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Our Story

It's been awhile since I told the tale of Island Sham Farmhouse and I thought it was time to put it further into words. Initially, I wrote "My Story" as the tagline, but immediately changed it. This isn't just my story, but all of yours as well. We are all one big Sham Fam and I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for your support.


It all started in March of 2020 and, for lack of a better way to put it, I was OVER the pandemic. I had done every craft project and home task on my to-do list, including color coordinating my daughter's Legos. I needed something to busy my hands before I lost it totally. Many of those close to me already know, but I have struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life. I'm one of those people that hide it well and even those closest to me didn't realize the inner turmoil I have battled. Enter: candle making.


I've always been obsessed with candles. They were constantly burning in our house and everywhere I went, I bought one. One day, while sorting the canned goods in my pantry by expiration date (I told you, I was getting stir-crazy), I thought, "I wonder if I can make a better candle." I order a DIY kit off of Amazon, busted out a homemade double boiler situation and went to town.


In the beginning, it was an almost epic fail. For some reason though, I stuck to it, determined that I wasn't going to quit. I had given up on every other hobby, dropped out of college multiple times, doubted myself countlessly and yet, this was going to be the thing I was determined to do. My inner voice knew more about me that I did. After doing weeks of research, I ordered better supplies and really went to town. The candles I made were good, really good. I did so well that I just kept making more and more. I had them practically coming out of my ears. It was time to do something with them.


In July of 2020, I posted about 3 dozen candles for sale on my personal Facebook page. I was convinced no one would buy them. You can get candles anywhere. What made mine any different? I about fainted when they sold out in 25 minutes. A seed had been planted. In August, I began selling my candles at a local farmers market. The people loved them, but something even crazier took hold of me. They weren't just buying my candles, but also a piece of me and my story. They wanted to know about me and my family, the motivations behind making candles and what my goals and aspirations were for the future. Those farmers market days were the beginning of something great.



With the help of my husband, we quickly built a website. I had the idea of offering subscription boxes and soon we had dozens of subscribers. I was constantly pinching myself, not believing this was real life. I was achieving my goal of providing clean burning, non-toxic candles to the public. However, something was missing. We were deep in the thick of the pandemic, with everyone shut in at home, with nothing to do. I wanted my candles to bring people together. One night, while fighting sleep, an idea popped up in my head.


I started hosting DIY candle making parties in our home in January of 2021. This allowed me to introduce people to the fun of candle making while encouraging them to slow down and enjoy those around them. While mixing fragrance oils, people could sip wine, eat snacks and share their life with their family and friends. During these parties, I found my true self coming to light, cracking jokes and putting on a type of show that literally left my face hurting from smiling and laughing. It was in these moments that I realized the true purpose of ISFH and perhaps my own true calling.



Over Labor Day weekend of 2021, my dream came full circle. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity arose to open a storefront for ISFH. I went from making candles in our 200 square foot former guest room to having an entire store to not only pour in, but also host our parties. I've not only introduced thousands of people to safe, non-toxic candles, but I've also facilitated many gatherings. From girls night out, to date night, to kids' birthday parties, company Christmas events and workshops at BGSU-Firelands, I have been able to share the joy that candle making has brought me. Island Sham Farmhouse isn't just a candle store, we are a candle experience. And every single one of you are a member of our Sham Fam. 2023 is going to be an amazing year. Thanks for riding alongside us.


Sending, as always, love & light,

Julia