Being "old" + lonely is not something many of us spend time thinking about. What with our busy days and trying to "live in the moment", the long term future often isn't on our radar.
Social entrepreneur Mary MacCarthy saw things differently. She watched her 90 year old grandmothers' loneliness and began to realize her purpose of making it easier for us to care for each other.
In thinking about how to "solve loneliness", Mary realized that art could help connect people to each other, so she created "Glorious Hugs". Named for her Grandmother Gloria, Glorious Hugs curates care packages of art, cookies, scented oils, jewelry and other gifts, all wrapped up with a handwritten note and a huge helping of love.
Mary has clearly tapped into an unmet need for people to connect and care for each other in a simple, creative way - Glorious Hugs has just celebrated its first anniversary and orders are flooding in from people wanting to make small gestures count.
We were curious about Mary's journey: she's a mom with a successful healthcare marketing career behind her - what got her to this point and why did she choose this direction?
What inspired you to "solve loneliness?"
I’d always dreamed of starting a product-based business and was building experience, education, capital and time so that I could pursue that dream. Both of my grandmothers lived into their late 90s as widows. While family visited them regularly, I was always concerned about their emotional health and loneliness. One day, I connected the fact that art can inspire countless meaningful conversations and can fight loneliness when shared and discussed with others.
When you look back over your journey so far, what advice would you give yourself?
When I was 20, I was finishing college, dreaming big and preparing for my career. There isn’t anything I’d tell my 20-year-old self to do differently.
I’d tell my 35-year-old self to buckle up and take better care of myself because life was going to present some huge character tests. The next 15 years were all about change as my daughters grew up and entered college and I navigated an amicable divorce, a layoff, and buying a fixer-upper house. I learned that having balance means smaller sacrifices in all areas. I prioritized motherhood and plotted a career path that included stints as a stay-at-home mom and a consultant combined with stretches as an employee at large corporations. If I had prioritized my career instead of my daughters, I’d have more money now but weaker relationships with my daughters and major regrets. Today my daughters are healthy, flourishing and very successful.
The next 20 years will be about driving my career while continuing to be a role model for my daughters and supporting them in their careers.
What support do you rely on?
Having a strong network of family and friends for guidance, connections, and emotional support is essential. Many friends have been paid or unpaid consultants to Glorious Hugs - they have been kind, generous and given high-quality work. I am inspired by their knowledge, generosity and daily “You can do its".
What steps should people follow if they're looking to make their passion "real"?
- Write down the answers to these questions:
- What does success look like to you?
- What are you passionate about? What do you fight for?
- What are you really good at?
- Who are the advocates you can rely on without hesitation? This list will come in handy and grow over time. People love passion and will feed your fire. Write a tagline to summarize who you are - this will guide you as you tell your story. Mine is: "A Minnesota woman, mother and social entrepreneur who makes dreams come true."
- Set one goal that will serve as your guiding light. Write it down and tell a few people. When you announce it to the universe, the universe starts moving to support your goal.
- Develop a plan. What are 3-5 things you need to do to achieve your goal?
Passionados can get a $5 discount on their first order placed by 6/25 - use code "Passionados" on www.glorioushugs.com.