NEW ORLEANS -- Two years ago, Stephanie Kauffman was down on her luck. She was a struggling comedienne in Chicago, and lost her waitress job the first week of December 2015.
She still wanted to show her appreciation for her family and friends during the holidays, but didn't have the money to buy anyone presents. So she made them.
"I was dead broke, so I looked up DIY ideas online and saw how to make Yankee candles with unique stickers on the front," said Kauffman. "I didn't even have the money to make Yankee candles so I remembered the tall prayer candles at the dollar tree."
She's always loved photo shopping, so creating her own custom sticker for the front was easy. Her first creation was a Mr. Rogers candle, and the rest is history.
Her friend Sarah loved the candle so much she asked Kauffman if she could create a custom order for her.
"I had to go donate plasma to get the $50 in order to even buy the candles," said Kauffman.
By the end of 2016, Kauffman had set up an Etsy account and had to quit her full time job in order to keep up with the orders.
"Peaches Records called me and asked me if I could make these for them, so I moved down to New Orleans, and now I run my business from here," said Kauffman.
It was a twist of fate that turned her situation into a positive one.
"Before, all I wanted to do was be a comedienne, it was comedy or bust for me. I didn't realize the tools I had right under my nose to start a business and play on my other talents," said Kauffman.
She's still entertaining the masses with her creativity, just this time in a form one of a gifts.