Description

When William Porter finished high school in the early 50s, he dreamed of being a door-to-door salesman, like his father had been. He was gregarious, enjoyed meeting new people, telling a joke. But when he applied at the Fuller Brush company, they said he couldn't possibly be serious. To be a door-to-door salesman you needed to be physically agile and an easy conversationalist, and drive a car. As someone with cerebral palsy, he struggled with the first two and couldn't be licensed for the third.

The JR Watkins company—a popular health remedy and household-products manufacturer—also turned him down. But Porter's mother had taught him patience and persistence, and there was confidence in his bearing, his suit and fedora. So he told Watkins, Give me your worst territory, the place no one wants. You don't have to pay me unless I sell something. What do you have to lose? William set off on his first day, his mother knotting his tie and lacing his shoes. He walked and knocked all day, carrying a briefcase in his one good hand. And the next day, and the next, walking eight to ten miles daily. If eighty percent of success is showing up, Bill Porter showed up, even if his slurred speech and staggered gait surprised people when they opened the door. But a funny thing happens with familiarity. It has a way of winning over affection, and trust, and admiration, and...sales. His mother would drop him off at the beginning of the day and pick him up at the end, and help him drive around the deliveries.

After she died, he tucked away his grief and changed his routine. He'd ride the bus, stop at a hotel where a bellman helped with his tie and a shoeshiner with his laces. He hired an assistant for deliveries. And he went on to become JR Watkins' top salesperson in his region — encompassing all of Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and California. In 1995, he was noticed by a local reporter, and soon after, was profiled on "20/20," where he caught the attention of actor William H. Macy, who was inspired to write a screenplay about Porter’s life. In 2002, the television film "Door to Door" (starring Macy, Hellen Mirren, and Kyra Sedgewick) was nominated for 12 Emmy awards, and won six. Bill Porter kept selling—by phone, after he was hit by a car while making his rounds in 1997—until his death in 2013 at age 81. The headline of his New York Times obituary called him what the Fuller Brush folks refused to believe he could be: "An exceptional salesman."

"The Porter" is a popular gift to celebrate people accomplishing things they were told they couldn't do -- and those who help them.

These handmade 100% beeswax candles are made in the shape of vintage bottles, cast from one-of-a-kind molds using liquid silicone. Because I am also a journalist, I enjoy researching the bottles' histories, and tag each candle with its fascinating backstory. In addition to smelling richly, sweetly natural, beeswax candles burn cleaner than petroleum-based paraffin, and help neutralize toxins in the air.

Beeswax Candle "The Porter"

$23.00
In stock

Made In

Wellesley, MA

Usually ships in

7 days

Delivery Method
  • Shipping
This Maker Business is
  • Microbusiness

Description

When William Porter finished high school in the early 50s, he dreamed of being a door-to-door salesman, like his father had been. He was gregarious, enjoyed meeting new people, telling a joke. But when he applied at the Fuller Brush company, they said he couldn't possibly be serious. To be a door-to-door salesman you needed to be physically agile and an easy conversationalist, and drive a car. As someone with cerebral palsy, he struggled with the first two and couldn't be licensed for the third.

The JR Watkins company—a popular health remedy and household-products manufacturer—also turned him down. But Porter's mother had taught him patience and persistence, and there was confidence in his bearing, his suit and fedora. So he told Watkins, Give me your worst territory, the place no one wants. You don't have to pay me unless I sell something. What do you have to lose? William set off on his first day, his mother knotting his tie and lacing his shoes. He walked and knocked all day, carrying a briefcase in his one good hand. And the next day, and the next, walking eight to ten miles daily. If eighty percent of success is showing up, Bill Porter showed up, even if his slurred speech and staggered gait surprised people when they opened the door. But a funny thing happens with familiarity. It has a way of winning over affection, and trust, and admiration, and...sales. His mother would drop him off at the beginning of the day and pick him up at the end, and help him drive around the deliveries.

After she died, he tucked away his grief and changed his routine. He'd ride the bus, stop at a hotel where a bellman helped with his tie and a shoeshiner with his laces. He hired an assistant for deliveries. And he went on to become JR Watkins' top salesperson in his region — encompassing all of Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and California. In 1995, he was noticed by a local reporter, and soon after, was profiled on "20/20," where he caught the attention of actor William H. Macy, who was inspired to write a screenplay about Porter’s life. In 2002, the television film "Door to Door" (starring Macy, Hellen Mirren, and Kyra Sedgewick) was nominated for 12 Emmy awards, and won six. Bill Porter kept selling—by phone, after he was hit by a car while making his rounds in 1997—until his death in 2013 at age 81. The headline of his New York Times obituary called him what the Fuller Brush folks refused to believe he could be: "An exceptional salesman."

"The Porter" is a popular gift to celebrate people accomplishing things they were told they couldn't do -- and those who help them.

These handmade 100% beeswax candles are made in the shape of vintage bottles, cast from one-of-a-kind molds using liquid silicone. Because I am also a journalist, I enjoy researching the bottles' histories, and tag each candle with its fascinating backstory. In addition to smelling richly, sweetly natural, beeswax candles burn cleaner than petroleum-based paraffin, and help neutralize toxins in the air.

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