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Banking on KC – Mollie Beck of Continue Good

 

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Kelly Scanlon:

Welcome to Banking on KC. I'm your host, Kelly Scanlon. Thank you for joining us with us. On this episode is Mollie Beck, the founder of Continue Good, a candle company that is committed to spreading kindness and being a light in the darkness. Welcome, Mollie.

Mollie Beck:

Thank you for having me, Kelly.

Kelly Scanlon:

As I said, Continue Good is a candle company, but it's really so much more than that. Tell us about your mission at Continue Good.

Mollie Beck:

Our mission is to spread kindness with each candle. The backs of each of our candles have ideas to Continue Good or do a random act of kindness. And what makes Continue Good most unique is that we really have a heart for involving and including our customers, and we just know that so much more can be done together.

Kelly Scanlon:

Can you give me some examples of how you involve your customers?

Mollie Beck:

Each of our products have ideas to Continue Good on the back of the candles. So when they're home and lighting their candle, we hope that it will encourage and inspire them to do the act of kindness or think about loving others. And then we do all sorts of different outreaches in Kansas City, whether it be a digital way to spread kindness together or teaming up with different organizations, ministries, and charities in Kansas City. And then we also... This wasn't something we planned on doing or I planned on doing when starting the company, but a couple years into the business, I just was learning a lot more about the issue of human trafficking and we believe it's one of the darkest crimes. So we wanted to bring light into that and try to help at least a little bit, even if it's a baby step. So we donate 10% to fight human trafficking and try to raise awareness for the issue of sex and human trafficking.

Kelly Scanlon:

So which came first for you? Was it the mission? Were you looking for something to give back to the community? Or did you have an interest in having a candle company, and so you started the candle company and then later developed a larger mission around the candle company?

Mollie Beck:

Yeah, that's a great question, Kelly. I grew up in Prairie Village. My dad has a small business and I saw the flexibility and the freedom of that. It comes with challenges too, of course, but I grew up wanting to create something. But then in college, actually, I had a major heart change to where I came to understand what a relationship with Christ looks like. And that really shaped my heart and perspective to want to create something, not just for me, but to bring light and love into others' lives. So I actually started as a retail clothing business, so the candles came a little bit later. Yeah.

Kelly Scanlon:

What prompted the transition from the retail model to candle-making?

Mollie Beck:

I went to Colorado State University and did an apparel design degree there in business. And it was in a business course, I was thinking about the candles, but wanted to stick with what I knew with apparel design. But it was about two years in to Continue Good that my husband actually approached me. He presented me with this PowerPoint about pivoting to candles, to all handmade products, because I love creating, I love painting, more of an artist. So he presented me with this idea and it became full circle from the idea I had couple years back. We decided it would be okay to pivot and that the idea of the candle and being a light just clicked so much easier in people's minds.

Kelly Scanlon:

You hand-make these candles. You said that you hand-pour them. And you're doing that out of a candle barn in Louisburg, Kansas now?

Mollie Beck:

Yes, we started out of our house. We live in Louisburg and love the country. And then we had a detached garage that we were able to transform into the candle barn with the help of a great contractor. Yeah, so the candle barn has been pivotal and so key for running this business.

Kelly Scanlon:

Your candles, they just became so popular that now, with a move to the barn, you're able to hand-pour thousands of candles a week. Why do you think your candles are so popular? I know you sell them strictly online, so why are they so popular and how is word getting out about them?

Mollie Beck:

We were able to do a lot of in-person events when we first started with the candles at First Friday in Kansas City, and then the Louisburg Cider Mill, the big Cider Fest, so that really got us started there. We just think that the Be A Light wording on the candle and the way to Continue Good really clicks in people's minds and serves as a great reminder to hopefully bring peace and love into their homes. And so, we just think that has been a great product for our mission. And then we think that people also really enjoy the crackling WoodWick, and we use natural, safe scents and fragrances.

Kelly Scanlon:

So lots of reasons. It's a good quality product, it's promoting kindness and goodness. And then I imagine, too, there are a lot of people who like to support businesses that give back. And so, with the give back that you do, the percentage that you donate to combat sex trafficking and some of the other causes that you support, I imagine that is another reason why people enjoy buying your candles. They know that their dollars are going towards something important like that.

Mollie Beck:

We're thankful to just join together with our customers to make a difference. We just attribute so much of our success and Continue Good working because of our sweet and loyal customers and their hearts to want to make a difference.

Kelly Scanlon:

How many different kinds of candles do you offer?

Mollie Beck:

We actually come out with a new candle every single week, so a lot, but we do a thing called Mini Monday where every Monday we offer a sample size. So just like a one-and-a-half-ounce, cute little candle for free on Mondays. You just pay shipping. So then we're able to introduce new scents and then there's bigger sizes of that candle that we keep on the website seasonally. So we've launched a bunch of summer candles and we'll keep those on the website for about three months, and then filter through and keep our year-round candles on the website always, but the seasonal ones come and go.

Kelly Scanlon:

What do you find are your most popular candles?

Mollie Beck:

We've done some candles for the victories that Kansas City Chiefs have had and then the KU national championship. And those were a lot of fun to rally around Kansas City and celebrate with people. So those have been some of our top sellers, but for the year-round, we have a Classic Fraser Fir scent. That was actually our first candle released, and that one has been a constant fan favorite. Fall candles. Everybody loves fall candles, including me.

Kelly Scanlon:

You even have a giving candle. And that one is one that you actually intend for people to share and to pass along to other people, so how does that one work?

