This was all an accident. In December 2015, Mose, Mary, and Me creator Stephanie Kauffman was broke. Not only was she broke, but she just lost her job too. Christmas was approaching and she needed Christmas gifts ASAP. Stephanie had a penchant for photoshop and she began researching DIY ideas for these presents. On a YouTube video, she found someone changing labels on candles. this video sparked her idea for creating a prayer candle but with the head of a pop culture icon. That fateful December, Stephanie created Mr. Rogers, Tina Fey, and Beyonce prayer candles.
After others saw these amazing gifts she created, she was asked to make even more of them. Let’s not forget – Stephanie is destitute and unemployed at this moment. To be able to create her first order she had to sell her plasma. Someone made a Facebook post about her candles, which sparked more requests and orders, so Stephanie created an online shop.
Stephanie vividly remembers finally having the $13 she needed, to afford her first paper cutter. Stephanie’s roommate Megan loaned her $200, so she wouldn’t have to keep donating plasma, and a few weeks later, Stephanie started selling to her first store, The Silver Room. Stephanie would lug candles on public transportation, for over an hour to get them to the store. Then, slowly over time, more stores, and more candle designs, additional opportunities arose.
Although Stephanie has hit some road bumps and setbacks along the way, slowly she was able to pay off debt and even save money, enabling her to rent a canon laser printer, which has been a lifesaver. Now, 3 years later, she lives in New Orleans and has her own home office.
Currently, Stephanie has over 400 candle designs, and she sells to over 25 stores. Because of the growth and success, Stephanie has hired additional help, with which she loads of fun doing this fun little thing, upon which she stumbled by accident.
Interestingly, the job she lost in December 2015 required her to wake up at 5:30 am every morning, and she was always late, hence why she lost the job. Now Stephanie wakes up at 5:30 am on her own, just to keep up with orders. It’s funny how life happens, but to Stephanie, life is a comedy. That’s why when you look at the candles; she hopes you feel a little light, laughter, and levity in your heart.
1. What products and services do you offer?
I make pop culture prayer candles! I now have over 400 designs too. If you want a custom one with a friend, family member, or even a pet’s photo – I can create that too!
2. How long have you been in business?
A little over 3 years now.
3. How do people find you online?
4. What is lesser known about your business that you wish more people knew?
I wish more people knew how I got started. Soon after I began making the candles, I had a mental breakdown. I even had to move back home for a while. Because of this, I am now a mental health advocate. I have worked with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and wish I could tie more things in with them.
This is a part of my journey and where I have been. I still struggle with mental health stuff. You can thrive in your professional career and still have challenges. These things can just be challenges that one can overcome and don’t have to just be setbacks.
I am a resilient person and I love living in New Orleans because it’s resilient too.
5. Lagniappe Info.
To buy my candles locally, you can go to many different places, including Glitter Box, Fleurty Girl, Bywater Clothing, Feet First, NOLA T-shirt of the Month Club, and Independence Street NOLA.
I have currently made somewhere around 30-40 thousand candles.
I now create nicho boxes that have “saints” on them too!
I am most well known for my Drew Brees candle which was a hot seller this past year at Christmas.
I can definitely make custom orders.
For your custom orders, email Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org