I sit and type this post on the eve of Black Friday .. in fact, just one hour from when the Big hand meets the stroke of midnight. Crowds, swelling in front of automatic glass doors, sensors scanning warm bodies just outside the entry .. but locked .. tick tock tick tock ..
One year it was an animal filled with beans (or were those tumbled plastic chips .. byproducts of China's injection molds??) Another year, talking-tickle-toys worth an elbow in the face for ... and now, a video game? A NEW phone !!!!
SoOoOoOoo much better than the last !!
Black Friday - what does that even mean? I asked myself this a while back .. Black? Haven't we demonized that color?? And weren't they trying to excite us? Not this time, it seems, we're brought right back into the corporate offices, and we talk their talk, calculated and cold. Do we care to know the history and etymology .. of any-thing we buy into? Black mold, Black lung, Black magic ... I think Princess-Pink Friday would've been a better fit - PINK, yes !! Or Snow White Friday ?? .. Bacon-wrapped Friday ???
We'll .. it's a business term. Black. Out of the Red, they'll say, and into the Black. When you're in the red, as a company, you haven't yet made your nut for the season. But once you're in the Black, that's party time. Profit time. You've bought (lives) Low and sold (stuff) High .. or.. slightly high(er) .. millions and millions of times, and into the BLACK !!
Yes, while the rest of the country sinks deeper into plastic debt as we ride the hype-wave, buying gifts we can't afford for guilty people who do the same, until we crash into the rocks .. while texting on our new smartphone.
But that's not (really) what we're here to talk about ..
Let's talk about the China-Made ripoff candles that Target (hip, smiling, white-teeth Target) has on their shelves .. an original concept compliments of the husband/ wife team who started a craft on the wheels of their freedom wagon - a renovated 1975 Winnebago.
Here's our story, and the magical birth of our antique bottle-shaped beeswax candles ; )
(short bio video below)
Pollen Arts was brought to you by two lovers who wanted to create and offer beauty and originality to this world, but like many others, had little time and less money to explore their curiosities ... so, we did what many people through history have done: shed the weights and chains - left things in the alley, sold stuff, boxed things, and distilled life to just the essential oils (bed, shower ((aka. a heated tea kettle)) ice chest, book shelf & music.) .. and it all fit snugly inside our automotive ark, "Miss Winnie".
With this new freedom of time & far away from our insane LA rents (we quietly lived on city streets), we kicked the tires of our creative selves .. rusty & misfiring as they might have been from years of neglect. I hand wrote volumes in legal pads & juwels setup a sewing studio on an old chest beside the driver's seat and spread out across the dashboard. We sold copies of our twisted thriller on the Venice Beach boardwalk, and pieced together amazing miniature panoramas made from neighborhood-harvested pressed flowers (this project is still locked away.)
We didn't plan on making candles ... neither of us had any idea about this craft which has grown to bee a shared passion and way of life. But the inspiration came to us, as fate would have it, through mere chance .. because we were ready and waiting, and, as it turns out, wading ... in a tidepool .. off the coast of southern california ; )
While exploring a local beach, plucking sea glass from the sand and harvesting purple seaweed (we'd incorporated dried and pressed sea life to the panoramas) .. juwels found a bottle. An antique bottle half buried in sand, and the rest is history.
We were the first to mold candles in the shapes of antique bottles, and people loVed it !! We cooked delicious pots of beeswax on the tiny stove in our rolling home, got a little press (etsy featured selled interview) .. and before long, we were sailing our wobbly land yacht across the scorching Arizona desert to a beautiful little mountain town where we're setup our very own candle studio ; )
Now you know where we found this idea - our gift from the mermaids - and how we willed ourselves into The (our) American Dream ... and now let's talk about how Target found it. Well ... it's the same as above, that is, without all the work, sacrifice and faith ... without the serendipity, inspiration, loVe and excitement. They just saw it, wanted it, and took it away ... far, far away .. to Hong Kong in fact : (
One.) If you're going to rip us off ... why not employ some of our brothers and sisters right here in the States to do the pouring? Do we not send enough jobs and money overseas?? ((Let's play a game .. go into Target and flip over 100 items and try to find 10 from America .. but choose wisely because the odds are not in your favor !!)
Two. ) Use Beeswax. Real Beeswax. Clean burning, honey-luscious Beeswax. Please don't dye chemical paraffin wax sickly yellow and scent "HONEY" just to look even more like our product and philosophy ... we don't want anyone tricked and tempted by our original shapes into taking home your little pillar of poison.. Just so you can sell cheap, and make your millions, pennies at a time, the world over ; (
Three. ) How many other independent artists have you knocked off and produced overseas? Do you have scouts surfing Etsy ... buying samples for your dirty "development" meetings? Are boxes sent to you hand stamped with LOVE ?? "Look, honey, we just sold something on etsy !!"
**Juwels - "Ah .. they can't even fit the stickers right !!" (But don't blame the factory workers, they probably have many other things on their minds .. like the 10,000 other pieces they have to make in the day so prices can stay LOW LOW, and so all else can seem expensive by that measure .. ; (
Buy Less & Buy Quality .. they supply what we demand.
The shame hangs on their heads .. no doubt, but the responsibility is ours, the consumers.. the Gods of this game they play. It's all for us - the smiling models, the the celebrities vying for eyes between commercial breaks filled with fast food, diet plans and happy pills. This is just one look behind the scenes of those shiny things that catch our eye ... you might not have thought there would be two sad people tucked away in the shadows, wondering .. 'can't they leave anything alone ?? Is nothing sacred?'
"Oh .. it happens all the time," people tell us, with no emotion at all.
This, too, is sad .. maybe the saddest of all. We understand the cancer of unchecked greed, how the human factor has died in big business .. but the apathy of, "oh yeah .. all the time .. " the acceptance of it. No fire. No bite. No protest ... how many other things are we willing to roll over for in this mess that we've helped create?
We try to keep it positive here at the Winnie Diaries, and in life in general, and we've avoided this post for that reason .. (it wasn't until I saw somebody post in a chat about Our candles, for the 3rd time, "Yeah - I saw these at Target!!" that we figured enough is enough. We've reached thousands with our grassroots interviews, and giveAways, but they've reached Millions .. it's their idea now unless we say something.) So this is our part .. a yip a sniffle and a squeal .. We're licking our paws now, and saying goodnight.
Please pass this along, and Please-Please-Please buy American Made/ Handmade if you can ; )
You have the Power ! ! !