4 February 2022

Young Grace proves nothing holds a candle to pursuing your own dreams

| Tom McGann
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Kelly and Grace Murphy

Kelly Murphy and her daughter Grace. Photo: Supplied.

Life hasn’t always been easy for Grace Murphy. Born with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, she’s had to struggle to do many of the things others take for granted.

The Tura Beach girl has faced many challenges growing up but she also has something many kids her age lack – an entrepreneurial mindset.

Despite all the difficulties, the 16-year-old is chasing her dreams and has started her very own candle business ‘Simply Grace’.

The business began with a simple pitch to Grace’s mother, Kelly: “Mum, I want to make and sell candles”.

It wasn’t the first time Grace had come up with an idea – Kelly says she’s a born entrepreneur – but this was one they could make happen.

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“She is extremely industrious,” Kelly said. “She came to me with this idea and I thought this was something we could genuinely do.”

While Kelly and her husband, Caleb, loved the idea, they quickly discovered they had no idea how to make candles.

It was a steep learning curve for the whole family, with many of their friends receiving experimental test versions of the candles while the recipe was perfected.

“We taught ourselves on YouTube and sent hundreds of gifts to friends,” Kelly said.

“The candle-making process is a lot more technical than we expected it to be.”

Making the actual candles was just one part of the business operations, with the family purchasing an industrial melter to keep up with demand, getting the word out there was another.

Grace Murphy, owner of Simply Grace

Grace holding one of her candles. Photo: Supplied.

Sales were steady for the first three months but, when Kelly advertised the business on social media, sales exploded.

Within two days, orders had reached 700, making it a busy time for young Grace and her mother.

“Our house is a bit of a candle factory at the moment, but at least it smells good,” Kelly said.

The candles themselves are made of soy, differing from the more conventional wax candles. Grace said she wanted soy candles because they are better for the environment.

“They don’t have any of the bad stuff in them,” she said.

Grace writes thank you cards to every customer who purchases her candles.

“She likes to say thank you to people who buy the candles, it’s very nice of her,” Kelly said.

“It helps me with my writing,” Grace added.

'Simply Grace' thank you cards

The cards Grace uses to thank her customers. Photo: Supplied.

It was important the business operations were appropriate for Grace considering her health conditions. She spends half her time in a wheelchair, so being able to complete tasks while sitting was vital.

“One day, she will sit down for hours on end writing thank you notes,” Kelly said.

“It’s a nice way for her to keep busy as well if she has had a bad day.”

While both Kelly and Caleb help with the business where they can, Grace also has the assistance of her support worker and physiotherapist.

Grace can’t use of one of her arms, meaning many tasks must be done with just one hand. While Grace is completing tasks, her physiotherapist will use the time to work on her bad arm, helping her with movement.

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Currently, the family is putting together about 150 candles a day, with the bulk of sales coming from the website, which was entirely built by Kelly.

“I was pretty proud of myself … I put this website together in two days and thought, did I just do that?” she said.

For Grace, the home business is just the start.

“In 10 years, I hope to have a shop and an EFTPOS machine,” she said.

Kelly is proud of Grace and hopes her story will inspire others to follow their dreams.

“If you have a dream or a goal, give it a try,” she said. “Anything is possible if you try.”

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Kathleen Miller9:54 am 11 Feb 22

What a wonderful enterprising young lady who will be an inspiration to so many. Well done Gracie (and family)! A team effort.

Grace you look to be a wonderfully strong women with a belief that anything is possible..very few 16year olds would have a vision to start a business…you may lack some physical streangth but you truly make up for if in your determination to succeed and take life by the horns an go for it…congratulations and good luck

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