Small is big.

Small is big.

Numbers tell a story. We all love stories but statistics, not so much. All businesses start small. Armadilla Wax Works started small in old town Tempe in 1971. Maybe it’s that “Ah-Ha” moment of discovery about how to build that perfect candle design or create that perfect blend of fragrances. Maybe it’s a really big idea about how to dip 36" tapers or form candle shapes in the sand. Remember that phrase “Necessity is the mother of invention.”? It’s true!

To illustrate, let’s do the numbers just for a moment. There are 33,185,550 small businesses in the United States. That’s a big number! When you hear about small businesses, what does that mean? Those are businesses that employ 61.7 million Americans, which equals 46.4 % of private sector employees. Small businesses are 99.9% of all U.S. companies. Most of these businesses have fewer than 5 employees. There’s “Small” and then there’s “Micro”. Micro might be a single photographer who takes the little league team photos or a married couple working, in their shop, from dawn to dusk to keep the lights on.  


This is Kent pouring liquid wax into a mold and holding up a rather large, one of a kind, red candle. 



When it comes to small, it can’t get much smaller than the Internet screen on a smart phone that connects a small business to the whole world. Kind of blows your mind if you stop and think about it. So, just don’t think about it too much. Keeping up just isn’t good enough; now-a-days a business must be traveling with the speed of light. If you’re early = you’re on time; if you’re on time = you’re late and if you’re late, well, just forget it.

Hiding in plain sight. Hidden gems in a local community are often small businesses that are like the stitches in a quilt that hold it together. “Big” is not necessarily bad, but Big has farther to fall if it fails. Entrepreneurs and creative artsy craftsy folks will always find a way to recover. Have you discovered a hidden gem lately? It’s not just a good idea to shop local, shop small; it’s good for the local community and the country and the whole planet. Small is really big.

Do you recall the legendary Monty Python’s Flying Circus? Somehow back then, and even now, with odd characters and silly walks, there are a few lines that still ring true. “My brain hurts” is one that comes to mind. There’s a tendency to strive to be smarter than everybody else. But is the smart phone always smarter? Maybe, sometime. Not all of the time.  AI (artificial intelligence) will never replace the intuitive, creative, curious mind, and the compassionate heart of a human being. But our brain might need to rest and “re-boot” now and then.

No matter what the question, the answer is always going to be: Focus and simplify. Find a quiet place to pause the pace, stop the chatter and appreciate your surroundings. This is where you play your favorite music, dim the lights a bit, and make a few entries in your journal, let a friend know you’re thinking about them. How about lighting that little candle over in the corner? Your favorite fragrance is sure to add a soothing feeling. Candlelight can transform a simple meal to a special dinner, a transition from a crazy day to a quiet evening; an uncertain first date to a memorable, romantic occasion. Where would we be without candles on a birthday cake? Armadilla Wax Works’ founders are considering a path to retirement and making a transition to a new owner with a similar vision about making candles and the unique value of candlelight.

A big part of “small” is customer service. Local businesses seem to know how to relate to, and take the time to, remember their neighbors. Prescott, “Everybody’s home town” is a pretty unique title. Worth repeating and celebrating from “Micro” to “Small” and even to a few “Big”.