[00:00:00] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host Scott DeLuzio and now let’s get on with the show.
[00:00:21] Scott DeLuzio: Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today, my guests are Ryan and Deb Bruin. Ryan is an army veteran and he, along with his wife, Deb run Cranky Veteran Candle Company, which we’ll be talking about a bit more in this episode. It’s really kind of a cool company and I’m excited to have them here.
[00:00:40] Scott DeLuzio: So welcome to the show, Ryan and Deb. I’m. I’m really glad to have. Thank you. Thanks for having us. Thanks for having us. Yeah, absolutely. So, Ryan, I guess let’s start with you. Let’s talk about you and your background and your time in the army. What was that like for you?
[00:00:52] Ryan Bruin: I joined the army at 17 mainly because I didn’t really have many options of. What to do [00:01:00] next? You know, I wasn’t an ideal student didn’t have a whole lot of plans. Didn’t really know what to do. And so my brother had started talking to a recruiter. I just, why not? So I went ahead and signed up spent seven and a half years as an Apache mechanic before I was med boarded.
[00:01:18] Ryan Bruin: I would not say I was necessarily the ideal soldier, honestly. You know, I worked hard. I showed up on time. I tried my best to have a good attitude, you know, but yeah I look back and I still, I do wish I could have done it a little bit better, honestly, you know, I’m not gonna sit here. Blow smoke up your ass and tell you I was some Supreme soldier was not.
[00:01:43] Ryan Bruin: But I did my job. I went to work, I got work done, you know, I didn’t try to cause problems for anybody. So I did the best. I honestly by the time they, you know, the med board came up, I was very much [00:02:00] over the lifestyle.
[00:02:03] Scott DeLuzio: I know the feeling when I was in the army. I felt that same way.
[00:02:08] Scott DeLuzio: Like towards the end I kind of just felt like, oh, okay. I think this is run its course let’s let’s move on. Right. You know, let’s just part ways and we will all be good. Right. that’s yeah. I didn’t
[00:02:19] Ryan Bruin: appreciate my time or, you know, meet some of the best people I’ve ever known in my life to this day.
[00:02:26] Ryan Bruin: Very best friends in this world I served with. But you know, it, it’s definitely wasn’t the fairytale, you know, service. Sure,
[00:02:35] Scott DeLuzio: sure. And Deb, how about you? What was what was it like for you being I’m assuming you were married during the time he was in the army.
[00:02:42] Scott DeLuzio: What was it like being. You know, a military spouse and everything for you. We were actually
[00:02:48] Deb Bruin: only married for what, two years? Yeah. After or before he got out of the military. And honestly, I was not very involved in the military part of our life because we had young [00:03:00] kids and I was at home with them and taking care of them.
[00:03:02] Deb Bruin: And honestly, I didn’t have time for the FRG and all the other stuff that goes into being a great military spouse. So I. While there were absolutely challenges. I don’t think that I had enough time to really worry about it. If that makes sense. Like we just lived our life and this was just his job and it was very separate from our home life.
[00:03:26] Scott DeLuzio: Right. Well, in a way that’s good too, because you said you didn’t have time to be, you know, that great military spouse, but I. Part of being a great military spouse is being there for your spouse in, in, in this case, your husband. Right. And, you know, getting involved in, you know, things like the FRG or the other things like that.
[00:03:45] Scott DeLuzio: I mean, that, that might be a nice to have. Some people might find some comfort in that, but I mean, let’s face it when you’re a mom with young kids at home, like you have your hands full. So, so I don’t think anyone blames [00:04:00] you for that. Right. . Yeah,
[00:04:02] Deb Bruin: I was, it was an adventure for sure. I’m glad
[00:04:06] Ryan Bruin: it’s
[00:04:06] Scott DeLuzio: over
[00:04:07] Scott DeLuzio: Sure. So, Ryan, what was the transition out of the army? Like for you? You, you said you got med boarded, and then you know, what was that transition like for you? Was it pretty quick and sudden, or did you kind of have a bit of a plan coming out of the military?
[00:04:20] Ryan Bruin: No. . Oh I had zero plan I left the same way.
[00:04:23] Ryan Bruin: I came in with no idea what I was doing with my life. And I mean, I regret that. I didn’t put a whole lot of thought to it. I just, by that point, I was just kind of ready to go. Sure.
[00:04:34] Deb Bruin: Well also they kind of changed up the timeline on us. Like we were making a plan and formulating a plan, and then I think your your ETS date or whatever was like the end of the year.
[00:04:45] Deb Bruin: And then they bumped it to January. Yeah. so we just like last a whole year of our planning
[00:04:51] Scott DeLuzio: timeline. That’s true. Oh, wow. Okay. Yeah. So that, I mean, that makes a big difference because that whole year you could have been, you know, spent preparing and, you [00:05:00] know, if you needed to take a course or something to learn what that next step is for you or whatever, you have a whole year to do that.
[00:05:08] Scott DeLuzio: But then, you know, lop off 11 out of the 12 months of the year. And that certainly accelerates that timeframe. Very much.
[00:05:17] Ryan Bruin: So I mean, we got out and moved back to I’m from Michigan originally. We moved back to Michigan for a year. I, and within that year, I very much realized why I never wanted to live in Michigan again going wrong.
