Category Archives: Interviews with Magnetic Business Women!

A Pillow With a Purpose

INTERVIEWS Not just another pretty pillow . . .

“I originally designed a super soft, feminine, and fun pillow to comfort and soothe a friend as she chartered her passage through the breast cancer experience. My friend encouraged me to make the pillows available to more women and the MoonLight Pillow was born. And women — creative, inspiring and the true mothers of invention —found even more nurturing ways to use the MoonLight Pillow. We share these ideas with you in the spirit of healing and love.”  Nancy Lindgren

Today’s Interview is with Nancy Lindgren, the creator of the MoonLight Pillow

I met Nancy Lindgren several years ago when she came to Magnetic Business Women, the networking group that I created. Later she came to my house and I found out that we had a lot in common. I am excited to share more about Nancy with my readers and let you know what she is doing to make the world a better place.  As you will soon discover Nancy has had her hands in a number of different ventures, just like a lot of us, but I want to focus most of this interview on her MoonLight Pillows. We have all heard the saying “Necessity if the mother of invention” and that is the place from which the pillow sprang.

Nancy has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and she jumped into action to help a friend with cancer by making her a special pillow. One pillow to help a friend turned into a business which I will talk to Nancy about later in this interview.

Katelyn: Hi Nancy, thank you for taking the time to share your story with us. I am excited for people to know about your businesses! To start out  can you tell me a little about your background?

Nancy: Sure, I was born and raised right her in Minnesota and grew up in Edina, Minnesota. My dad died in a plane crash when I was five and my mother raised myself and five siblings by herself. Growing up, I went to both Catholic and public schools and for college I went to the U of M and I was in the human services generalist program. I was pretty lost throughout my college years, struggled with alcoholism and chemical dependency and I am so grateful to say that I got treatment and have been clean and sober since 1980. I was married in 1982 to my love, Allan. We have two kids, a daughter who is twenty eight and a son who is twenty five. We are thrilled that our daughter is getting married in August.   My real passions are doing intuitive energy healing, I like doing west coast swing dancing, love being anywhere in nature, I love to travel to different places.

Katelyn: Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit? If so where did it come from?

Nancy: My mom was a pretty good sales person and loved to start little businesses re-selling things so she probably inspired my entrepreneurial spirit. Too bad there wasn’t EBay back then. She was also pretty intuitive too and always had a “hunch” that seemed to be right on.
Katelyn: Do you feel that your mother was an influence on your choice to become an entrepreneur?

Nancy: Yes, I think my mom was an influence on my becoming an entrepreneur mainly because she was a widow the young age 42. I didn’t witness much dependency on a male figure to get the job done. She did a lot on her own and that kind of independence was good role modeling for me.

Katelyn: So what was your first entrepreneurial enterprise?

Nancy: In 1986, I started one of the first environmentally safe house cleaning businesses which I had for ten years. I had the keys and alarm codes to seventy homes in the metro area. I hired and trained part time house cleaners and it all ran pretty smoothly.

Katelyn: Wow, that’s amazing. What was the inspiration for going environmentally friendly? I imagine environmental awareness was just in its infancy at that time. Tell me more about the ups and downs of having your own cleaning business and what do your attribute your success to?

Nancy: The cleaning business actually started a few years after school. I needed a part time job and my friend trained me how to do the cleaning business. I worked with him for a year. The inspiration for going environmentally friendly was two fold, one, I hated the fumes of the toxic cleaning products and two and I’m kind of a hippy at heart and love the earth so I wanted to have a positive impact. Restore The Earth cleaning products had just been created so I was able to buy in bulk from them. I love their products because they’re safe and they really work.

I had great luck hiring part time house cleaners from the U of M paper and The Woman’s Press. I was so lucky that they stayed with my company for three or four years while in school which offered my clients the quality, consistency and trust they really appreciated. House cleaning is attainable success, you go in to a home that’s messy or dusty and dirty, you leave and it’s sparkling clean and smells fresh. Clients loved coming home to a clean home.
Some of the challenges were when there was turnover, hiring and training new cleaners could be a lot to manage with two little kids at home. Once I had two women train with me for two weeks and they quit right away to start their own business. I was crushed, couldn’t believe they did that! Also, if something got broken while cleaning at a home, that was hard. Actually, it only happened once that it was a very expensive thing, a Tiffany cigarette box valued at 750.00, glad I was insured. The other times things were broken were incidental.
You think about theft with a business like this. I was very fortunate mainly. However there was one cleaner I hired and trained who left right away. It was at that time a client complained that 40.00 was missing. I felt just terrible about that. I think the cleaner felt too guilty to stay on. I sold my cleaning business and started my private healing practice.

