Friday, November 20, 2009

Illuminations Part 1

I first came to Chicago in 2001. I was downtown on the hunt for a job and I had some free time so I decided to go into Water Tower Place to do a little shopping. I was looking for a gift for my mother. I came across a candle store called Illuminations. I went in and looked around and actually spent a good amount of time smelling candles. The store was like no other store I'd ever been in. There were candle lit literally everywhere. In sconces on the wall, on tables and shelves. The candles almost lit the entire store. And the smells were amazing. I am in love with their candles, but I'll get into that in another post.

As I was sniff-sniff-sniffing away one of the employees came over to talk to me. We chatted for quite a while then out of the blue she asked if I wanted to apply for a job. It was an awesome store, so I thought "why not?" I filled out an application and handed it to the sales associate. She told me to wait and that she was going to get the store manager.

The store manager came out and wanted to do an interview on the spot. We hit it off great and the interview lasted over an hour. If I can remember correctly, I started just a few days later. I remember liking candles a lot when I first started but it didn't take long for me to fall in love with them. Specifically the Illuminations brand. Their candles are like none other. The smells are unique and strong and fabulous...truly fabulous!

I didn't work there very long-maybe a few months-but I made some good friends and found a new addiction for Illuminations candles. Here are some photos of when I worked there. I have protected the identity of my co-workers. The people featured in the photos I am no longer in contact with and can't get permission to post their photo. So they've been replaced with smiley faces. :)

Nice apron David!

Look at all those candles 

The person in the picture directly above had a chronic case of hiccups. It sounded painful when she would hiccup. The customers always looked at her funny when she would do it. It was seriously LOUD. She was a lot of fun. We would always find ways of stirring up trouble. One time we accidentally set the front display window on fire (true story). No one was hurt don't worry! We put it out by ripping the display down and stomping on it. The fire department came because we set off some alarms. Yikes.

Hiccup girl posing amongst the pretty plastic flowers

I have many great memories working at Illuminations. It was my absolute favorite job I've ever had even though I didn't make a lot of money. Looking back the memories make up for that. And I'll always have them. Unfortunately the company went out of business this past April due to the economy. It was a sad day for me. I've been a loyal customer since the day I left that job. Their candles make me happy.

I often wonder where hiccup girl is. I miss her.


  1. Sometimes I think that a job isn't about how much money you make, but how much you liked doing what you did. There is a beer commercial (Samuel Adams) that says that if you love what you do every day, then you never work a day in your life (or something to that effect). There is some truth to that!

  2. Emily you're so right! It's unfortunate that sometimes doing what you love doesn't always pay the bills.

    I wonder if Sam Adams pays well...?