[00:05:30] Ryan Bruin: I love my family. Some of them I can only deal with in small doses.
[00:05:38] Ryan Bruin: You know, but like I said, I got plan. So I ended up back home and kind of just tried to fall into the whole factory life for a little while, while I was trying to figure things out just to make some money that didn’t work out for me at all. I couldn’t, I didn’t manage to hold down a job for more than a few weeks at a time for quite a [00:06:00] long time.
[00:06:00] Ryan Bruin: That year was really rough. I think I made less than $10,000 taxable income that year. Oh, wow. Yeah. Yeah. It was rough.
[00:06:08] Scott DeLuzio: So, after that, when you look at that dollar amount that $10,000 or whatever the number happened to be You probably are saying to yourself, okay, something’s gotta give here.
[00:06:17] Scott DeLuzio: Right? Like what was that realization looking like for you?
[00:06:20] Deb Bruin: I mean, we left Michigan because I wanted to pursue midwifery. And so just packed up our family and left Michigan and moved to Texas, which is where I’m from and where we had lived previously. So we stayed in Michigan for a year. And then, well, I guess a little over a year. And then we just up and moved back to Texas for me to pursue my degree, which I didn’t
[00:06:40] Ryan Bruin: finish anyway.
[00:06:42] Ryan Bruin: but before, before we left, I did I. Going and getting my CDL to drive trucks. So when we got to Texas, that’s where I was looking to get into. I did end up finding a job with a little mom and pop trucking company. I was, you know what you’ve seen? I know you’ve seen them like [00:07:00] hallmark trailers.
[00:07:02] Ryan Bruin: Okay. I used from the manufacturers to the distributors. Okay. All over the Southern. I did that for almost two years until I got into a big wreck. I was coming through the north side of Oklahoma city coming from Kansas unloaded during, in October. And you know anything about the Texas Oklahoma area during that time of year, it’s kind of a rainy season.
[00:07:25] Ryan Bruin: It’s kinda the season where they get. Things get green again after that. And then they die. Everything dies off again and come March . But you know, it, it had been raining and I was coming up over to top of this hill, unloaded in north side of Oklahoma city cross, the top of this hill and car tried to cut me off, but.
[00:07:48] Ryan Bruin: If I had stayed where I was, he would’ve eaten the front the front corner of my bumper. He would’ve probably ended up underneath my truck. Oh, wow. So seeing that I swerved way to, to not, so [00:08:00] he wouldn’t die and I ended up jacking towards the center divider on this four lane interstate coming through inter Oklahoma city.
[00:08:11] Ryan Bruin: I mean, I was I’m actually at the time on the phone with her, I have my headset in I’m on the phone with her, a Jack knife towards the divider. I was able to bring it back just long enough to like let out a big, just a and then I spun completely the other direction. Oh, wow. And slid across the four lanes of highway.
[00:08:36] Ryan Bruin: Luckily I didn’t hit. And I hit a one of those big interstate light poles right behind my driver’s seat. And it fell and caved in my sleeper. So it caved in everything behind me in my truck. And so luckily it hit there. Cause if it had hit my driver’s door, it would’ve caved in my, the whole front side of my truck.
[00:08:57] Ryan Bruin: Right. And I probably wouldn’t right now. [00:09:00] After that he fired me. fuck. Then he fired me without even telling me I was fired. He gave me my check and said, he’ll, he’d get in touch with me come Tuesday or Wednesday or something and never heard from him again. So it wouldn’t answer my calls. So that’s how bad it I did try to pick up other driving jobs, but I was so messed up from that.
[00:09:23] Ryan Bruin: I mean, I couldn’t even bring myself to drive my own car for three or four months and especially, and then, and even longer after that, if it started raining at all and I had her in the car, she was gonna drive. Cause I couldn’t do it. I absolutely could not mentally bring myself to drive my own car. Gotten over that since then.
[00:09:46] Scott DeLuzio: So that’s good. That, that, that is a good thing.
[00:09:49] Ryan Bruin: You know, after that, I, you know, odds and ends jobs, you know, as a here or there doing different things. And then I decided to go get my go to school for HVAC. So I’m also a [00:10:00] commercial HVAC tech. I’m not a good one, but I am one, the reason I don’t do that for a living and it breaks my heart, not a good one because I see how much they get paid too.
[00:10:10] Ryan Bruin: but. You know, that was a good experience too. Didn’t end up well at the end, but that’s okay. At the end of the day, that lifestyle was also just not for me after the military. I don’t like it for people to tell me when I have to be somewhere when I, you know, especially randomly. So I, it was the on call stuff that really bothered me about H.
[00:10:33] Ryan Bruin: Besides the fact that I just wasn’t a good HVAC
[00:10:37] Scott DeLuzio: yeah. I know exactly what you’re talking about with that, because, so I had a job when I was in college. I was a security guard and you know, one of those, you know, you seem at the mall or, you know, whatever the kind of rent the cops, if you will.