Katelyn: Nancy can you tell us more about the healing practice.  It sounds like a completely different direction from cleaning houses?

Nancy: At the same time as I was running my house cleaning business I was studying intuition and healing, because I always thought it might be an avocation. I went to healing school at The Center For Wholeness for two years where I learned various energy healing techniques from Ron Moore, got my MariEL attunments from Ethyl Lombardi, levels of Reiki one and two, studied with Dr. Eric Pearl, took polarity therapy, various classes in transformational kinesiology. The last couple of years, I have been studying Holographic Memory Resolution (HMR) with Brent Baum and love this transformational work!
Everything changed when I graduated from The Center for Wholeness as a certified healer and ordained minister. I use the ordination part of my ministry to perform custom weddings, funerals and baby blessings for people. I love creating these ceremonies with people. Oh the places you go! Shortly after my graduation I started the healing practice and I have been in the same office space since 1999. I am passionate about the transformation that takes place in a healing session.

MoonLight Pillows are born!

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Ten years ago Nancy’s business MoonLight Pillows started with her desire to make a friend who had cancer feel more comfortable.  This business has taken on a life of it’s own from what I can tell.

Katelyn: I am really curious about the MoonLight Pillow business and how that came about.  Could you tell the readers more about that?

Nancy:Ten years ago my best friend got breast cancer. I had NO idea what women went through with incisions, drain tubes, discomfort, radiation burns and all the pain. I started creating stuff for her that I thought would help her feel more comfortable such as soft tee shirts with healing words on them for her tender breasts and a crescent shaped pillow that has become the MoonLight Pillow.

Since the creation of the first MoonLight Pillow for Nancy’s friend hundreds of thousands of these soft, comforting pillows have gone out into the world for women to hang onto while undergoing the rigors of breast cancer.  Here are a few of the many uses for the pillows:

Moonlight Pillows
• Protect against post-surgical wiggles, jiggles & bounces.
• Support, cushion & protect tender area when wearing a seatbelt.
• Keep the incision away from other body parts.
• Cradle post-surgical breasts and upper arms while sleeping.
• Provide something soothing to cuddle.
• Comfort for biopsies, lumpectomies, mastectomies, lymphedema, reductions & reconstructions.

Katelyn-I am curious about what happens behind the scenes when you are in a business manufacturing a product such as the pillows, because I know a lot of women want to start businesses and might not know where to start so they never do. How do you find resources? How do you handle shipping and those types of things.

Nancy: I know this may be a little confusing but I’m a healer and a minister and wanted to reach more people. I said to God one day, “Come on, use me! How can I reach more people?” Shortly after I had asked that question,  opportunities started opening up at a pretty rapid pace for the breast cancer pillow I had created for my friend. The pillow is a healing product, it’s soothing and comforting, practical and soft so it fit in with my vision as a healer.
Katelyn: My experience has always been that if the timing is right and there is a need to be filled the Universe steps in and things just flow like magic.  It sounds like that is what happened with the pillows.
Nancy: I didn’t have a clue what to do, I just made it up as I went along. I made lists of what I needed then started finding the right people and products to support the business. It seemed like one door opened after the next so I kept going. If the energy flows and feels right, I keep going. The first thing was finding sewers, I’m now much of a seamstress so I found a couple women who sewed the first pillows out of their homes. When I had enough stock of different sizes, I had them prototyped at the U of M Breast Center. They handed out my pillows to their patients.
I met with the nurse manager and social worker and they gave me feedback on what size and fabric they liked the best. Then I needed to find the little tags to sew in and my brother in law knew someone. Then find a graphic designer to create some branding for the tags and marketing materials and I found the perfect woman for that. The business started growing and I needed more manufacturing.
The real break through was finding the women residents at the Shakopee Women’s Correctional facility who have a fantastic manager in their sewing division.  They have delivered a quality product for many years now. It’s win-win for everyone and meets a lot of needs on a lot of levels. The inmates tell me they get to do something meaningful & they get paid well in this job which is one of the better jobs in the facility. The MoonLight Pillows are made by women for women. The ripple effects are far reaching with all of the lives that get touched from the women who need them to the women who make them to those who gift them and so on.
I do all the shipping and handling out of our home. I have a work station we’ve created in my basement with bins of different colors of pillows, bags and all the shipping materials there. My husband is now retired and he helps me with shipping orders, running to the post office, picking up orders at the manufacture and he does my accounting. I have both on-line retail and wholesale orders to fulfill. My biggest client is the Mayo Clinic who has a charity called Join The Journey who gives a MoonLight Pillow to each woman and man who has breast surgery there. They’re amazing with their outreach. More hospitals are now ordering the pillows. My sister-in-law has now started giving the pillows out to those in need by starting Melinda’s MoonLight Pillow Ministry. After going through breast cancer, she doesn’t want any woman to go through breast cancer without a MoonLight Pillow.
 I’ve manufactured thousands of these sweet pillows and it does my heart good to know that people are comforted by them. The feed-back is always heart warming.
There you have a bit about Nancy’s wonderful story and how she is changing the world in both her healing practice and her MoonLight Pillow business.  Please visit her website to learn more or to connect with Nancy.  Contact information is below.
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Testimonials

