By Susan Rowe
This month Scentsy celebrates its 8th birthday—eight amazing years that transformed a tiny candle company whose owners were deep in debt into a thriving, international business with multiple product lines, multiple brands, and millions in revenue. But eight years isn’t that long, and Scentsy’s owners, Heidi and Orville Thompson, have not forgotten those difficult years before success when a little help from friends and strangers gave them hope for a fresh start.
Hope and a fresh start is exactly what Duale Mohamoud needed when he arrived in in the United States six years ago at the age of 18. Duale’s family fled war in Ethiopia when he was just a baby, so he has no recollection of his native country. Instead, Duale (pronounced Du-all-ee), spent his growing-up years in a refugee camp in Kenya, a camp he estimates had more than a million people. He remembers newer arrivals in the camp whose homes consisted of just brush and how those “homes” were washed away whenever there was a hard rain. His family had been in the camp longer so they had a better shelter, but life was still hard. They got food rations of corn and flour, but never any vegetables, and they were not allowed to leave the camp because they were refugees, not Kenyans. Duale attended school, walking a distance of about five miles one way to get there, but his teachers were sometimes cruel, and he remembers it as a harsh place for a child. He dreamed of going to America where everyone owned their own house, a car, and he could go to college.
While their circumstances are very different, Duale had something in common with the Thompsons. Like them, he believed it was possible to create a better future despite his difficult past and the enormous challenges in front of him. When he arrived in America as a refugee, he was told he would need to find work right away, that he could not go to college unless he had money to pay for it, and that refugees rode the bus. In 2010, he went to an employment service in Boise, and they referred him to Scentsy. He thought it was an awfully small company and worried he might get laid off, but he committed to doing his best, starting on the pick line. Eventually he was promoted to a packing position. Today, Duale is one of the fastest packers on the line at Scentsy. He has a car, drives to work, and loves to play soccer on the weekends.
So what does this have to do with Scentsy’s birthday? Each year we celebrate Scentsy’s birthday by finding a way to make our community stronger by giving back in a meaningful way. This year we are planning a celebration on August 25 to raise awareness and offer support to Boise’s refugee population. We’ll share more details about the event in future posts….and tell our Consultants and customers how they can participate, too.
Duale’s story shows that sometimes a little help is all anyone needs to overcome hardship and create a brighter future. Recently, Duale became an American citizen, having completed the five-year waiting period and other citizenship requirements. “Here I am today. I’m proud of what I’m doing. It’s life-changing.”