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Ira DeWitt of Saint Candles: It’s always important to look at the big picture and set big picture goals

On an individual level I feel like it’s always important to look at the big picture and set big picture goals. To have smaller goals to look at helps facilitate the larger goal. Make a list of what you may need to accomplish each goal large or small.

Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their lives. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50's.

How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?

In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.

As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ira DeWitt.

Ira DeWitt, a music executive with a PhD in education, has always chosen to do things her own way. When a friend was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, she wanted to give her something more purposeful than flowers or a card — something that evoked a sense of comfort and spirituality. Ira decided to create something herself, and this is how SAINT Candles — Modern Prayer Candles for a Cause — was born.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

This venture of Saint Candles was completely accidental. I was a former doctor and retired music exec. And my friend’s son was really sick. So I decided to give her a gift that was meaningful. I went to get a prayer candle and I was very unhappy with no options. They had no smell and were cheap looking. I decided that I wanted to create a prayer candle that had a Jo Malone vibe. Beautiful smell with a beautiful package. To give away one I had to make 500. I gave 499 away and I thought that would be the end of it. But soon people were asking if they could buy my candles which led me to a partnership with St. Jude.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

That I never expected this to be a real business. A sales rep. got a candle and asked if I was interested in being represented by him at gift shows. I agreed, I had no experience in the candle world and thought we would sell and donate a few. Our first weekend at the trade show we had $47,000 worth of orders. And my assistant and I packaged candles out of my living room. Soon there was no room in my living room to hang out. I am so grateful for the connection of that sales rep Dennis for helping me launch this company.

In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

I feel like what is holding women back from founding companies is feeling overwhelmed. By the duties and obligation to their families and children. Being hard on ourselves combined with a lack of progress or real happiness. Whether it’s financial help or just time.

Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?

On an individual level I feel like it’s always important to look at the big picture and set big picture goals. To have smaller goals to look at helps facilitate the larger goal. Make a list of what you may need to accomplish each goal large or small.

Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

To overcome these obstacles on a basic level I think it’s important to just be supportive both psychologically and financially. Encouraging words or just purchasing from female owned businesses. Women should become founders of businesses because we are natural multitaskers. We are in tune with the needs of others and more understanding with our employees’ needs.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?

Myths about being a founder of a successful company are visions of “Glamorous boss moments” In reality a lot of founders work just as hard as an employee if not harder.

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

I feel like a founder is a risk taker but not in a gambling kind of way. In an educated risk taking kind of way. Before I embark I always ask myself what is different about what I have to offer on any kind of entrepreneur journey. And see what kind of a need I can satisfy that is not already existing.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

Yes a good portion of SAINT profits go to ST. Jude Children’s research center and $125,000 was donated in almost 2 years and $35,000 AGBU.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

My big movement would be to inspire people to treat others with kindness.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!



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Authority Magazine

Authority Magazine

Authority Magazine is devoted to sharing in-depth interviews, featuring people who are authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech