Responsible Consumers Write Reviews

When is the last time you hired a home contractor, visited a new physician, or hired a babysitter without doing some research or talking to someone you trust? Hopefully, never. How about the last time you purchased a product online without reading the reviews? Hopefully, rarely – unless the online store has an excellent return policy!

Still, so many of us will make purchases or hire people and not leave reviews. We tend to only head straight to writing reviews when we are absolutely dissatisfied, which floods the internet with a gross amount of negativity, and perhaps unwarranted bias. While negative reviews are important, especially if they are warranted, we need to start leaving positive reviews, as well. Consumers, we need to change this attitude of apathy into progress.

Reviews have several functions, but only one seems obvious –  it’s an opportunity to use passive-aggressive behavior to let the retailer/service provider know how we feel.  But, there are many other reasons why honest reviews are powerful: 1) They allow the next consumer to make a smarter purchase, 2) They help the retailer understand what is working and not working in their store, 3) If the retailer is responsible, they allow the retailer to offer impeccable customer service, 4) Strong reviews will offer information about the consumer, so the next consumer can decide if he/she is an appropriate fit for the product or service, 5) They offer opportunity for growth to service providers and retailers by extending the traditional word-of-mouth.

Here’s what got me thinking about reviews. I recently attended a friend’s wedding in New York City, and she is a very dear, old friend of mine, who I know put tons of money and effort into creating a beautiful wedding.  She was wildly successful – the music was great, the ceremony was beautiful and organized, the flowers were perfectly coordinated, the view was spectacular, but despite all of her evident efforts, her banquet hall showed a level of disrespect that was atrocious. They, quite literally, pulled the chair from beneath me as I was finishing the cake, and started folding it up. Took our stuff off of the table, and started clearing out. I was appalled. Not just because of how I, and the other guests, were being treated, but because I know, quite certainly, my friend was mortified on her wedding day.  I went home infuriated, and despite how exhausted I was, I flipped on my computer and proceeded to write this horrific review on Yelp and Trip Advisor. What I didn’t do, as I reflected the next day, was review how beautiful the flowers were and how awesome the DJ was. I thought back to my own wedding, and I was sure to review every aspect of it I could, whether it was amazing, or not, and I wondered why I didn’t, on a regular basis, do this for everything?

After much self-reflection, I decided to peruse through Candle Moments’ website, and I realized that I didn’t have any reviews on specific products. I started looking through our other review sites. We have two glowing reviews on Yelp, but they’re “not recommended”. We have a few happy Facebook comments, but again, just a few. I started to doubt myself, until I started reading reviews from my every-day retailers, and realized they didn’t have many either. Then you take a big-box retailer, such as eBay, who makes it a part of their culture to leave reviews. And it came to me – it’s a culture.

Our culture is built upon our freedom of speech, and you can essentially Google anything, and someone will have something to say about it, but people don’t leave reviews. Do we feel it’s a waste of time? If the products are good, then there’s no point in saying anything? Do we just use reviews as an opportunity for a soap-box?  I can’t say for certain why some people opt to leave reviews, and why some don’t, but I know I will certainly make a concerted effort to review everything from now on. The internet is powerful, we all know this, but without our voice, it’s just white noise.

Are you a reviewer? Share your experiences and opinions below!

Why Cruelty-Free is So Important

Candle Moments Cruelty Free and Vegan
Candle Moments Cruelty Free and Vegan

We rescued Rocky in 2005 from a kill-shelter when he was about 6 years old. Sadly, in 2013, after battling bouts of seizures, which rendered him unable to move, we made the difficult choice to end his suffering.  We took solace in knowing we salvaged 8 more years of an amazing dog’s life. But the truth is, Rocky saved our lives; we would never feel the same.

The photo of this blog is of me and our family’s current dog, Daisy. Daisy was a puppy-mill rescue; she was adopted by our extended family in May 2014 from the North Shore Animal League (NSAL) on Long Island (in New York). The NSAL is the largest no-kill shelter in the United States. Daisy was 6 weeks old when we adopted her, and deathly-ill with parvovirus. Parvo kills between 70-80% of puppies, and it has been mostly eliminated in the United States with vaccinations, but because Daisy was rescued from a puppy-mill, she wasn’t privy to any medical treatment prior to her arrival at NSAL. After only having her for two days, we noticed symptoms, brought her to our local vet who diagnosed her, and we rushed her back to the NSAL hospital. She spent days in the hospital, with multiple bone marrow transplants, attached to a respirator, but her white blood cells just wouldn’t reach the number necessary to fight the virus. Every single day, a veterinarian from NSAL would call and update us about her status. We finally received a call we wanted to hear – her numbers were going up. Little 3-pound Daisy was getting stronger every day. After three grueling weeks, our baby was ready to come home. When we saw the bill was $22,000, we almost keeled over. When the lead veterinarian came over to tell us that NSAL was footing the bill, we all started crying.   Daisy is now a 55-pound, happy-go-lucky terrier mix, who loves nothing more than chasing butterflies at the park, or dashing through waves at the beach.

