I love featuring stories of people who have faced the challenge of cancer and created a way to make a difference for others out of the experience. Recently, Margot Malin of Lots to Live For offered me the opportunity to guest blog on her Cancer Blog: Lots To Live For! about my experiences creating my eBook project, 10 to Thrive. I wanted to reciprocate and also find out more about her and her company.
Margot, please share what your inspiration was to start Lots to Live For.
I had a successful eighteen year career at a major Wall Street investment management firm. In 2002 several events motivated me to “Pay it Forward” and launch Lots to Live For – a Collection of Resources for Cancer Patients.
The three apparently unrelated events that came together culminating in the genesis of Lots To Live For were:
1. I had three young children and wanted to develop a more flexible schedule so that
I could spend quality time with them;
2. My mother had recently passed away after a stage IV cancer diagnosis; and
3. The Internet was just developing as an e-commerce platform.
The birth of Lots To Live For, Inc. served as a tribute to my mother and grandmother, who both fought courageous battles against cancer. They are the ones who made me realize the importance of comfort during cancer, and helped me recognize there was a huge unmet need – individuals seeking side effect solutions and information. Our motto is: We recognize that you have “Lots To Live For”, and we offer solutions so that you can improve the quality of your life.
What is the mission of your company?
Lots To Live For, Inc. offers a Collection of Resources for Cancer Patients. Our website sells a variety of carefully selected personal care products for men, women, and children who are undergoing cancer treatment and dealing with the unpleasant and uncomfortable side effects of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or cancer surgery. We sell products that offer solutions to the following side effects:
- Skin care and nail care – soothing creams and lotions to heal and soothe radiation burns or compromised skin
- Hair care – special shampoos and hair treatments to nourish your scalp and support new-hair growth
- Nutritional products– to boost the immune system
- Anti-nausea relief – lozenges and acupressure wrist bands
- Oral care – to relieve dry mouth or mouth sores
- Products to bring the Gift of Comfort to cancer patients
Margot, getting something like “Lots to Live For!” off the ground isn’t necessarily a simple venture. What were some of the challenges you faced in getting it started?
Ecommerce on the Internet was just beginning to hit its stride in 2002. The website had to be developed from scratch – there were no templates to build stores. Coordinating the merchant processing account and creating a design that was easy to navigate was challenging.
The most interesting part of the launch was finding products that met our criteria. I did extensive research into adjuvant and holistic treatments to use in conjunction with traditional medicine. This exhaustive search yielded a vast array of natural, botanical, and homeopathic solutions to help relieve the side effects of chemotherapy, soothe radiation burns, and promote healing after cancer surgery. I contacted all of the manufacturers to share our vision, and became authorized to distribute their products in a retail setting. Since 2002 there have been an incredible number of new products created to reduce and relieve cancer side effects. We have added new brand collections to our website as they have been brought to market and have met our criteria for personal care product excellence.
In April of 2013 we redesigned and re-launched our website to make it more descriptive and easier to navigate. We also added several new product lines.
What strengths or tools did you tap into to overcome those challenges?
I have always enjoyed doing research and uncovering new ideas. Research is a skill that is important for success in equity analysis, and coincidentally also applies to developing a business and selecting products. I am well organized, so once I developed a plan I followed it through until the website was complete and the products were in stock.
How has helping others impacted your life?
As a firsthand witness to the debilitating effects cancer treatments took on my relatives, I find it very fulfilling to be able to offer others comfort, information, and empowerment during cancer. Having a purpose is an important ingredient of personal happiness so I guess you could say that as important as it is to help others, the business has also helped me grow and feel fulfilled.
How can people learn more about you and your products?
Please visit our website at www.LotsToLiveFor.com where you can learn about all of our helpful products. We participate in all types of social media and post relevant pictures, topics and information about new developments in cancer treatment on our Facebook page, Pinterest page, and follow us on Twitter.
I believe that knowledge is empowerment. To help inform and educate cancer patients we publish Cancer Blog: Lots To Live For! – Tools Tips and Information to Help Empower You Throughout Your Cancer Journey. On our blog we offer inspiration, information, and support to cancer patients, their caregivers, families, and friends with articles about nutrition, exercise, complementary medicine, emotional support, and more. This year we are also planning to launch a newsletter.
Is there anything else you would like to share? Major insights or impact creating this has had in your life?
I have met some amazing and inspirational individuals through Lots To Live For, Inc. There are many welcoming communities whose mission is to help cancer patients – oncologists, nurses, pharmaceutical and medical researchers, cancer coaches, nurse navigators, individuals working on product development, individuals launching and supporting philanthropic organizations, individual entrepreneurs, and more. I have invited some of these wonderful people, like yourself, as guest bloggers and I am constantly awed by the spirit and enthusiasm of the individuals that I connect with through Lots To Live For, Inc.
Margot, thank you for all you do to improve the quality of life for cancer survivors. What a gift to them and what a tribute to your mother. Taking the loss of loved ones to inspire us to make a difference for those who continue the fight against cancer is one of the most noble causes and we salute you for your contribution!