasty-Candles. A few weeks ago I closed my Etsy Store. The Shop Nevada store was also closed last Monday. Although I enjoy making candles that look and smell like real food, one lesson that I have learned from this experience is that I am not a business person.
Since I am autistic and tend to be socially awkward despite having had 61 years to develop my interpersonal skills, I have found that I don’t particularly enjoy customer service or having to do any of the paperwork that’s associated with maintaining and running a business. To use a food industry parlance, I’m a back of the house person. I’d rather be puttering about my candle workshop instead of having to interact with customers.
My subscription for this website was supposed to be renewed sometime in May. I have canceled the autorenewal and this site will be deleted after my subscription has expired. Since I didn’t want to do the paperwork to reapply for my business license, I’ve decided to let this license expire.
Although Tasty-Candles only generated about $700 in total sales, tax write offs from having used my home to operate my business will give me a nice return. How much of a return I will get remains to be seen. Since I knew I would miss the filing deadline, I applied for an extension and now have until October to complete my tax return.
Given the complexity of this year’s taxes, I will have an H&R tax preparer complete my return after I’ve finished gathering all of the financial documents that will be needed.
Tasty-Candles was the third blog that I have ever had. Prior to Tasty-Candles I had a Culinary Arts blog called TeachingwithChefDave.com. The purpose of this blog (along with a YouTube channel) were intended to highlight my Culinary Arts program. After the principal told me that I could not blog about my program, I terminated the website. Although I could have argued that the administrator’s instructions violated my 1st Amendment right to free speech, I decided that this was not a battle that I wanted to fight. To be fair, the blog was also starting to bore me because the posts were cyclic. Although each year brought new challenges, all of these challenges were largely the same. By the time I got to the third iteration of teaching my Culinary I students how to make cheese omelets, I was ready for a change. Being told that I could no longer blog about teaching Culinary Arts came as a huge relief.
My first blog which has long since been discontinued was called the Unintentional Vegan. Sometime around 2011, a friend from a Lutheran Seminary gave me a call to tell me that her doctor had suggested that she go on a total vegetable (vegan) diet. Since she didn’t know anything about vegan food and since Wholefoods Market was (at the time) laughingly referred to by some detractors as “whole paycheck” given how much everything cost, I was asked to create some vegan recipes that resembled “real” non-vegan foods.
Since I was already making candles that looked and smelled like real food, the challenge of creating vegan foods that looked and tasted like non-vegan foods was too much to pass up.
I joined my friend on her diet and spent a year creating, testing, and sending her recipes. Pictured below is a tandoori chicken that I made using textured vegetable protein and other vegan friendly ingredients.
Pictured here is a chicken fried steak with country gravy that I made using TVP (textured vegetable protein) and cashews. The “egg wash” that was used with the breading was made from ground flax seeds mixed with hot water. The “milk” used to make the country gravy was made using either soy milk.
A few weeks before my friend was ordained as a minister, she wrote to tell me that she was going to marry a fellow seminary student. After wishing her all the best, I went to an Outback Steakhouse and ate my way into a food coma by enjoying a 16 oz. prime rib with a fully loaded baked potato, a salad with Ranch dressing, and two loaves of their whole what bread.
After realizing that I had enough recipes to fill several cookbooks, I published the manuscripts pictured below as e-books on Amazon. If memory serves I have published seven volumes.
Unlike candles which have to be made prior to being sold, e-books are a renewable product. Although I have never previously sold more than a handful of e-books through Amazon, this year Amazon send me a tax statement because my book sales have apparently passed the minimum threshold for reporting taxable income.
I do not know as yet how much I have earned in Amazon book sales. In addition to my Unintentional Vegan cookbooks, I have published one picture book about my cats as well as a children’s novel about the adventures of my first two cats. Pictured below is the title cover for the children’s novel.
Pictured here is the title cover for Cat Calls.
Cat Calls was the first e-book I ever published. It consisted of nothing more than pictures of my cats with hopefully amusing captions such as the excerpt pictured below.
I have now launched a 4th blog that combines all of my prior blogging interests with candid posts about my autism. The new blog is called Life with Autism: An Introspection From an Autistic Adult About Life, Cats, Teaching Culinary Arts, and Making Novelty Candles. This blog may be found at lifewithautismorg.wordpress.com.
While I am disappointed that Tasty-Candles was not a successful venture, I’ve decided to occasionally blog about giving away the candles that I now have in stock. As an avid news junkie, I thought it might be fun to send these candles as thank you gifts to people who have been profiled in the news as having made a positive difference to their respective communities.
Although I thought about doing this BEFORE I closed Tasty-Candles as a business, my cynical nature thought that mailing out candles to people was nothing more than a cheap marketing gimmick. Doubts about my motivation for sending out these candles kept me from ever following through with this idea. Now that Tasty-Candles is closed, this internal conflict is no longer relevant since there is nothing to market.
I do not regret the failure of Tasty-Candles. I had a lot of fun designing and creating these products and have drastically expanded my inventory of molds, wicks, wax, candle oil fragrances, liquid silicone mix, and dyes far beyond anything I would have had if I had remained a candle making hobbyist. Since a good part of what I spent to launch this business will be recovered via tax returns, the financial loss will not be excessively grievous.
Warren Buffet once observed that the most important investment one could ever make was in oneself. The candle making skills that I have developed may yet prove useful. If I wasn’t already engaged in writing a fantasy novel about an autistic protagonist, I would consider writing a book about how to make some of my more interesting food themed candles.
A book about the art of crafting novelty candles could become a future project. We shall see.
In the meanwhile, I would like to thank the handful of people who have unaccountably chosen to follow this blog. If my blog posts were sufficiently entertaining, you are more than welcome to join me at lifewithautismorg.wordpress.com.
Wishing you all the best,