[00:10:49] Scott DeLuzio: Right. That was my job. I didn’t really have any skills. So I was probably about as good as I can get at that point. And. I’d get calls at like two o’clock in the morning and just like [00:11:00] randomly, Hey, we need somebody to go work at, you know, wherever. And it’s like, no, man. I’m like I told you, like I’m in school.
[00:11:07] Scott DeLuzio: Like I have class in like six hours or something like that. No, I’m not going to work an eight hour shift now. Like I, that’s just not going to work. Like I and so, yeah, I know, kind of a little bit of that feeling of just being on call like that and just having to drop everything to go do that.
[00:11:22] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. I didn’t last very long at that job either.
[00:11:25] Ryan Bruin: yeah. Yeah. And then after that, I. And I did some other odds and end stuff a little bit. Well, we
[00:11:35] Deb Bruin: moved here right after we HVAC. Yeah. Okay.
[00:11:38] Ryan Bruin: But we ended up moving here to Tennessee. Yes. To Tennessee. And then I didn’t really know what the hell I was gonna do.
[00:11:46] Ryan Bruin: I had no idea, pretty lost as to what to do. We ended up, I ended up eventually going to school. To become an EMT. Didn’t finish that.
[00:11:58] Ryan Bruin: I didn’t finish that [00:12:00] mainly cuz I met our neighbors who became friends of ours and they were running a hemp. Here, just here in Dover, which is 20 minutes from us. And I don’t know, cannabis has always been something I’ve appreciated understood the benefits it can have for you.
[00:12:21] Ryan Bruin: You know? Obviously when I was a kid, I just, it just to smoke it, but. Know, so it was always something that I appreciated and I had a certain amount of passion for, and I got really interested in the fact that they worked at this hemp store and I was wife wonder they’re. I wonder if they’re hiring, you know, I mean, granted I’m in school at the time.
[00:12:48] Ryan Bruin: Wonder wondering if they’re hiring and she’s like, well, you can just ask. I was like, they’re probably not, you know, All those years I had a very negative mindset about anything that I could do or [00:13:00] would do or what I was capable of or my worth at all, as a human being. It wasn’t very positive. Even today.
[00:13:08] Ryan Bruin: It’s still not always the most positive, but I’m a whole lot better today than I used to be. So yeah, I, I asked them and I ended up going to work there, dropped outta school. And over working there that went up in smoke because the owner at the time was just out of his mind a little bit that went up smoke.
[00:13:27] Ryan Bruin: Then we ended up working the, at the time, what would be the largest hemp hemp growing operation in the state of Tennessee. So we worked that for a summer. I got fired from that. And then after the, after I got fired from that, I pretty much was just done. I was tired of it. I was tired of failing at everything.
[00:13:48] Ryan Bruin: That’s the way I felt. I felt like didn’t matter what I tried to do, nothing was going to work my skills. There were no skills. I had no faith in myself [00:14:00] at all. I still struggle. With that today. But I was, I didn’t know what to do again, and,
[00:14:11] Ryan Bruin: you know, I wasn’t sure what the hell I should do. And I was talking to my wife and I knew I didn’t wanna make other people money anymore. Got tired of making everybody else money, making a dime, just to be told I wasn’t worth the.
[00:14:32] Ryan Bruin: And so we’re hanging around and I’m at a loss as to what to do with my life. And my wife, for whatever reason, looked at me and said, you should try making candles, mind you. Prior to me ever touching a candle, making a first panel, I was not a candle person. It’s not like I had at the [00:15:00] time I had some, like, I just loved candles and had a bunch of them.
[00:15:03] Ryan Bruin: Right. I was, it was never really a thing for me at the time. And so when she said it, I laughed at her and her shoes out of her mind. And I was like, can you really imagine? What do I look like making candles? Like what? Okay, whatever, as we moved past that, but then it came up a few more times. I still don’t know why that’s what came into her mind.
[00:15:30] Ryan Bruin: Well, that’s what kept popping up in her head and she kept bringing it up, kept bringing up. I kept laughing at her about it until finally one day she brought it up and I said, okay, fine. Let’s I was like, let’s see if we even know, we can even figure out how to make a candle. And so we bought some stuff and.
[00:15:49] Ryan Bruin: You know, we did our research first and as to what we would want to make a candle outta given the ingredients and all this. And then we bought some stuff and we made our first candle. [00:16:00] It was bad. It was sure was good enough that we could improve on that and make it. And from the time we bought what, from the time we bought the small supply to, to make our first candle to the time where to, to the moment where we decided to spend like our last $200 on some starting candle supplies was how long?
[00:16:27] Ryan Bruin: I mean, I wanna say
[00:16:28] Deb Bruin: no, it was a little bit longer. I wanna say that we like. Really started considering and doing our research in August. And we had our business launched by December,
[00:16:42] Scott DeLuzio: you know, honestly, from going from the point where you never made a candle before to having a full fledged business where this is what you’re doing, that ain’t too bad.
[00:16:55] Scott DeLuzio: you know,
[00:16:56] Deb Bruin: but we didn’t have any other options. And I had my own [00:17:00] business prior, so I. The basics of putting a business together and knew that we could make that side of it happen. We just had to figure out the actual product. Sure. And so most of that time was just spent testing and figuring out what makes a good candle and what ingredients we wanted to avoid and stuff like that.
