Stephanie Kauffman on the 7 year anniversary of The Luminary and Co.
Hi! My name is Stephanie. A little background for ya- I started the Luminary and Co. (Previously Mose Mary and Me) during a particularly hard winter. December 5th of 2015, I lost my job. I was performing comedy at the time, was jobless and broke. Being the holiday season, I wanted to give Christmas gifts to my friends but couldn't afford much. I decided to research DIY gift ideas, and wanted to add my own flair to what I found. That's when I created prayer candles with my friends’ favorite icons and comedians on them. I didn’t think much about the candles at the time, as they were just gifts. When another friend, Sarah, saw the candles, she asked me if I could make some custom candles with her favorite icons on them.
Jobless and broke, I had to donate plasma in order to afford to make the first candles for the order. Having .02 in my bank account at the time, I needed a miracle. Sarah, who ordered the custom candles, made a Facebook post about them, sparking more requests and then more orders. That's when I decided to open an online shop. I vividly remember finally scraping together the $13 I needed to afford my first paper cutter. My roommate Megan then loaned me $200 so I wouldn't have to keep donating plasma and a few weeks later, I started selling to my first store, The Silver Room. I would lug candles on public transportation for over an hour to get them to the store. Then, slowly over time, more stores, and more candle designs, additional opportunities arose.
Peaches Records in New Orleans asked to start selling The Luminary and Co. wholesale which led me to move my operations to the Big Easy. It was a perfect fit. Local stores started carrying the line, and in divine timing, a month after I quit my restaurant job to pursue her business full time, Fleurty Girl asked to carry The Luminary and Co., making me feel like she had made the right choice.
Although I have hit some road bumps and setbacks along the way, slowly I was able to pay off debt, and even save some money which allowed me to move out of her home office into a working studio. The current studio is located at 10015 Jefferson Highway Unit D in River Ridge, Louisiana. The studio space allowed The Luminary and Co. to operate at Christmas time with a lot more ease as well as expand to selling on the wholesale website, Faire.
Seven years after those initial Christmas gifts, I am blown away by where this little accidental entrepreneurship journey has taken me. I asked for a miracle, and I got that and more. Because of the growth, I was able to hire on a couple of helpers. I love that I stumbled on this by accident. After working in the hospitality industry for 15 years, this is a welcomed change of pace and I am ever so grateful.
The helpers from the 2022 Christmas season at a shimmer-filled dinner in New Orleans
The Luminary and Co. has been fortunate enough to get some cool media coverage! Check it out!
Article by Refinery 29
Artist in their Own Words with ViaNolaVie!
'Side Hustle' Interview with New Orleans CBS affiliate WWL-TV