“It was easy to maneuver to keep the seat belt from being too tight. It was a bright moment in my day when I received the Moonlight Pillow. To think that someone cared enough to provide it lifted my spirits. Thank you so much” -Sophia

“I recently had a mastectomy and nothing could have prepared me for the pain I endured. Somehow holding on to this little pillow really helped pull me through” -Marion

“Moonlight Pillows are heaven sent!” -Wanda

More testimonials
Nancy’s MoonLight Pillows have gotten a lot of fabulous press which you can find on this link

Nancy sent me a pillow so I could see how wonderful it was.  It was like opening a present when it arrived because as you can see in the photos it comes beautifully packages.

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Nancy doesn’t know this but I had the box on my table.  I had recently gotten a new cat and my resident kitty was having a hard time getting use to sharing his house, his space and me with the new “intruder”.  One night I was relaxing watching television and I looked over at the table and BJ, my kitty was in the box snuggling with the MoonLight Pillow.   This beautiful pillow was comforting my distressed cat and he looked calmer than he had looked in days.

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CONTACT INFORMATION FOR NANCY:

Nancy Lindgren,

Phone: (877) 733-2177

Website; www.moonlightpillow.com

Email Address: info@MoonLightPillows.com

 

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Interview with Mary Welch, Serend!p!ty Circles


‘I take seriously the invitation to be the change we want to see in the world. I know that by using the power of our stories we can change our lives and in so doing, we change our world.   One of the ways I see that happening is by

gathering together to support one another.   I feel confident that if you attend a Serend!p!ty circle, workshop, or retreat you will be honored and welcomed into an amazing circle and you will leave feeling empowered and grateful you came.” Mary Welch

That quote is from Mary Welch’s Serend!p!ty Circles Website.  As you can see she is passionate about her work and facilitating change in the world.  When she talks about it there is always a twinkle in her eye and excitement in her voice.   I am excited to do this interview and share her work with others who might not know about the awesome work she is doing.  My second purpose in doing the interview is to show other women what can happen if they follow their dreams and don’t give up.

Hello Mary, thank you for taking the time to share with me about your business.  I am excited for other people to learn about what you are doing to change the world.

Katelyn Mariah: Have you always had the entrepreneurial spirit or is it something that you grew into over time? 

Mary Welch: I think it comes naturally to me.  When I was growing up, it was called “independent and bossy“, not a leader or entrepreneurial!  I was the oldest of 12 children, so I’ve been organizing and caring for others since I was 11 months old!

I’ve consciously developed the qualities of a transformational leader over the last 35+ years.  My strongest archetypes are that of Venus & Diana, who are both very independent energies.  I am very focused and committed and my focus is on building relationships.  That is what ignites my passion for doing women’s retreats.

KM: Is Serend!p!ty Circles your first business venture?

MW: Serend!p!ty Circles is not my first business adventure.  After working as a Chamber Executive for six+ years in the 1990′, I ventured of on my own as a leadership consultant.  I worked with several major businesses and churches and 2 cities.  The work was satisfying, but I found my passion was working with women and creating experiences where they felt empowered and could tap into their deepest wisdom.

In 1999, I partnered with two trainers and we produced a transformational training program.  That partnership lasted a year and then because of our different perspectives on how to grow the trainings and how to facilitate the third level, I severed the relationship.