[00:17:21] Deb Bruin: So I feel like we did pretty good. Yeah.
[00:17:24] Ryan Bruin: I feel like we did pretty good
[00:17:25] Scott DeLuzio: too. Yeah. And so, so Deb, I wanna. Ask you, what was it like for you seeing your husband kind of struggling through, you know, different jobs and all that stuff after getting outta the army and going through this process not really gaining any traction as he’s going along what was that like for you?
[00:17:43] Deb Bruin: I mean, I think for anybody it’s rough just to watch anything that’s difficult. But also there was like the added. Pressure because it went from, you know, him being the breadwinner and me never, like I didn’t have a job the first couple years that we were married because I was just home with [00:18:00] the kids.
[00:18:00] Deb Bruin: And then I started pursuing doula work. I don’t remember when that, what year that was, it was near Dommy was born. So 2012. That was right before we left
[00:18:10] Ryan Bruin: Michigan. So you really started getting, looking into it. Yeah. Yeah. And Know when Marley was born is when
[00:18:17] Deb Bruin: you really started. Well, that’s when I got really active that I like had my first deal plant in Michigan.
[00:18:21] Deb Bruin: Yeah. True. But, you know, I went from him being the breadwinner to me being the breadwinner pretty much overnight. And I don’t know if you’re familiar with what doulas due, but like, It’s tough. It’s on call full time. Whenever a baby decides to be born is when you go to work, right. Labor is long. So it took a, it wasn’t like I was just gone for an eight hour shift.
[00:18:44] Deb Bruin: I was gone for, you know, 36 hours at a time. And he became a stayat home dad, which was also really tough for him. And it was, I mean, there was a lot that went into making that work and I don’t know that. Did it as well as we could have, we just kind of [00:19:00] did whatever we needed to do to we survive, make it.
[00:19:02] Deb Bruin: But yeah, I mean, I think for anyone it’s difficult to watch your spouse go through some heavy stuff that they aren’t prepared for. Nobody told him that transitioning out of the military sucks sometimes and it’s hard. So he also didn’t have the resources that he needed and resources that we didn’t even know existed.
[00:19:19] Scott DeLuzio: So, right. And there are so many resources that are available that you know, as I’m listening to your story and your Transition out of the military. I hear a lot of myself in that same conversation. I’ve had a lot of failures along the way. So I was national guard, so I, I had a civilian job as well.
[00:19:38] Scott DeLuzio: And after getting back from Afghanistan, my job that I went back to, I think I only lasted about a month at that job. I, I. Couldn’t get back into it. And then the next job I had, I think it was six months or so. And then then I started a business and it was okay, but it was not doing all that hot.
[00:19:58] Scott DeLuzio: And you know, so I experienced a lot of [00:20:00] those similar failures that, that you had, and it just like, I’m hearing your story and I’m hearing like, wow, this is. An uncommon story. Like people do struggle getting out of the military, not knowing what to do next. And so. To me, it’s a bit refreshing hearing somebody else having a similar experience because then I look at myself and it’s like, okay, well maybe it’s not all me.
[00:20:24] Scott DeLuzio: Maybe there’s something else going on here. Right. That there’s other things that need to be looked at. And I’m sure some of the listeners who are hearing this are like, yeah, you know, I’m hearing some of this in me too, in my story, you know?
[00:20:35] Ryan Bruin: Well, I mean, like for me, like I went from being a 17 year old.
[00:20:41] Ryan Bruin: Didn’t have a whole lot of responsibility already in his life. And I’ve always had a hard time holding down, working for other people. I’ve always had a problem with it. It’s always been very difficult for me. And not for lack of trying, you know, right. [00:21:00] I give everything I got, but eventually you become a little.
[00:21:09] Ryan Bruin: Desensitize to what you got going on. And the, you know, the shininess and newness of things wear off. And then my interest goes away. and then I have a much time given to you what I need what’s need. You know, I went from that to being in the military and at least having the structure and knowing where I needed to be, what I needed to.
[00:21:34] Ryan Bruin: What was going on that day, you know, besides any random changes by your first Sergeant or platoon Sergeant or whatever. Sure. You know, but there was the structure I understood what my day in general was gonna be, you know, and that was much easier for me to stick with and follow and understand, and then, so, so pretty much it’s like I didn’t have, I [00:22:00] didn’t have.
[00:22:02] Ryan Bruin: I was a kid got in the military as a child. Don’t care what you say, if you’re 17, if you’re 18, you’re a child. You don’t understand. You think you, do you think you’ve got it figured out. You think, you know it all, you don’t understand. You’re a kid and getting out, it just kind of put me back in this place of I’m this kid with no understanding of what to do
[00:22:29] Scott DeLuzio: with.
[00:22:31] Scott DeLuzio: Right. And you were BA basically a kid who had, would you say seven, some odd years of experience in the military, but that’s not, you know, outside the military experience, that’s not your You know, applying for jobs, getting a resume together, all that. That’s not that type of experience, which your peers, as you’re getting out of the military, they already had that experience probably for, you know, maybe a couple jobs that they’ve done.
