*As told to Kally from someone who wishes to be anonymous
This is a few years back, so the details might be a little fuzzy. I was 19 years old then, and I had just started an online business on Facebook and Instagram. It started out by accident.
I’m quite a popular kid in school, so I have tons of friends, plus I was very active in my basketball and book clubs. I love making scented candles as a hobby, and as a teenager, I didn’t have many allowances to buy birthday presents for all the parties I’m invited to, so I make scented candles to be given as gifts.
The cost is low, but everyone who receives them is always surprised and delighted. I started to get customised requests from relatives and neighbours. I noticed that some people are terribly sensitive to a specific smell.
So my best friend (let’s call her Kristy), a childhood friend who used to live in the same neighbourhood as me, got wind of my scented candles from friends. She contacted me for a casual dinner and started enthusiastically sharing ideas on creating an online business together. She said that I had the perfect product, and she has the ideal brain behind marketing and operations.
I must admit I was blown away by her enthusiasm. You see, a couple of years ago, Kristy was forced to move away from our neighbourhood when her father lost his job and had to move to stay with relatives. From then onwards, she did not really keep in touch. The only effort made was through her likes on my Facebook page. Her calls were always curt and bitter. I wouldn’t call that as making much effort.
Nevertheless, I was excited about the idea of having her back in my life. We were extremely close, almost like sisters. I admit I was pretty naive to think we can pick our friendship off where we left.
So at first, everything was dandy. Kristy’s father contributed $1000 for supplies, and my family cleared out our garage to let us use it as storage and sort-of factory. She created the social media pages and our website. I focus on creating different types of scented candles.
The first problem we ran into was when Kristy accepted a massive order for Christmas without consulting me. My family had already made plans to go away to my grandma’s, and I specifically told her that we can sell whatever was already in the storage. However, she took in an order that not only was a custom request, one of the main ingredients was out of stock for months. She knew all of that, but she went ahead and accepted the deposit anyways.
Since my reputation is on the line, I stayed back to rush through the order while my family had to spend Christmas and New Year without me. I was unhappy, of course, but my parents taught me that we need to keep our promises in life. I can’t really tell if Kristy was upset or contrived. She seemed to be happy that she wasn’t alone during the holidays. In fact, she was early every morning with breakfast and did everything she could to help out in making the candles, including packaging and stock count. So I let it go…
Then a few months later, I had an important basketball competition. Kristy knew I had practices in the afternoons and on weekends. She would “accidentally” schedule in clients’ Zoom calls or taking in last-minute orders on Thursdays, so I’ll have to skip Thursday, Friday and weekend practices to stay in for work. When I confronted her, she got agitated and claimed I don’t care about the business.
The last straw was when she and I had a heated argument. She wanted to expedite the growth of the business and wanted to talk to distributors. It means that we need to come up with a lot more money than my family does not have. She wants to talk to investors. I wasn’t ready for that. We were making a good steady profit, so I don’t see the need to expand into supermarkets or shopping malls or have retail stores.
Kristy ended our partnership by taking my recipes and trying to make them herself. She begins to take in orders under a brand name she created under her own name. She took my samples, showed them to the distributors and got into legal trouble when she couldn’t replicate the same quality that my scented candles have. I only got to know that because some of the distributors approached me to fulfil the rest of her orders and paid me instead. Kristy got wind of that, started coming round my house and screamed at me. My dad had to physically haul her out of our house and threatened to call the police on her.
I have not seen Kristy since then. She has left some nasty messages on my Facebook and blocked me. Hopefully, that is the last I have heard from her. I do not need that kind of toxicity in my life. I’m still selling my scented candles but on a smaller scale. I want to balance my life with everything else, not just focus solely on my business.
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