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Life & Work with Chris Larcinese

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Larcinese.

Hi Chris, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I guess that you can say that my motivation for starting the business was restlessness. I have been in a sales and marketing professional for large and small companies throughout my adult life. Over time, the feeling of being on a hamster wheel just kind of wore on me. So I started looking for a release of my creative energies and ways to use my professional experiences for my own personal benefit.

My daughter and I hit on the idea of using rocks, crystals and fossils as the medium to create home and office decor items. After all, it seems that everyone in Colorado loves rocks. And many Coloradans have great collections, but few have integrated rocks into their daily lives; they mostly just sit on shelves or in bookcases. Our Rock Candles, jewelry boxes, cabinet knobs, air plant holders and more allow our customers to integrate rocks into their daily living. At home or in the office.

Today, we sell primarily at pop-up markets along the Front Range and via online marketplaces and our own ecommerce site. We are now trying to expand our business by offering our Rock Candles to retail store owners.

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?
There are so many struggles! It may be a cliche – “you don’t know what you don’t know”, but it is quite true! But it’s also part of the fun of working for yourself. A new struggle appears you figure out how to address it. In my corporate career, many of these struggles would result in meetings, task forces, hours of meetings and lengthy reports to write. As a small business, these challenges are mine, and mine alone to solve. Scary yes, rewarding absolutely!

As a challenge appears, we resolve and move on until the next one. However, there are a couple that lingers, with no short-term answer, Just lots of hard work.

One is the Colorado Sales Tax System – what a mess! I think I had heard that there are over 600 taxing districts in Colorado, and they many need to be paid individually! There is no consolidated system to make this happen. What a frustrating and expensive mess, definitely not small business friendly.

Another is simply making my business visible to the general public; finding ways to use social media, search engine optimization, advertising and so on just to let your prospective customers know that you exist. There’s a lot of opportunity out there, but also a lot of competition, how does one stand out!

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am really proud of the work we’ve put into making high-quality products. On the surface, some of the things we make look “easy” and in some regard, maybe they are. But what’s not seen are some of the small details that we address that our customers may not even be aware of, but will ultimately result in the product they purchase from us lasting for many, many years.

Take our Rock Candles for instance. Not only do we hand select high-quality rocks, crystals and fossils to use as the medium, we’ve done a lot of little things in making the Rock Candles to make ownership of a Rock Candle a delight.

>> All of the surfaces of the rock used are treated, We have learned that this helps in two ways – to prevent lamp oil from penetrating the stone and to allow for easy clean-up.

>> We only use glass reservoirs to hold the oil so that you can see how much is still in the reservoir.

>> Our everlasting fiberglass wicks are sealed on one end to prevent fraying. This allows easy re-insertion into the Candle.

>> Glass wick holder protects the Candle from the heat of the flame but also serves as a scent diffuser.

All little things, but in all, add up to create a Rock Candle that will be cherished by the buyer or giftee.

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
There’s a famous saying often attributed to Thomas Jefferson that says something about “the harder you work, the luckier you get”. I truly believe this sentiment. Yes, bad things still happen, but you simply can’t let if bring you down for long. It’s simply another challenge to deal with.

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