[00:22:56] Scott DeLuzio: So they already have gone through that whole process. And now it’s like, [00:23:00] you’re playing catch-up at that point. Right.
[00:23:01] Ryan Bruin: I went back to Michigan where none of the people I grew up with understood that they didn’t understand what I just came out of.
[00:23:10] Ryan Bruin: You know, my brother understood, but you know, to, to whatever extent, but his military service wasn’t exactly exemplary, you know, he had a rough time and a go of it too. But nobody else around me understood. The things that that, you know what, my last seven and a half, eight years had been.
[00:23:31] Ryan Bruin: And so I felt very isolated and alone. You know, I’m from laning, Michigan. There’s not a military base anywhere near that place until you get to, you know, they’ve got some, they got I believe coast guard does work, does some stuff in the great lakes and things like that. But that’s not something you see in that state though.
[00:23:47] Ryan Bruin: It’s people don’t, it’s not a presence. That you have, that you see to where you understand it, or you have a bunch of military buddies or anything like that. You know, [00:24:00] whereas like around a military town, everybody gets it at least to whatever they understand. I just didn’t have it didn’t have any of that.
[00:24:12] Scott DeLuzio: So out of all the things that you could have suggested that why candles.
[00:24:17] Deb Bruin: Honestly, like I said, I mean, prior there’s oftentimes you find something really special when you find an niche and there are not very many military makers that make candles, there are a handful now, but I mean, we were one of the first and.
[00:24:40] Deb Bruin: There’s certainly not a bunch of candle makers who put an emphasis on safe products. You know, what’s safe to, to burn around your children, around your pets and for yourself, Ryan has asthma from burn pits and fragrance really irritates his lungs. So that was something that I really buckled down and did research on prior to suggesting [00:25:00] it.
[00:25:00] Deb Bruin: And. You know, the different ways that fragrance and like petroleum based chemicals can cause inflammation and just like respiratory issues. And I knew that didn’t exist on the market yet. And so I’ve mentioned candles and he thought I was crazy. And here we are,
[00:25:18] Scott DeLuzio: and here you are. And you’re still doing it, which is amazing because probably someone.
[00:25:23] Scott DeLuzio: All those years prior, you know, when you were just getting into the military, looking at an Apache mechanic, going into then becoming a a truck driver and all these other things that you were doing, I don’t think anyone could have drawn the path that got to a candle maker. Right? I
[00:25:41] Ryan Bruin: couldn’t have I’ve told him, you had talked to me four years ago and said, Hey you’re gonna be a candle maker.
[00:25:47] Ryan Bruin: I told you outta your damn.
[00:25:48] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, exactly. But again, here you are and you’re doing it and I’ve looked through your catalog of products. I love the names by the way of the products. They’re. They’re witty. They’re [00:26:00] funny. They’re you know, the blood of our enemies and things like that.
[00:26:03] Scott DeLuzio: Like, I just, I love those types of names because they not only tell you a little bit about the product, but they also put a little smile on your face when you read those. And of course, yeah. I pick blood of our enemies as the one that’s gonna put a smile on my face that tells you a little bit about me.
[00:26:15] Scott DeLuzio: So, but you know, like it, it’s that type of thing that Makes the company unique as opposed to, you know, all the other candle companies that just have, you know, blo random names that are just, you know, ocean breeze or whatever. That’s like, I don’t know that to me, that doesn’t put a smile on my face or anything, you know, target
[00:26:36] Ryan Bruin: do
[00:26:36] Deb Bruin: our target market is the mil military people, you know, people who either grew up with the military in their lives or people who were in the.
[00:26:46] Deb Bruin: Military spouses. Those are all people that we’re targeting. And it’s really fun to have all of these military spouses wanna buy gifts for their partner based on the name, because it’s something they’ve heard them say before, or the [00:27:00] joke about Marines and crayons, like. Yeah.
[00:27:03] Ryan Bruin: Like not all of the military spouses have appreciated some of our names.
[00:27:10] Scott DeLuzio: yeah, I can imagine there’s some, a little uptight that maybe don’t quite appreciate it but when you, like, if you’re a military spouse and you’re buying something, a gift for your spouse, And you give them something that they’re going to appreciate, you know, with these names and not only it’s not, you’re not just buying the names of it, but buying something that actually, it smells good.
[00:27:30] Scott DeLuzio: It warms up the room and you know, it is better for you than some of the other products that you’re talking about that are on the market. You’re buying something that they’re going to appreciate. Right. And so, yeah maybe some of the spouses don’t quite get. I understand that, but you know, it is what it is.
[00:27:46] Ryan Bruin: What brings that mind? It wasn’t that didn’t get she very much. Got it. always think one of the, one of the really only real bad reviews that we [00:28:00] had wasn’t even on the product didn’t product, it was about the name. And then. The little blurb, a little blurb that I created on our website for it, it’s no longer in our lineup because of the oils changed and whatnot, but it was the candle was called first love.
[00:28:17] Ryan Bruin: And then if you read my blurb, candle’s called first love, like a private and a stripper
[00:28:26] Ryan Bruin: He was. That was her story
[00:28:28] Deb Bruin: which we appre, like, we appreciate that. We understand that happens. And that’s why it’s a joke,
[00:28:33] Ryan Bruin: but a, there’s a right. Like there’s I said it that way because it happens .
