Deborah Hardy and Philip Zack purchased Sweet Spirit Candles in April, 2004. As longtime customers, they appreciated the company's commitment to quality and service — but when they took over the business, they immediately saw the need to improve the day–to–day workflow both in sales and production. "When we purchased the business there was no technical infrastructure to speak of," comments Philip. "The previous owners relied on paper orders, didn't track which candle titles were sold, and managed production with a set of awkward checklists. To me, it was a challenge worthy of my skills as a software and database developer, user interface designer, and technical writer."
The challenge Philip took on was complex: he wanted to create a database system capable of taking orders, tracking sales, and managing production of over 700 distinct candle recipes, with each of those varieties available in 23 different sizes. "That couldn't be accomplished in a method that restricts you to selecting from a list or entering a known SKU," he notes. "Therefore, I chose to create a system from scratch, using FileMaker Pro."