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Meet Diana Gonzales of Lavender Apothecary in Baldwin Park

Today, we’d like to introduce you to Diana.

Diana, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I worked for a corporate company for 23 years. It was a great company that provided an awesome salary, bonuses, phenomenal benefits and lots of perks. However, to whom much is given much is expected… I found myself suffering in both my physical and mental health due to a large amount of stress in my life. I could no longer get out of bed the last several months I worked there. My awesome husband of 36 years at the time said he needed his wife back and spoke with me about resigning and staying home. I was very fearful to leave all of the perks, salary, etc. behind but I managed to find the courage to do so. I slept for the next couple of months and slowly began to get healthy again and got off all of the anxiety, depression, sleep and migraine medicine that I was on. At the time, my youngest daughter was expecting and I decided to help her watch our grand baby. I knew I needed to find a way to supplement my lost salary and began to plan how I could start my own home business.

I took a candle making workshop with my son and I knew I could make a business of my own by making candles. I researched and learned lots of great stuff online and within a couple of months, I started Lavender Apothecary just in time for the holidays. I opened my Etsy shop in November of 2015 and to my surprise, I sold lots of candles! In 2016, I began applying for lots of markets and boutiques and I was turned down from the “bigger” markets but I was accepted to a few smaller ones and was fortunate enough that a couple more well known markets allowed me in. That same year, I began to take perfuming classes and learned lots about fragrance blending.

This newly acquired knowledge allowed me to experiment with creating unique fragrances for my candles. I began slowly gaining a following on Instagram and Facebook (this technology was very new to this old lady)! I also started getting invited to more markets (some of which I had been turned down from before). I was persistent and hustling to get to lots of different folks in different counties. During this time I also began having our candles in a few shops as well. I also expanded our product line to include hand crafted perfumes, candle accessories and hand-sewn heating pads that have rice and organic lavender. We have been also giving numerous candle making workshops throughout Southern California.

Our business has grown and we have many repeat customers. Our market schedule is always full and we love seeing our repeat customers and meeting new ones as well. I have been able to create unique fragrances that our customers appreciate and I am always committed to make an outstanding product. I still hand pour each candle myself in our studio and make small batches of 8-10 candles at a time to ensure premium quality. I have several fragrances that are very popular, however, one stands out in our line. That specific fragrance is called “Cafecito”, which is Spanish for a cup of coffee (it has an affectionate connotation). I created Cafecito as a tribute to my sweet mama who passed away 11 years ago. She was from Mexico and moved to the US with my father who was a US citizen. He passed away when we were little girls and left my mom in a country that was unknown to her. She raised my two sisters and I and did whatever she could to provide for us.

I have fond memories of all of us being served breakfast in our small apartment in East Los Angeles and my mommy would serve us a coffee. I’m sure that it was much more milk than coffee but I felt like a big girl drinking coffee. She would brew the coffee in a percolator style coffee maker. I was intrigued watching her make it, she would add fresh cinnamon sticks and scrape something black into it. It was not until I was an adult that I realized that it was Vanilla. This woman was flavoring her coffee 50 plus years ahead of the best coffee houses! Cafecito was made for her to remember her, the memories she created for us, the security of her love and everything she embodied. Cafecito evokes a memory of my mom, I cannot burn it in my own home because my emotions take over as the pleasant aroma of her home-brewed coffee is too much for me to bear. I am honored though, that hundreds of folks have made it this such an amazing bestseller. I simply cannot keep this fragrance on the shelves! It has gained a cult following and I am honored to share a piece of my mama with others. I tell this story whenever I can at markets to honor her life.

Has it been a smooth road?
The first year was quite a learning curve about business aspects of accounting, taxes, etc. Also, getting into the marketplace was difficult. I have found that selling wholesale has been a challenge as well.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Lavender Apothecary – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I described earlier that I am skilled at blending my own fragrances because I am a perfumer as well. I am proud to bring to our line fragrances that are not offered by other candle makers. I feel that I provide an excellent product and I am proud of that but I also know that I am part of my product. I like to make contact directly with my customers so they get to meet myself and my husband and see the care and love that is put into our product. I also like to share my knowledge with them as well.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
My husband and I both grew up in Baldwin Park. This is home to us. We currently live in the home that my husband lived in as a child and helped build as a teen. Our children all went to the same high school that we both went to and had some of the same teachers! We are both Hispanic and this is primarily a Hispanic community, I love that I can help translate for someone who needs help or that I can shop from our favorite small businesses within our community. Living here is comfort to us.

Pricing:

  • Our items are priced from $10 to $25

Contact Info:

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