[00:28:38] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Well, I mean, if there wasn’t a precedent, it wouldn’t be funny. So
[00:28:43] Ryan Bruin: I’m not trying to tell you that your, that the way your relationship started is crap.
[00:28:50] Ryan Bruin: I’m just saying it is a bit of a stereotype and I’m pointing it exactly. I find it funny.
[00:28:58] Scott DeLuzio: Well, and you I forgot the name of it, but you [00:29:00] got one that, that probably a Sergeant major’s wife would probably be pissed off at too. It’s like, you know, keeping me off the lawn or something like that, get off my lawn or I forget exactly what the name is now but like, it’s also a stereotype too.
[00:29:12] Scott DeLuzio: So like, if you don’t like it, well then maybe look at the mirror and you know, maybe make some changes here. Right? Yeah,
[00:29:19] Deb Bruin: But I mean also like our candles are funny, but it goes down funny, which I don’t think we realized right out the gate, like we were just trying to be funny. But we, where he is a retired Marine and he bought himself the blue crayon candle, because it’s funny.
[00:29:37] Deb Bruin: And it is now a tool that he uses to help himself get out of a PTSD. Like he just lights his candle and it helps. And I’m like, wow, that’s amazing. Like we did that. And that’s really cool.
[00:29:51] Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. Yeah. And that’s something else that I think is worth noting too, is that, you know, some of these fragrances could be, you know, that [00:30:00] calming feeling that someone is looking for.
[00:30:02] Scott DeLuzio: Right. And you know, for the people out there, who’s like, I, yeah, I’ve tried just about everything. Well, I don’t know, give a good candle, a try, you know, try a different scents and stuff and see how that helps you. Maybe it does calm you down. I know there’s a certain scents that do trigger different emotions in people and
[00:30:22] Deb Bruin: we call it the R and R line, but it is all focused on fragrances that just put you in a better mood.
[00:30:28] Deb Bruin: And like we got lavender and Sage and eucalyptus and min a bunch of other stuff in that line. Calm sense. All of those things. Are, you know, connected to aromatherapy and while not everybody believes in aromatherapy, I do believe in making your space the way you want it. And what feels most like home to you and fragrance?
[00:30:49] Deb Bruin: Does that fragrance, FRAs memories from childhood, like it does all of these things. It is the one sense that is most connected to our memories.
[00:30:59] Ryan Bruin: Yeah. [00:31:00] I mean, grandma’s house one of our candle’s grandma’s house. That’s based on my grandma. I base that on my grandmother. And then we have granny grandma, my grandma’s house always smelled like pies and it always the best time was when it smelled like apple pie.
[00:31:19] Scott DeLuzio: yeah. I know exactly. Yeah, that’s exactly true because just recently my wife and I started a garden in our backyard and. When I was a kid, my grandfather, he had a huge garden in his yard and it always smelled like these fresh vegetables and things like that. And as soon as some of the plants started growing, like my memory just like triggered back to when I was a kid playing in the yard out, you know, outside of his garden.
[00:31:44] Scott DeLuzio: And. I was like, holy crap. I haven’t thought about this in years, decades. And now here I am. I feel like I’m standing in the middle of his garden with all these scents coming back. Right. And so, you know, candles can bring back or not just candles, any sort of sense can bring back, [00:32:00] you know, different memories.
[00:32:01] Scott DeLuzio: Right.
[00:32:02] Deb Bruin: That’s why we made farmer’s market for our summer line. So. Pineapple stage and like fresh picked cucumber. And I wanted it to smell like a home garden. We garden, we have plants out in our backyard and our kids are very involved. And so that was just something that was special for me, that I was like, you know, we should put this in a candle and it performed really well
[00:32:24] Scott DeLuzio: and that’s great too.
[00:32:25] Scott DeLuzio: And I, I think all of this is. Just a good lesson. A good takeaway really is that yeah. You might have tried a bunch of different things. You might have tried the truck driving and gone to the EMT courses and all the, these other things. Right. But you didn’t quit, you know, you didn’t say, oh, well, let’s just throw in the hell.
[00:32:48] Scott DeLuzio: I obviously can’t do anything. You kept trying things until you found something that stuck. Right. And that’s just a great, I think a great message to send to people. I mean, it’s
[00:32:59] Ryan Bruin: hard though. [00:33:00] Like it’s a hard thing to do and people it’s easy to say, well, just don’t quit.
[00:33:05] Ryan Bruin: It’s easy to, for somebody to look at somebody else and say, oh, you’re having a hard time.
[00:33:11] Ryan Bruin: Well, just don’t give up. Just keep going. And that’s the right answer. Keep putting your feet in front of you keep going forward. But. You can get beat up long enough, hard enough. And without any, you know, you can feel, you can get to a point where you feel like, yeah, there’s no hope. There’s no point, you know, right.
[00:33:34] Ryan Bruin: Honest here. I don’t know that. I would’ve been able to pull myself outta that. Even though it’s hard, like, cause at the end of the day you still are the one ha who has to. Nobody can do it for you, you know? And I recognize that, you know, I think she, she gave me this, the ability to stick to it, then keep pushing forward. You know, I also have four kids. That’s a big factor, [00:34:00] but man, my brain can beat me the hell up.
