Mose Mary and Me was started by Stephanie Renee Kauffman during a particularly hard Chicago winter. While Stephanie remains the sole consistant of the company many friends and family have stepped in to help in to help when need be since starting in January of 2016. Today, Mose Mary and Me has sold over 10,000 candles all over the US in stores in 6 states. Below is a Facebook post shared during Christmas of 2016 about the start of the business.
So no big deal, but a year ago around this week, I lost my job.
I tried for months to get another job in Chicago, but struggled to say the least. For Christmas I didn't know what to do for my friends so I looked up DIY ideas because I was super broke. What I ended up making were some fun saint candles for my friends and I didn't think anything about it.
Well, then my friend Sarah saw them and asked for some custom ones of her own. I was so broke that I had to donate plasma to get the money to buy the supplies. When I first went to the plasma donation spot, I didn't have all the right documents so they sent me away. I had used my last $2.25 to get on the bus to get there. It sucked, but I called my mom and she put some money on my ventra card so I could get home.
I went back the next day and donated plasma so that I would have enough money to make Sarah's candles. From there, things got a little crazy. Someone posted a picture of the candles on Facebook and then I got a few more custom requests. With the help of my roommate Megan, I started an Etsy shop and started making a few more candles.
I started selling to a store I used to work at, The Silver Room in Hyde Park, and would drag three boxes of heavy candles on the train with me to get there because lord knows I didn't have the money for an uber.
Over the course of the next few months, with the help of many people in Chicago and Columbus I started selling to a few more stores. I also had a mental breakdown during this time, but this is not one of those posts. This is about a surprise business that I didn't realize I had started.
Cut to this month, I had so many orders for Christmas that I had to start offering to pay people to pick up shifts at the restaurant I work at so that I could work on the Etsy orders.
Last week, I found out that one of the stores I sell to was disappointed that I couldn't make their order quick enough and cancelled their order. It was a wake up call. I had just accepted a promotion at my job and had been so nervous to invest fully in my business that I missed out a huge order. So I made a decision.
Earlier this week I put in my two weeks notice at the restaurant I work at so that in 2017 I could commit all my time to growing my business that happened solely by accident.
2016 wasn't a great year, but it was one that taught me many lessons. Had I not been so broke last Christmas that I had to make my own Christmas gifts, I would have had never started a business by accident. I went from having literally no money in my bank account a year ago to having enough to put a down payment on a house this year.
It's exciting to me that I'll be starting 2017 as a small business owner where I get to be creative and do my own thing.
Thank you to everyone who ordered from me, who supported me, who helped me turn this fun little idea into a full time job.
I appreciate you all.