Name: Renee Wood
Business: The Comfort Company, Inc. , an e-commerce site for sympathy gifts
Location: Geneva, Illinois, U.S.
Reason for starting: I did not make an intentional decision to start The Comfort Company, a sympathy gift business. The business was born out of my frustration at trying to find a meaningful sympathy gift for a family member. It began with a single piece of memorial jewelry which was crafted from a piece of green play-doh and has grown into an offering of over 1,000 ways to remember a loved one.
I think entrepreneurship chose me! My decision to begin my own business wasn’t made through any kind of formal thought process or business plan. I just followed a passion to help people in the grief arena and it transitioned over a period of time to a full-time career.
How do you define success? Success for me is partially defined by profitability but mostly defined by continuing to evolve as a woman business owner, wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. Success is the constant pursuit of being the best version of myself possible. It is something to strive for but never actually achieve because there is always another mountain to climb. It is ever-changing.
Biggest success: I think I would say some of my biggest successes were being featured in the media….Oprah Winfrey show, Entrepreneur Magazine & Good Housekeeping Magazine. It felt good to know that my story was worth telling!
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? My top challenge is that I am risk and debt averse. This, I feel, has brought both success and growth challenges. I address this on an ongoing basis. I am currently looking for a mentor to help my mindset in the area. I’ve got confidence in my business that I didn’t have 10 years ago. Also, as my children have grown, I feel I’ve gained more control over my own life and therefore can afford to lose a little control over the business.
Who is your most important role model? My most important role model is my father who had an excellent work ethic and was willing to expose me to his business philosophy when I was growing up. He continues to be my biggest fan today!
Edited by The Story Exchange