[00:34:05] Scott DeLuzio: Sometimes your brain could be your own worst enemy. Right. And it’s it just beats you up
[00:34:12] Ryan Bruin: big. I’ve told anybody there’s nothing you can say to me that can make me feel worse than what I can say to me. Exactly.
[00:34:21] Scott DeLuzio: But it also goes to show the benefit of having something bigger than yourself to push for you.
[00:34:29] Scott DeLuzio: You have your family, your wife, your children and when those are the things that are motivating you very often. It’s like, well, I am not going to fail these people. I am not going to let them down. I’m going to do the hard things to make sure that there’s food on their table, a roof over their head, that they’re happy that they get the experiences and that the things that they need and that they deserve and all that kind of stuff.
[00:34:56] Scott DeLuzio: And you’re gonna be much more willing to push yourself [00:35:00] and just basically say, screw you to all those negative voices in your head. Right. And. Push forward and keep trying as hard as it might be, you’re gonna be much more willing to do that when you have something bigger than yourself that you’re pushing for.
[00:35:15] Scott DeLuzio: Absolutely. Yeah. So other veterans that might be out there listening to this episode might be in a similar situation that you found yourself in that I found myself in they might be feeling like, okay, there’s a little bit of hope for me now. Like, okay. Other people have been there and. I might be able to make my way through this, too.
[00:35:36] Scott DeLuzio: What advice do you have for them that, you know, should they start a candle business too? Or how can they find something that, that fits them? Something that they might be more passionate about?
[00:35:46] Ryan Bruin: I mean, if you have the ability to take something that you love, take something that you are knowledgeable about.
[00:35:55] Ryan Bruin: Take something that.
[00:35:59] Ryan Bruin: [00:36:00] Enjoy and create with that build, build for yourself with that. Do it, even if it’s a little crazy, oh, it’s a little bit of a plug cuz I’m, you know, gonna, I’m a little bit of a fan girl for him, but somebody that help has helped me a lot with perspective, whether he knows that or not, he doesn’t cause he’s fucking famous and I’m nobody.
[00:36:27] Ryan Bruin: Gary V Gary Vanerchuk. I don’t know if you ever list him a whole lot. Yep. Of his message. I love his perspective on how to look at life and you know how to look at yourself because man I can really pair myself up and make myself feel like the lowest piece of shit in the world. But I also know that’s not.
[00:36:51] Ryan Bruin: It’s hard, but sometimes it’s hard to stop yourself when you’re having those thoughts and stop and go. That’s not real. You’re lying.
[00:36:59] Scott DeLuzio: It that’s [00:37:00] exactly true. Yeah. And it, it will,
[00:37:04] Ryan Bruin: you know, if you promote that, if you nurture that shit, it’ll destroy. And I mean, yeah, it’s a, still a daily struggle for me. I mean, just these last few days have been some of my heavier negative days than in a long time. And you know, but even though I’ve had some rough days last few days, like I also am aware of the fact that I’m lying to myself when I do.
[00:37:32] Ryan Bruin: Right. Wipe myself down and treat myself like shit. Doesn’t fix everything, but I can at least stop and go. That’s not true. That’s bullshit. If I could tell anybody to do something for yourself, it’s just be nice to you. Be nice to you. Like say nice things, stare at yourself in the fucking mirror and just tell yourself some nice things.
[00:37:57] Ryan Bruin: Give yourself some compliments. It sounds cheesy. It [00:38:00] makes you feel stupid, but it’s. You’re in a bad mood, go grab somebody you love. I make her do this all the time. Go grab somebody you care about it doesn’t matter. Good buddy, your wife your kid, whoever, somebody who, when they smile makes you feel some kind of a good way.
[00:38:18] Ryan Bruin: Right. And regardless of how you’re feeling, put a smile on your face and stand there, like a dumb. And look at them with a giant cheese on your face, even if you feel horrible, because no matter how bad in my experience, no matter how bad I feel, if I just put that smile and stand there, like an idiot and stare at somebody else, smiling back at me.
[00:38:46] Ryan Bruin: I mean, if you have to do it in the mirror, do it in the mirror, but I always do it with like my wife, regardless of how I’m feeling. It makes you it’s really hard to be in a really bad mood when you’re actively smiling. [00:39:00] I don’t know what it is. I don’t know why, but it really is. And I mean, I’m not talking about like, I mean, when you do it, it’s yeah.
[00:39:10] Scott DeLuzio: Exaggerate the cheesy grin. Right?
[00:39:13] Ryan Bruin: Think you like an idiot. You feel real stupid. But you’re also feeling real stupid, but then you’re kinda like laughing at yourself in your own mind. Like, what am I doing? Oh my God. But you’re not, you’re no longer sitting there going, you’re a worthless sack of shit.
[00:39:30] Ryan Bruin: Right. It doesn’t.
[00:39:33] Scott DeLuzio: But you know, one of the things that I’ve done and I found helpful is. Telling cheesy jokes, like to, to my kids and stuff like those stupid dad jokes or whatever, and just telling those jokes, because sometimes they, they don’t quite get it right away. But then like a couple seconds later, like I’m sitting there smiling cuz I get it and then they get it.
[00:39:58] Scott DeLuzio: Like it just that little buffer [00:40:00] time or whatever that, and then they get it and they start laughing and then now we’re laughing together and it’s just, I don’t know. It’s just a fun time to. To have together. And you know, I’m the, when they get older, they’re probably gonna remember me for all my terrible jokes and stuff like that, but, you know, whatever it’s a fun thing to do.
[00:40:19] Scott DeLuzio: And you know, it just puts a little bit of a smile on your face and you’re right. It’s hard to be in a real bad mood. When you, you got a big cheesy grin on your face.
[00:40:28] Ryan Bruin: Yeah. Is it. Maybe, oh, no. I thought like it might completely turn your day around. Yeah. Cause it’s for me at times. But is it always just gonna fix your day?
[00:40:39] Ryan Bruin: No your problems are still there. You still have to deal with them. And that’s the biggest thing is you have to deal with them, but does it take the edge off? I mean, it’s always worked for me to at least take some of that. Another good one that I’ve started implementing lately, especially when I’m anxious.
[00:40:59] Ryan Bruin: So I don’t know. [00:41:00] I don’t know if you have like really bad anxiety. I tend to tend towards really bad anxiety when I’m really anxious. And I’m almost like on the verge of like panic attack. It might, it’s all the tension in my face. It just it’s horrible. And here lately it’s been very significant in helping.
[00:41:21] Ryan Bruin: Calm down, fill up, get a big bowl, something that’ll fit your face in it. Put plenty of ice in it. Fill it up with ice water and then hold your breath and put your face in there. As long as you can keep it there. When you pull your face out, I mean, hold your breath and just try to do it until you absolutely need breathe.
[00:41:46] Ryan Bruin: And when you pull your face out, you will feel. May not be perfect, but you will feel better. It’s been a, it’s been a big thing for me lately. I’ve been doing that one a lot. It’s a great nervous. [00:42:00]
[00:42:00] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Yeah. I, that’s one I’ve never heard of before, but I, you know, I think it’s worth a shot, right?
[00:42:06] Scott DeLuzio: If it’s got some history here, it’s worked with you, right. It, then why not give it a try?
[00:42:12] Ryan Bruin: It’s, you know, there’s cryotherapy out there now, you know, there’s ice baths. You can do, like, if you don’t feel like jumping into a giant tub of ice water, you know, I’ve only got, I’ve only got a minute before I get out the door, but I’m like vibrating on edge.
[00:42:27] Ryan Bruin: Okay. Let me fill up this water bowl with some ice. Stick my face in it for, you know, 15, 20, 30 seconds, 40 seconds. If I can get a minute, hold it for a. Sometimes I pull it out and I’m like, Nope, gotta go back in and I’ll go back in the second. Time’s gonna be shorter, cuz your face is already cold.
[00:42:43] Ryan Bruin: So it gets that much colder when you get back in there. But that first time just stay there as long as you can. I promise you by the time you pull your face out, if you really commit to it and just keep your face in there, when you pull your face out, you will
[00:42:58] Scott DeLuzio: feel [00:43:00] better. That’s great. I think that’s a great tip, great piece of advice for the listeners and you know, anyone who’s struggling with any kind of anxiety that might be worth a shot, give it a try.
[00:43:12] Scott DeLuzio: You know, unless your anxiety is over ice, water and coldness and things like that. And you might wanna skip that one,
[00:43:21] Scott DeLuzio: but Ryan Deb, it’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you today, hearing about your stories and your background and how you got to where you are today. But I wanna give you some time to tell the listeners where they can go to find cranky veteran candles and what they can do to help support your business, right?
[00:43:37] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. You
[00:43:37] Deb Bruin: can find us on Facebook and Instagram. It’s just, you know, the web. Slash cranky veteran candles. And then you can also find our website at crankyveteran.com.
[00:43:48] Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. And I will have links to all of that in the show notes. So anyone looking to find some awesome candles from a veteran owned company family owned business, go check out their website and [00:44:00] definitely order some candles you know, got the Christmas season coming up and everything like that, you know, definitely
[00:44:05] Ryan Bruin: And our fall lineup is a killer every year.
[00:44:08] Ryan Bruin: It’s awesome. So excellent. One of our, if not our best lineup is our fall lineup.
[00:44:15] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I could think of all the fall sense that. That you traditionally think about like, you’re talking earlier about apple pie and all that kind of stuff and you know, all those warm sense, like yeah go check out the candles and you know, stock up, get one for everyone on your shopping list and everything.
[00:44:31] Scott DeLuzio: And you know, make them make ’em work this year. Make ’em make some candles.
[00:44:37] Ryan Bruin: We do ship APO.
[00:44:40] Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. Excellent. Yeah. So, so. Ship ’em all over the place. That’s great. So again, thank you, Ryan and Deb for coming on the show and sharing your stories really do appreciate your time. Thank you.
[00:44:52] Deb Bruin: Thanks for having us.
[00:44:53] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. [00:45:00] All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.