5×5 Night-ON THE ROAD at Downtown Market- FOOD BUSINESSES
Voting Closes:

April 22, 2024 11:59 pm

About this idea
Riley, the namesake, is my 15-year-old beagle, has been paralyzed 4 times over the last 12 years of his life and has needed 3 emergency surgeries to save his life. These have cost over $50,000 and I have met 100’s of folks who have had to put their dogs down strictly for financial reasons. The traction is the 1,082 customers we have sold to, the 5,000 plus followers across social media, and the 20 + dogs we have helped save. Riley’s Candles was a passion project of mine starting in 2017, we made candles in our garage, sold to family and friends and donated all proceeds to a local neurology center for dogs in need. Following COVID, I decided this was my mission and stepped down from a 15-year insurance career to pour all of my focus on Riley’s Mission of saving as many dogs as possible. The business has gone through many pivots over the first 18 months of being a formal LLC. Riley’s Candles, LLC was launched in June of 2022, retail and e-commerce store opened on October 31st, 2022. Pet insurance is in its infancy stages, the cost of emergency veterinary care is higher than ever, and even where insurance is in place, it is based on a model of reimbursement of approved medical care. Veterinarians and surgeons typically do not perform surgery without a 50% downpayment. With the average emergency surgery costing north of $7,500, this is an amount the average American can not afford. The total veterinary spend in the US Market in 2022 was 35.9 Billion and is growing exponentially. 76% of dog owners would go into substantial debt to save their dogs life, according to 2023 pet insurance survey. This is where we can leverage Riley’s dog-centric audience of supporters and ability to make custom candles specific for the dog being saved to be sold at scale, raising money for the dog in need. It can act as a bridge loan in cases where insurance is in place and act as a form of payment, without asking for handouts (such as GoFundMe) from family and friends. It is a turn-key, product-based, fundraising platform for the family. 20% of the proceeds from every candle sold goes directly to dogs in need of emergency life-saving surgeries. Candles can change the world, saving the life of one dog at a time!
Families of dogs who need emergency life-saving surgeries but can not afford them are directly impacted. Since opening our store and e-commerce site in October 2022, we have helped save the lives of 32 dogs around Michigan and beyond. The human dynamic of the families we have helped has been extraordinary, as you can see from the video testimonial included with the submission!
What I'll do with $5,000
Inventory! We have a large purchase order with the 11th largest payroll provider in the United States, who will be using our candles as corporate gifts nationwide. These candles will be co-branded and we will be sharing the Riley's Candles mission to their entire sales team.
About Josh Hart

A year ago I stepped out of Corporate America, after spending 15 years as an insurance professional traveling around the country, to pursue starting my own Social Impact Business. Riley’s Candles, in Traverse City, MI. At Riley’s Candles: We're not in the candle business. We're in the dog-saving business. We're on a mission to save as many dogs' lives as possible!

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