I am truly a risk-taker and the dream was no longer a viable one for me so I went off on my own…again.  I have absolutely NO regrets, either for being a partner with them or for breaking the ties when the time came.  It was some of my greatest life’s learning, and my greatest joys in seeing the transformation of people’s lives.

KM: Can you talk about your back ground at what lead you to create Serend!p!ty Circles?
MW: All of the experiences of my life lead me to create Serend!p!ty Circles but the tipping point was an event that I helped coordinate as the Exec. Director of a Chamber of Commerce.  At those town meetings, I watched professional facilitators use a ToP method from the Institute of Cultural Affairs and I was hooked! I said ‘ that’s what I want to be when I grow up!’  I was 43 years old at the time!
I went on to finish my degree from Metropolitan State University.  One of the classes I took was a JUNG class on Spirituality which included the work of Jean Shinoda Bolen on the goddess energies. During that class the design of my first retreat was born.  I was able to use my skills as a trained facilitator and designed a retreat that was spiritually based.  That was the beginning of Serend!p!ty Circles.

The spirituality component of my work is truly what I was called to do in this life time.  As a child, God was always at the center of my life.  As I’ve grown, my understanding of God has changed dramatically, and so has my understanding of myself.   Numerous personal growth seminars/trainings helped me align with my purpose and they also taught me how to support people in their personal/spiritual growth.  They also taught me what NOT to do!   That is the entrepreneur in me.   I wanted to create a program that used the best of the methods I had experienced; so I created my own.   A new version coming from a softer, more feminine approach that empowers rather than destroys before it builds.

My work is all about creating a safe and sacred space for women to discover their true essence and feel proud and grateful.   It emphasizes who we are BEing, not what we are doing and how to do it better.   And in today’s world that is a rare approach…pretty entrepreneurial, I think!

KM: As a business owner you have to wear a lot of different hats. Can you talk about the different hats you were, which ones are easy for you and which are more challenging.

MW: As the ‘girl Friday’ of my solo business, I wear ALL of the hats!  I get to do the:

  • Design of the Programs
  • Facilitation of Programs
  • Bookkeeping
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Decor creations
  • Set up
  • Clean up
  • and sometimes even, the Cook!

The easy ones for me are the Design and Facilitation which is my training and my passion. This is where I shine and my True Self comes through. I am in the flow of Spirit when I am in Creation and in the Circle.

The most difficult part of the business for me is Marketing.  It takes a skilled internet professional in today’s market, as well as time to do all the personal networking.  I’m getting better at “closing the sale” because I am not afraid to ask anymore. I know with all of my heart and soul that my work is enriching lives and for those who are open to my work, they will come in the perfect time.

KM:What would you like people to know about the events that your create?

MW: I create event that are all about honoring the essence of each woman.  The conversations we engage in are about who they are, not what they do.  I use activities that are engaging and involve all of the senses.  Add to that beautiful visuals, soul-touching music, flowers, something to eat and plenty of warm and loving hugs. The events are filled with laughter, healing tears and just plain FUN!  Women leave the events feeling empowered, uplifted and wiser along with an AHA that brings clarity to their personal journey.

The space that I create for the events is both sacred and safe and allows each woman to share their wisdom as I act as a facilitator of that wisdom, not a guru teach who knows it all.

KM: Wow, Mary, that sounds so nurturing and supportive I can see how they can be transformational experiences for the women involved!

KM: I think it is important when you are holding that kind of space for others, that you have ways to nurture yourself and keep focused and positive about your business when challenges arise.  What do you do to take care of yourself?

MW: I rely on my spiritual practices of meditation, qigong, affirmations, EFT, mindful walking, reading, and listening to CD’s.  I also connect with other women and listen to their wisdom.  Sometimes I just cry my eyes out to release the tension or discouragement!

KM: Thank your for the last sentence.  I think we all feel like doing that at times.  We need to give ourselves permission to cry because it is so cleansing!  Thank you so much for taking the time to share your life and business for this interview.

Here is Mary’s Vision Statement for her Alive Aware Awake Programs and I think it is fitting for all of her work:

Here us what Lynn Koll says about  Mary’s workshops: ”  I have personally experienced this workshop recently and it was amazing, as is all work facilitated by Mary Welch.  This was so rich and deep, yet light and fun.  We shared a lot of giggles as well as tears.  This workshop is sure to inspire and help you feel connected to yourself as a women in mind, body and spirit!!”

To Learn more about Mary and the events that you can participate in go to Serend!p!ty Circles She has a lot of exciting programs coming up that you will love.

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