Like many retirees, Vicki Moody wanted to spend what she calls her “seasoned years” doing something that fused her professional experience with making a product which she’d be excited about devoting her precious autumn years. After Moody’s career with Drexel University as a budget coordinator, starting a business made sense. But when she thought about something that piqued her passions, it came down to one of our human senses — smell.
Moody had always felt strongly impacted by scents in her life and wanted to bring that passion of hers to others, going as far as announcing her plans even before she announced her retirement.
“I used to tell my coworkers,” Moody recounts, “that when I leave here I’m gonna make perfume or candles.”
Even though she had only a hobbyist’s interest in scented products, Moody used the skills in analytics she acquired as a budget coordinator to research and develop a process for making scintillating scents. With confidence in her product and business plan, Moody launched By Vicki in 2017 as a product line of face creams, lip balms, beard balms and, most importantly, candles.
Candles By Vicki has an expansive variety of candle scents including red currant and ocean rose, which Moody boasts as her signature scent. When asked why, she explains that everything in her business is about a rose, something she gained from a longtime love of tending to the roses in her front yard.
As Moody was beginning her research, she was shocked by how many chemicals went into producing scents. But using her research skills and dedication to natural products, she has ensured that Candles By Vicki contain no carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxins, organ toxins or acute toxins.
With an integrity-fueled vision and great product, Moody started selling candles through her website. But at some point she decided she needed to get into a store. She had heard about Weavers Way’s vendor diversity program from other product makers and decided to send a product basket to the program’s coordinator, Candy Bermea-Hasan.
As Bermea-Hasan later told Moody, when she opened the basket at her desk, the scent was enough to prompt other Weavers Way employees walking by to ask, “Where did those candles come from?”
That was enough positive feedback for Bermea-Hasan to call Moody and invite her to start selling candles at Weavers Way. And it was an added bonus that the candles used natural materials like soy wax, which fit right in with the Weavers Way clientele’s desire for natural products. And for Moody, it’s not just profits that come from the greater exposure of having her products in Weavers Way. She has also credited the experience with teaching her even more than what she could research on her own, from improving her product packaging to developing a better production rhythm so she can ensure that her supply keeps up with the demand.
Most “seasoned” citizens may consider their after-retirement enterprise as a way to make money while slowing down a bit, but not Moody. The success of the Candles By Vicki has led to expansions in her other product lines, such as lip balm and beard balm. Moody talks about the future with the energetic optimism of someone half her 70 years.
“I’m going to keep it going until the wheels fall off.”