We had the good fortune of connecting with Kandice Jacobs Robinson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kandice, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
After successfully securing licensure as a dually licensed, Florida funeral director & embalmer, in 2016 I launched my business – after becoming my own client…when I lost my god-brother. On Jan. 5, 2015, my god-brother Titus and I were texting “Happy New Year” greetings as I prepared for work, making plans to talk later about getting together. However, a couple of hours after that conversation – at the exact time (I would later learn) as I sat in our funeral home chapel, overseeing a funeral service – Titus’s heart stopped beating. He fell to the floor, just feet away from his 1 ½- year-old son, and he died… At 41 years old, Titus left behind six children and a widow. He had no life insurance. Thankfully though, his church family financed his funeral service; and, as a Navy veteran, he was eligible for burial in the local national cemetery. My why became Ti and the inspiration for Kandice Jacobs Creations (KJC).
Therefore, the thought process behind Kandice Jacobs Creations, LLC was social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship is an idea popularized by Bill Drayton, founder of Ashoka – a global training organization for social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurs are agents for change who use business models to creatively address social problems. I was meeting with, and personally knew, too many individuals and families who had not prepared for the peace I know they desired at the end of their lives. They had no life insurance (or not enough). They had not pre-arranged funeral services. They did not have long-term care insurance or ample savings. They did not have a solid plan for the latter years of their lives. Thus, I wanted to be an agent for change by equipping individuals and families with the informational resources they need to develop a solid plan for their future, so that they could simply get on with the joys of living – living life abundantly and leaving a lasting legacy for their loved ones!
Then, life happened again, and at the close of 2016 my father was diagnosed with neurodegenerative disease, specifically Alzheimer’s disease. My vision for KJC became even more laser focused as a result. My mission expanded to meeting the individualized needs of individuals & families along the full spectrum of their life journey, not just in the wake of loss. I accepted my additional calling to address the pain points of caregivers prior to them becoming a potential client, due to the physical loss of their loved one. According to The National Alliance for Caregiving: Caregiving in the U.S. Report (2020), there are 53 million US caregivers – an increase of 9.5 million from 2015 -2020. Furthermore, (1) in (5) Americans are serving as family caregivers and their health is worsening as a result, (according to The Alzheimer’s Association: Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Annual Report 2020).
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am a member of the Sandwich Generation – a military spouse and mother to a 17-month-old, who has spent the past five years balancing entrepreneurship and serving as a caregiver for my (2)-time-cancer-survivor father, who is currently living through late-stage Alzheimer’s disease. I understand the emotional discomfort many individuals & families face in confronting end-of-life care & pre-planning decisions. As a result, Kandice Jacobs Creations provides end-of-life care and pre-planning advisory services, as well as self-care & empowerment products, to treat the emotional discomfort associated with making such overwhelming decisions. Because I am intimately acquainted with the lifestyle, needs and challenges unique to our target consumer, KJC has developed the Lasting Legacies program & product suite.
One-way KJC has successfully delivered value, for the past four years to our target consumers, is our annual Lasting Legacies Life-Planning Conference. At this comprehensive conference, which to date has been offered free of charge to Florida residents, industry professionals – through workshops and a panel discussion – address such topics as: dementia education, caregiver and grief support, elder care legal matters, life insurance, funeral pre-planning, and more. As the CEO of Kandice Jacobs Creations, I am not only actively engaged in disrupting the at-need only approach to end-of-life care and pre-planning decisions, I am now also committed to creating a supportive infrastructure to both grieving families and caregivers. Therefore, when contacted in January 2020 by Mayo Clinic neurologist, Dr. Philip Tipton (a former expert panelist at my 2019 Lasting Legacies Conference) to co-host his newly launched podcast – Long Live The Brains, I jumped at the opportunity. As all I could envision was synergy! This has been a highly collaborative and immensely innovative venture. Long Live the Brains, which is now part webcast, goes live via Facebook where we give our followers a 360 degree look at what neurodegenerative diseases are and how they affect the lives of patients and their loved ones through this interview-based program.
In addition, earlier this year KJC relaunched The Lasting Legacies Blog, with a special series, to meaningfully address the grief of the masses – who have been left reeling from the onslaught of deeply personal losses over the past fourteen months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, we are excited to announce, that later this summer, we will expand upon our Lasting Legacies Care Package — branded by color, to bring awareness to specific illnesses and to uplift the 53 million U.S. caregivers, the chronically ill and bereaved. What a tremendous opportunity it will be to #shopanduplift a truly deserving segment of society & the marketplace, which previously – prior to the COVID-19 pandemic – was far too often forgotten and undervalued.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
So many businesses have been impacted by COVID-19, particularly restaurants. However, in my family’s recent venturing out once again since becoming fully vaccinated, I must shout out three of our favorite seafood spots: Harry’s Seafood, Bar & Grill in St. Augustine, FL; Safe Harbor Seafood Restaurant in Atlantic Beach, FL; and (newly discovered) OP Fish House & Oyster Bar in Orange Park, FL. We have become big fans of outdoor spaces such as visiting historic St. Augustine, Mayport Beach and Riverside Park. Riverside Park is extremely family friendly and is at the center of the Riverside community, brimming with excellent eateries, historic architecture and the Cummer Art Museum.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout first to my dad, Willie Jacobs – my very first business mentor and character counts coach, the most brilliant of men due to the sheer versatility of his multidisciplinary intellect, his seemingly indistinguishable light and optimism…I remain empowered by all he continues to teach me even in the face of a cruel disease. He offered me seed money to begin Kandice Jacobs Creations after simply hearing the idea!
In addition, I must also express my undying gratitude to the remainder of my family – my mother, Gloria Jacobs who first demonstrated for me the immense power of emotional intelligence and continues to model service as a way of life; the best half of Team Robinson, the lights of my life – my loving husband, Quentin and sweet girl, Abigail who daily make me better; and my collective village at the Northside & Arlington Road Churches of Christ which keep me ever-encouraged and lacking no good thing! Finally, I want to recognize Felicia Wright of Mygani LLC, Brent & Jacque Headrick of Ponte Vedra Valley Funeral Home, Cemetery & Cremation Center, Nicola Gibson and Cari Eyre who have been long-standing, stand-out supporters of what I most often refer to as my vocational ministry.
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