Startup Stories: From Crushed To CEO

Picture of Founder Candace Carson

Tell us about your product or service.
Lily Of The Valley, Inc. is a start-up inspirational publishing, production, and speakers company, launching in Fall 2013.

Our first product will be my memoir “EMERGENT,” which shares my personal story of going from overcoming abuse, cancer, 2 years of homelessness, and the nationally publicized police brutality murder of my child’s father to becoming a CEO, and more. The book touches on a vast array of intense topics, while inspiring and communicating a message for the masses.

The vision for our company which is being hashed out as we speak by a Board of Advisors and potential investors is to have a publishing division ( books, greeting cards) a productions division (movies, record label, etc.), and an inspirational speakers bureau to include a Toastmasters arm.

Whats different about our company, is that our Board of Directors will be required to take a salary cap, so that a bulk amount of profits can be distributed towards programs that address the needs of our times (AIDS research, child sex trafficking, etc.) Instead of becoming a non-profit, we purposely became incorporated. We have something that is called “The Circle of Life” Business model, in which investors can later on come on board to invest in a company that is doing work that they care about.

What inspired you to launch your business?
By the time I was 21, I had already overcome documented abuse, cancer, 2 years of homelessness, and the wrongful and semi-accidental police brutality murder of my child’s father.

Now see, I can tell you that in one sentence, but that one sentence cant capture the pain and the trauma that came from enduring those experiences. Maybe you can relate when you think about your own experiences. Needless to say, I spent a large part of my life broken in my soulish depths, and I spent a large part of my life feeling less than human. I did not for example believe that the ‘pursuit of happiness,’ belonged to me. I believed that I was damned.

The emotions that came along with the territory of those experiences, really pushed me to what I believed to be the limits of my humanity. I reached those limits over and over again. I was driven to the limits of my anger, the limits of my depression, the limits of my joy, the limits of my desire to live and to love, the limits of my belief in God and my belief in human goodness. I was border line nihilistic for many many many years, and I was comfortable there. It hurt to much to hope and dream and love. Those things were too risky. Before I could do that, I needed to know what I believed, and I needed to know that I knew that I believed in what I said I did, if that makes any kind of sense!

I didn’t want my faith to be something I clung to, just because pain was too uncomfortable. I didnt want faith to be something I leaned on, just because someone else said it worked or it was the way. I wanted God to show me something and I needed God to be personal with me, because I felt like I was dying everyday from the inside out. God did just that. Not only did God renew my faith, He renewed my sense of and knowledge of my purpose on this planet. The business that Im launching is more than ‘my business,’ its a part of my purpose in living.

Lily Of The Valley, Inc. is a business yes, but it was named after THE lily of the valley, the flower that grows in hard places. It was named after the spiritual flower that is Christ.

What problem does your business or organization solve?
In every endeavor that we undertake, we also commit an act of service. What do I mean by that?

Our DBA is L.O.V., Inc. Our ‘CIRCLE OF LIFE’ business model means that every act of business promotes life or gives life in some form or fashion, either through inspiration (products and speaking engagements tailored to special events needs), training (Toastmasters Branch Available), or even investment opportunities.

Our Board of Directors will be required to take a salary cap, so that earnings and profits can be re-invested into programs and businesses that benefit the local and international community. We are not about politics at this organization. We are about impacting lives for the better, and giving others hope. Not pie in the sky hope–but real, practical hope through cutting edge products that address and impart the perspective of love and inspiration into real life things and situations, in a way that is modern and atypical. We want to take people to the edge of their humanity in a good way via our products and services.

We fully intend to be a part of the ‘solution’ on this planet. Solution to what? As much as we can be. But 1st we want to start by printing books like mine, and others that address the things that most major inspirational or faith based companies dont want to talk about or dont want their products to intermingle with.

AIDS, for example is a reality on this planet. Im not HIV positive, nor do I have AIDS, but I have suffered enough in my lifetime to be able to have compassion for people who suffer period. So for example, one book that we have coming out addresses the topic of sero-discordant relationships and finding Christ in that kind of love. Thats just 1 product. And to be quite frank, I think thats the kind of product that should exist in this millennial age.

The problem that our organization attempts to address is the problem of hopelessness, 1st and foremost. It doesnt take a rocket scientist to see that this planet is somewhat shrouded in a cloud of general apathy and hopelessness due to the economic and political climate. We want to address that hopelessness in both an inspirational and a practical way.

What has been your biggest challenge and how are you working to overcome it?
My biggest challenge has been in believing first of all that God has entrusted such an awesome and great mission to me. I struggle with believing that the rest of my life, might just turn out to be better than the 1st part- if we’re being candid. Im comfortable being candid about that, because as a leader I think me being a leader that walks in excellence has just as much to do with me being transparent as it does with me doing all the things that are associated with being a CEO administratively and financially, etc. People within an organization and people from all walks of life period— need to see transparency to a degree. People who are going through what I went through–need to see an example of what is possible. A part of reaching for possibility is being ok with having shaky legs in the beginning.

The more I share my story, the more I overcome fears that are inside of me. The more I share my story, the more the true me emerges. Secrets have a way of keeping us locked up as shell and outdated versions of ourselves.
The more I love and learn to let myself be loved, the more I emerge.

Give us one word that people might use to describe you.

How has Project Eve helped you and/or your business?
I appreciate being inspired by other women. It goes a long way to know that there are others like you.

Exposure is an absolute plus!

Give us an insider tip that relates to your industry.
Innovation is a tip that I think relates to my and any other industry.

We live in a time where people are really hungry for ‘it,’ and sometimes people don’t know what ‘it,’ is until the entrepreneur gives it to them.

Innovation is key. Now is not the time to be afraid to put your own spin, or my own spin on our businesses. Being different is a good thing!

Company: Lily Of The Valley, Inc.


Follow my organization on social media here:

Project Eve is compiling the largest archive of female founders’ startup stories in the world to motivate women to think beyond traditional boundaries, support one another, embrace change and view challenges as opportunities.  Please share your Startup Story today. All published content will be syndicated to over 300,000 friends, fans and followers. Project Eve welcomes submissions of original or republished content, stories. For more information, please refer to our Content Submissions Guidelines.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.