While watching Daisy play, or having her lick our faces clean, it’s hard to remember that she had a 20% chance of survival. It’s even harder to fathom that if my brother didn’t walk into the shelter on the day he did, Rocky would have never stepped foot in grass again.

But we make sure we do remember.

We make sure we think about every living creature on this Earth because it all has a purpose, especially animals, and we are particularly fond of dogs. This is why Candle Moments’ philosophy even embodies the moments with our pets, because we believe pets are part of the family. We believe in a world where animals live. Simple as that. They live. They are not here to be tested on or abused for their resources.

That’s why Candle Moments is firmly against any and all animal testing, and animal by-products. We use plant-derived materials in all of our products, and we are currently accredited by PETA as cruelty-free and vegan as part of their Beauty-Without-Bunnies campaign. We even refuse to use beeswax because of the cruelty bees face when being forced to consistently manufacture a resource they create to survive. We test our products, of course – we want you to have the absolute best and we want you to rest assured that we will only provide you with such – but do you know who our test subjects are? Us. Yes, us. (And some of our friends and family members who willingly participate.) We burn our own candles the same way we hand-craft each one. We use our lotion candles on our own skin before we market it.

After doing some research on how to become validated by PETA, I started researching other popular companies, using this link, and I was shocked to learn how many actually DO test on animals. Products that I had been using for years were using animals as test subjects. Needless to say, my husband and I have started switching our product usage. We don’t claim to be vegans, or vegetarians even, but we will spend the extra money to ensure our eggs are cage-free, and our meat and dairy are free-range. We have switched to soy and cashew milk, and while our entire transition takes time, it’s a cause we support wholeheartedly.

The one switch we didn’t need to make? Our products. They are, and always will be, free of animal cruelty.

 

After a great deal of research on charities, we decided to donate a portion of all proceeds to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). We feel this charity best embodies our vision that all life has incalculable value.

Empowering Customers with Customization

New Baby Candle Moments Soy Vegan Homemade Staten Island
Customize your Candle!

As a child, whenever my family would go on vacation, I would always want a magnet as a token of our trip. Our refrigerator was full of fun magnets from the Jersey shore, from our trip to Disney, but mostly filled with our names with sandals or palm trees….except not mine. I would heedlessly look for KristEn (spelled with an “E”), but to no avail. There were tons of Christines, Christians, and even a few Kristins, but never my name. While I didn’t understand my disappointment as a lack of empowerment as a child, I completely get it as an adult.

My lack of name was a shot to my identity. I didn’t view it as being “unique;” I viewed it as though there was a giant club of magnet names that I was not invited into. As the popularity of my name grew, I can always find a magnet for my name now, but how many people feel like the retail world doesn’t personally speak to them? I laughably recounted this story to one of my closest friends, whose name is “Nadra,” and she scoffed because, of course, her name is quite unique and yet to be found on a tourist magnet. In Swahili, her name actually means “rare” and “unique,” and I think it’s quite beautiful and should be embraced.

This is one of the foundations of Candle Moments, we want our customers to create candles that speak directly to them. While we have our full line of candles, we always offer the ability to customize as a special order. Recently, we introduced the New Baby Candle, which allows customers to choose the perfect color; we were really excited to be able to offer that – unique – customization right on our online storefront.

If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, I like to describe the power of scent and how it’s connected to our memory – hence the name, Candle MOMENTS. Our moments ARE unique. They are our memories, what we love and cherish – why shouldn’t they be embraced and celebrated just as we remember them?

My husband and I love hearing your stories and trying to craft the perfect scent, or candle name, to embody the tales of our lives.  We feel that some retailers are not listening; they’re too busy trying to find the mold that fits everyone. But, we’re not everyone, we’re us, so to all of us who never found our names on a magnet, or are seeking to create our own beautiful world, three cheers to customization.