top of page
  • Writer's pictureMorgan Short

How Christiana Trapani Traded her 9-5 for Entrepreneurship and Became a Philanthropic Powerhouse

Many of us are familiar with that moment when we question whether we are doing what we’re truly meant to do. Christiana Trapani had hers in 2019 while driving to her 9-5 and stuck in traffic.

Christiana, a Ukranian American with a background in marketing and communications, had a decent job with a great team and a boss she respected. Yet, something inside her insisted she was meant for more - something meaningful and more aligned with her true potential.

From 9-5 to Entrepreneurship

She leaned into this feeling and, in 2020, started Door County Delivered with her husband, Nick, while still working her marketing job. They specialized in gift boxes filled with local products, from cherries to candles, and quickly became known for their exceptional customer service.

As part of Door County Delivered, Christiana began wholesaling candles from Door County Candle Company. After her second visit, the owner asked her if she would be interested in buying the store.

Christiana was all in. She was ready to trade her 9-5 for entrepreneurship. She began working at the candle company on mornings, nights, and weekends. For 6 months, she basically worked 2 full time jobs. Then it was time to buy the business and leave her 9-5.

When Christiana first took over Door County Candle, the transition came with some challenges. The previous owner provided valuable mentorship as she navigated her new role. However, by November of her first year, things began slowing down. The store saw fewer in-store customers, and there was no robust marketing strategy in place, not even a basic email list. It felt like a roller coaster. But Christiana was more than ready to rise to the occasion.

Light and Hope for Ukraine

During the Ukraine crisis, while connecting with her family back home, Christiana felt compelled to act. The next day, she recorded a heartfelt video at the Candle Shop discussing the situation in Ukraine, offering a blue and yellow candle in support of Razom for Ukraine, and posted it online. By evening, they had sold 500 candles. By the next morning, 3,000. The video's viral success led to interviews with major media like PBS News, and ABC World News, and an appearance on the game show The Wall, where she and her husband won over $1.3 million for their business.

The popularity of the Ukraine candles surged unexpectedly. Customers were queuing up outside the store well before opening hours. At the time, the store was operated by a small team of fewer than five people, but so many volunteers came together to help the cause. The sudden virality caught them off guard. They were not, at first, equipped with enough supplies or personnel to meet the surge. Previously, Door County Candle produced about 15,000 candles annually, but now they were fulfilling 100,000. As a result, the production lead times extended dramatically from just two days to twelve weeks. But most people were okay with waiting, especially with Christiana’s transparent, honest, and frequent communication.

The Ukraine Candle was tremendously successful. Christiana and Nick raised over $1 million for Razom for Ukraine, delivering 15,000 tin candles to aid their cause.

Candles Creating Change®

Building on her success, Christiana developed Door County Candle Company’s new mission, "Candles Creating Change." Every candle provides light and hope for those in need. With every purchase of a Door County Candle product, a portion gets donated back to charity. In addition to Razom for Ukraine, Door County Candle Company has also supported Maui Wildfire Relief, Turkey Earthquake Emergency Relief, and Hurricane Ian Relief, just to name a few. Christiana is living proof that even small business owners can make a massive impact on the world.

Highs and Lows of Trading 9-5 for Entrepreneurship

Christiana is candid about the highs and lows of her journey. She openly discusses the challenges and self-doubt that come with entrepreneurship, emphasizing the importance of resilience for anyone starting their own business.

Breaking Down Barriers

As a woman in manufacturing, Christiana is working to break down gender stereotypes and is not shy about sharing her voice both in-person and online.

Her efforts have also sparked discussions on how small businesses can effectively contribute to charitable causes despite some frustrating barriers to entry.

A New Adventure in Luba Libations

With two successful businesses under her belt, Christiana didn’t stop there. She recently announced her newest adventure, Luba Libations, a non-alcoholic cocktail brand using only natural, recognizable ingredients. The name was inspired by Christiana's spirited grandmother, Luba, a trendsetter who loves raising a glass. This step marks her third business ownership, each reflecting her commitment to innovation and social impact.

Christiana’s shift from corporate employee to three-time business owner is a call to action for anyone feeling that quiet whisper of ambition. It shows that with courage, vision, and a willingness to take big risks, it’s possible to bring light and hope to the world - one candle at a time.

Connect with Christiana and Follow Her Businesses

Door County Candle Company

Door County Delivered

Luba Libations

Christiana's Personal Accounts

18 views0 comments


bottom of page