Starting a New Life
From milking cows to selling fine furniture.
At 22 years of age I was full of life, and had quite an adventuresome spirit. Straight out of college, I chose to join the Amish Community of Rosebush, Michigan. Many life experiences led me to know I wanted to live simply, live for God, and live in a close community as the Amish do.
I worked nearly every job available to an Amish girl ñ meaning an unmarried female. These included working in a bakery, a furniture repair and refinishing shop, a bulk food store, as a house cleaner, a substitute teacher, child day care provider, and milking cows (my favorite) for room and board. After about three years of this type of work, my parents offered me a $30,000 loan to open my own business. My original hope was to sell products made by Amish women such as quilts, rugs, jams, candles etc. ñ items the women made while working by candlelight.
Within 6 weeks we were having our Grand Opening - punch glasses etched with our logo, home baked cookies and all. During those weeks of preparation, I was driven to an auction sale where I hoped to buy a loom. I told the driver about the new store, and he suggested I consider selling Amish furniture. Since I come from a family of furniture makers, and my parents always filled our home, the parsonage, with fine furniture, the idea intrigued me. The driver provided me with the name of a man he knew in Ohio who made furniture, and my father and I set off to Holmes County, Ohio - the largest Amish community in the World.
My father and I found the builderís house, and the man agreed to sell to me. I am not sure who was more surprised. He had never sold to an Amish girl before, and I was certainly surprised, and relieved, when he said ìYes.î That first Amish builder gave me another contact in his neighborhood and on to the next shop I went. In a miraculous way, through their connections I found all of my first contacts in one day! I then had a well rounded collection of workshops, including a bedroom furniture builder, a table builder, a chair builder, etc.
I now have hundreds of Amish families I do business with, and I thank God for the opportunity to work with such fine people. It is a blessing to deal with craftsman who not only care about their reputations as builders, but also as human beings.
There are a few articles that I am thankful for, as these admirable writers have chosen to publish about me in The Northern Express click here to read the article as well as the Traverse City Business News, The Traverse City Record Eagle along with various others. Thank You for allowing me to share my story with you, and I will continue to let you know of the growth and changes which take place in my life, as well as the life of By Candlelight Amish Furnishings.
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