Mollie Beck:

I love talking about the giving candle. We refer to it as our sisterhood of traveling candle, if you're familiar with that movie or book. How it works is there are five different ways to spread kindness on the back label, and the intention is that you burn down to the first layer. So you receive the candle and do the first act of kindness, and then once it burns to a certain layer, we have marks on the candle, then you give that to a neighbor, coworker, friend, and then they keep the giving going. And while the candle is traveling, there's kindness being spread. And we have a map that you can go to on our website. There's a QR code on the bottom of the candle, and you can share how you spread kindness and where you have spread kindness. So that's been really fascinating and inspiring for us to see where kindness has been spread and in what ways, and we try to update that as often as possible on our website.

Kelly Scanlon:

As I understand it, you also have a club or a subscription basis. Talk to us about that.

Mollie Beck:

Right. Yes. Our Candle Club is one of our favorite things about the business. It's neat to be able to communicate with some really sweet, loyal customers every month. We're still growing, and it's just really great to have that consistency to be able to hire. And the Candle Club is a monthly subscription that arrives to your doorstep, and it's a surprise candle. So it's always seasonal, and we'll start doing fall candles really soon in that Candle Club. You receive your candle, Inspirational Kindness, a newsletter that gives different ideas and inspiration to spread kindness that month. And then we also give a $15 gift card that they can pass along to friends or use themselves if they didn't like the scent that month.

Kelly Scanlon:

Then besides the candles, what are some of the other ways that you spread kindness in the community? I know that you're very involved in the community, so talk with us about some of those other ways that you spread kindness.

Mollie Beck:

Yes. In each order, we have a continued goody, which is an item that is free and it's something that makes it easier for the customer to spread kindness. And so, for example, in the winter, we included a toothbrush and a list for just little ideas to make a homeless box. So the idea was that the customer could take the box that the candles came in, the toothbrush we gave them, and then we had ideas like gloves, hygiene items. And so the concept was that they would then box up this goody box to give to a homeless person and have it in their car. We have all sorts of different little continued goodies that we include and they switch every couple months, but that's been one of the ways we've encouraged spreading kindness. And then we do a lot of digital ways to spread kindness through our social media.

Mollie Beck:

And then we also have done a lot of different outreaches, which has been really neat to partner with amazing ministries and organizations and charities in Kansas City. Freedom Fire is one that we've paired up with quite a bit for different food drives or bringing food to the inner city organizations that meet up on Saturdays and play sports with kids and share a meal, so it's been neat to pair up with them. Zoe's House is an adoption agency that we've gotten to do some different outreaches with. After the Harvest Kansas City is one that we're going to do in August, and we're inviting people to join. After the harvest has been harvested, we go behind in glean and get what wasn't picked up, and then they take all that food and donate it to harvesters.

Kelly Scanlon:

So basically, you're not just telling people to go out and be kind, spread kindness, spread goodness, you actually put that in action yourself as well. You model it, you demonstrate it to your customers, and you work with your customers on those efforts. There's a lot of things going on in the world today that can really be challenging to process, so how do you continue to stay in such a positive frame of mind?

Mollie Beck:

It's not always easy, but for me personally, prayer and my faith plays a big role in keeping my head up and keeping a positive view on the world. And then surrounding ourselves with family and friends through COVID loneliness was just huge and a huge issue. And so that's one of the things with the giving candle we were excited about, is that we were trying to have people see people, even if on the phone, but just trying to encourage people to connect. For us, it's been neat to hear the stories of people spreading kindness. We don't always see fruit, but when we do that is really encouraging and motivating to us.

Kelly Scanlon:

Business owners, whether they realize it or not, they have influence, they have influence to shape new products, to help their employees to spread, as you're doing, kindness in the community. When you look back in several years and you look back on your candle company and Continue Good, what do you hope that you have accomplished with your influence?

Mollie Beck:

That's a great question. I think that kindness can be seen as not that big of a deal sometimes, but when someone's in a really dark place, when we're going through a lot, it's just so transcendent to see one act of kindness can really make that huge difference in someone's life. And so, if we could be the seed that encourages that or plants that seed and makes it happen, that would mean the world to us. And I think just having people connect, having people slow down and appreciate those around them and be focused on others. We're not perfect at it by any means, but we are living in a fast and busy world, and so I think that's our main encouragement, and to be a voice in the darkness against human trafficking.

Kelly Scanlon:

Mollie, for people who are interested in finding out more about your candles, more about your story and what you're trying to accomplish, is the website the best place to go for that?

Mollie Beck:

The website, and then also our Instagram and social media accounts.

Kelly Scanlon:

Okay. So if people go out to continuegood.com, they can see everything that you're doing and then they can connect to your social media platforms through the website as well, right?

Mollie Beck:

Correct. Yes.

Kelly Scanlon:

Okay. Mollie, thank you so much for being with us on this episode of Banking on KC, and for all that you're doing to try to create a positive environment for everyone that you touch.

Mollie Beck:

Thank you so much, Kelly. I really appreciate your time, and having me on.

Joe Close:

This is Joe Close president of Country Club Bank. Thank you to Mollie Beck for being our guest on this episode of Banking on KC. Candles were originally used to provide light and warmth, and even to track the passage of time. Nowadays, we use candles as decorations and as a part of birthdays and other celebrations. Mollie and the team at Continue Good use candles to celebrate kindness, reminding us all that we can be the light in someone else's day through even the smallest gestures. Add a little bit of warmth to someone's life today by sharing kindness. You'll brighten their day and yours too. Thanks for tuning in this week. We're banking on you, Kansas City. Country Club Bank, member FDIC.

 

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