In our second installment of“Sub Spouse Small Business” – meet Tenisha Dotstry, a sub spouse (and veteran) and owner of Fair Winds Candle Company. Read more below about how Tenisha’s unique background and experience in the Navy inspired her to launch her business – a great gift to keep in mind for the holidays!
Name: Tenisha Dotstry
Hometown: Newburg, MD
Current Duty Station: Bremerton, WA (USS Louisiana)
Q: Tell us about your business.
Fair Winds Candle Company provides high quality candles made of coconut wax and unique fragrances to celebrate all aspects of the military life, helping ease the transitions from one home to the next through smells that are familiar and comforting. My goal is to help you make ‘scents’ of Navy life.
Q: What made you choose this type of business?
Scent triggers memories, and what a better way to put a positive spin on my military experiences than through candles.
Q: What motivated you to start your business?
Through the years whenever I bring up that I’m a Navy Veteran in my business where I sell my art, it always takes people by surprise and they want to know more about it. Of course, I would share my experiences I had in the Navy with them but in the back of my mind I was trying to figure out a way to relay how the Navy has shaped my life over the past 19 years. I learned of a popular brand of candles based off people’s hometowns, and I thought “Why isn’t there a brand that’s military specific?”. That was when the idea of Fair Winds was born.
Q: How do you manage the work/life balance as a submarine spouse?
It’s hard for sure! It is nice to work for myself because it’s the ultimate in flexibility and allows me to be more accommodating to my husband’s schedules. But it’s still tough! Since becoming an entrepreneur I’ve moved four times. It is hard to gain a regular following in places because I’m never in a place long enough to do so. So, establishing an audience that follows me wherever I am has made my business transitions easier. My husband (when he is home) is happy to help me in any way he can. I truly feel like sub spouse life and my time in the military prepared me to be an entrepreneur, because I truly go with the flow and do the most with the time I have in any place we’ve been stationed.
Q: Any advice for fellow submarine spouses who want to start their own business?
The best advice I can give is that there is no one perfect time to start your own business as a sub spouse. You make the perfect time! All the businesses I’ve started have been at times where a normal person wouldn’t think to do so, and seriously I started Fair Winds now….during a pandemic, and we’re going to be PCS’ing in about 6 months! You’ve got to do it when you’re ready, not when the world is ready.
Q: Favorite thing(s) to do in your current duty station?
Before COVID, my favorite thing to do was to go to Seattle and explore all the different neighborhoods. My husband and I are city people, so it was fun to get out and see the sights and be in the energy of the city. Now that we can’t go out like that anymore, we go to places where there aren’t that many people. Luckily here in our area of Washington state, there are a ton of beautiful hiking trails and parks we can go to get away for a little bit and take in the natural beauty that’s everywhere around here.
Q: Where can we support and learn more about your business?