Lanterns Of Hope During Dark Times
It was early May, 2012 and life was going pretty well. I just finished my insane diet and lost 35 pounds! I felt great, was full of energy and excited for the upcoming summer. I happen to be a nearly lifelong actor and filmmaker and was in early pre-production on my next movie that I was super excited about. Then on one sunny spring morning, it all came to an shocking end.
My 23 year friendship with my best friend came to an erupt end when he revealed that he had betrayed me using nasty lies and deceit. Three years before this I got him a job working as my assistant in a warehouse where I worked for 8 years. He thanked me by setting wheels in motion to get me fired. Why? He was afraid of layoffs. I had much more to lose than he did. I had a mortgage to pay. He did not as his home was paid off and he had a standing job offer. I did not. His plan eventually worked and 5 months later I was fired for no reason. He won and I lost big. I knew I had to make some changes and that’s what lead me here.
I wanted to work from home and for myself. I never wanted to work for another again. I knew there had to be something. I recalled a small project I created a few years before this. I had converted a kerosene hurricane lantern into an electric table lamp for my home office. I loved it and I knew others would as well. I didn’t feel ebay was the best place to sell so I searched and that is when I discovered Etsy. I created my shop pretty quickly and began listing my new electric hurricane lanterns. In less than two weeks time they began selling.
It took long hours and long days but was well worth it. Although my life did fall apart after losing my job and my house fell into foreclosure I was happy to be working for myself. It’s what kept me going. For the next five years my life was horrible and I pretty much lost everything. I barely survived. To despite all that this lantern business grew and grew. It has become a success story in itself and people from all over the world are lighting their spaces with these really beautiful lanterns.
Along the way I I created other products featuring my art and photographs. I also joined Fiverr.com soon after joining Etsy. My most popular gig was playing Santa Clause and creating custom videos for customers. I am now in my sixth season.
With this new personal web store devoted exclusively to my products I am able to give customers a better experience and more clear choices then what they will find at Etsy.
A few years after starting this business a customer wrote me and told me about the difficulties they were having in life. They were happy that I had shared this story because they were inspired and it gave them hope. She purchased a lantern and told me this: “I hope this lantern lights my way, the way it lit yours.” I always think of that and for me these will always be more than just lanterns. They are a symbol of hope which help lit my way during the long dark days. I hope they can do the same for you. – Mike M Burke