Marcie’s Story

You know that saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover”? It’s very true, especially when it comes to women who own businesses. I’ve met many women, like myself, that are business owners, not because their ego demanded it, but out of necessity. Our success is hard-won and very personal. Here’s my story.

I grew up in an Italian family. I was just 13 years old when my Dad died. Being a traditional Italian wife, my mom was in charge of the home and didn’t have any outside work experience. I left school to help make ends meet I worked two jobs, but it wasn’t enough and soon afterwards we were evicted from our home.

On My Own

To ease the burden on my mother, I moved out and started staying at my friends’ houses. I slept on floors, couches or whatever was available. I met my husband at 16, got married at 18 had my first son by 19. We were so young at the time that as grown-up pressures mounted the relationship became abusive and controlling. During our 17-year marriage, we had four children together. The abuse worsened and although I left 10 times, I always returned because I had no place to go and limited funds to do anything at all.

As in most cases of mental, physical, and emotional abuse breaking free of the cycle is one of the hardest things in the world to do. People say that you should leave, but no one offers a safe haven. People say you should stand up for yourself, but no one’s around to take the punches in the gut when he’s angry. People say that you should think better of yourself, but no one is there to shout down the angry, crude and belittling remarks that go on all day every day. So, what changed for me? What gave me the strength to say, “Enough is enough”?

When I left for the final time, I got an order of protection against my husband. I alerted the children’s school regarding the order of protection, but someone in the office goofed and let him take the kids from school. He took the boys and refused to let them go to school or to see me.

Every day I would go to his home with a police officer, in an attempt to get the boys back but all I got was a face full of abuse. One of the officers who usually accompanied me told me that according to the law he had as much right to the kids as I did and that it can take a year or more to get the boys back. The officer mentioned in passing that the only way to get the boys back quickly was to take a page from their Dad’s book and kidnap them back.

I was desperate to get my boys out of his clutches, so I went to a local family known for its enforcement skills and begged them to help me. I told them the entire situation and they agreed to help me get my babies back. And that’s what we did. The next time I went to try and see the boys I came with a crew. He opened the door but this time we went in. I ran and got my kids while they held him down.

Although I was free from my ex-husband’s abuse I was still left holding the bag for his bad financial decisions. Creditors were after me, asking for money that I did not have. Thankfully there are agencies out there that help battered women to free themselves of the debt accumulated by an abusive husband. That was one load off of my back, but life was far from easy.

Adventures in Entrepreneurship

So here I was on welfare, a mother with four kids living a hand-to-mouth existence. This is not what I wanted for myself or my children. So, I went around asking for a loan so that I could get some supplies to start a business. One of my friends loaned me his credit card so that I could get a broken-down van to go around cleaning awnings to earn money. Imagine driving a broken-down van with a regular garden hose walking up to businesses asking to clean for them. I did this for about a year and started making money. My eldest son had to leave school at 16 to help me and we built it up enough money to buy a second truck. We then added painting and handyman repairs services and now we have over 30 trucks. From my garden hose to my facility maintenance company that services businesses such as Macy’s, The UN Plaza, Walgreens location, CVS and other national chains.

About two and a half years ago, I decided that I wanted to do something to honor my mother, who died from breast cancer. I wanted to give back and help the other women who have had to fight for the survival of themselves and their children. I cajoled my Uncle Danny Aiello to help me with the American Cancer Society gala.

I wanted my first gala for ACS to be outstanding, so I asked my sons, Frankie and Anthony to help me create centerpieces for the event. His hobby was glass cutting and he would cut recycled liquor bottles into interesting shapes and sizes. We decided to have him make candle holders out of the liquor bottles and everyone loved them. The gala was a big success and we continue to host one every year.

The candles made such a splash – with their pleasing scents and presentation some companies asked us to be their candle supplier. And that’s how Custom Candle was formed; we are now in our third year.

A Note for My Sisters

Women need to remember that we are powerful. We need to know that no one deserves to be mistreated and abused. We can achieve whatever we want by loving ourselves, getting help before things spiral out of control and hard work. We are all a success story waiting to happen.

Enhance Your Holidays with the Exquisite Creations of Custom Candle

Selling Holiday Gifts