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Life & Work with Anna Ger

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anna Ger.

Hi Anna, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I’d say that the past truly informs the present, and with each of us, our beginnings start as a kid. I always felt like I was in my own little world. People found me to be “quiet” and “shy,” but I was just happily occupied in my thoughts and observations. Even though I didn’t come from a family that knew much about the business world, I had this deep entrepreneurial urge in me.

I’d make and sell jewelry out of my room (to basically just my mom and sister) and constantly peruse Kickstarter pages. In college, I sold plants and then eventually made a bigger leap of faith in starting my photography business. Those skills have taught me a lot and benefited me greatly to this day. The mindset of discovery and exploration hasn’t left me, and I continue to experiment with creative pursuits and businesses. Pine Tree & Myrtle came about very naturally out of a time of struggle. I’d been extremely sick for a couple of years which was a traumatic experience in itself and took on a transitional job to get acclimated to full-time work. To put it simply, that job sucked the life out of me, and I began having things like neck tension and stress rashes due to the fear and stress I felt at work.

During that time, I came across a verse from the book of Isaiah in the Bible that said, “Instead of the thornbrush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.” Those words hit upon exactly how I was feeling and encouraged me to continue to fight to believe there was something beyond my current situation. I wanted to create a community that also celebrated that symbolism – that from were dry and broken things once existed, new life will spring forth. The pine tree and myrtle are symbols of abundance and hope. Through this small business, I’ve been able to create a product that allows people to rest and reflect, connect with and support other local makers, and donate a portion of profits to environmental and anti-human trafficking organizations. It’s been exciting to see what has come out of it, and I’m grateful for the community we’ve created.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
If you take away the cemented lanes that we’re used to driving on, you’ll uncover the road for what it really is – full of bumps and loose gravel. I think obstacles and challenges are just a part of life, and starting a business is no different. The difference from a paid 9-5 though, is that instead of being the passenger with someone else driving the car, you’re trying to drive the car, sit in all the seats and also buckle up for life in the trunk. One of the most persistent challenges was in research and development of the product. Initially, I was planning to create a concierge of handmade products, but then I realized I was way in over my head just trying to make a candle, so I decided to narrow down. I think many people see handmade products and come away with the idea that it is so easy to make themselves.

Candle-making is definitely not one of those, as every variable from wick, scent, wax, vessel, and temperature can affect the performance of the final product. COVID threw in a plethora of new challenges right before I was planning to launch, to a point where I wanted to give up. The entire world was affected by supply chain disruptions, raw material shortages, and a new way of navigating life in general. I had to pivot many times and spend 3x more money than I was initially planning to spend, but surprisingly those pivots turned out to be what made my launch most successful. Challenges will always come, and there are days where I still feel defeated, but it’s been a great practice to write down all the good things that have happened and to just continually look at challenges as an opportunity to grow and learn.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I specialize in coconut wax candles, with either a wooden or cotton wick, hand-poured and made in small batches. Traditional candles are made of paraffin which is not the most sustainable and is also a petroleum byproduct. I also create artisanal gift sets that people have purchased to send to friends, bridesmaids, professors, pastors, coworkers, parents, and employers. I am also in the process of creating a space for other makers and artisan’s work to be offered in our online shop as well. In the year leading up to starting Pine Tree & Myrtle and since our launch late September, I’ve been integrally involved in each step of the process, from making the product, photographing, marketing, packaging and connecting with clients. Perhaps what I’m most proud of and grateful for is the way my work has connected me to others, especially during a time of social isolation. I’ve received some really encouraging messages from people who through my business, have had positive interactions through gifting to others or been able to utilize our product to calm down.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
The most important lesson I’ve learned along the journey is not to underestimate the power of something as seemingly trivial as a candle. I wrestled with that a lot through the process and questioned the value of what I was doing. I had to continually push through mental barriers. I’ve realized that each product or business is truly a tool to accomplish something greater, and for me, what I wanted out of starting this business, was to inspire and encourage people, which remarkably has happened.

Pricing:

  • $14 – 4 oz Candle
  • $20 – 8 oz Candle
  • $26 – 12 oz Candle
  • $29 – 12.5 oz Candle

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Anna Ger

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