‘Luminescents’ ignites hope for cancer survivors

When Amber Melby was battling breast cancer in 2015, she wondered if she would ever be herself again.

She put on a mask of bravery for her loved ones, but underneath it she felt, “isolated, depressed and alone,” her mission reads. 

During her grueling treatments, the small acts of kindness from her family and friends was the motivation to push her toward the finish line. She considered these acts, “the light in my darkness.” 

“Inspired by that light, I vowed to find a way to pay it forward and ‘B the Light’ was created,” Melby’s mission reads. 

Igniting this charity to Minnesota State’s torch, students in the Integrated Business Experience (IBE) program created, “Luminescents,” a company of candles. 

After reading Melby’s story, MSU junior Construction Management student and Luminescents CEO Jada Jerry felt inspired by, “the cause and connecting with her; we really liked her a lot,” Jerry said. 

Once the plans were in motion, the crew shared their scheme with Melby of New Ulm.

“She (Melby) was super excited. She had no idea what the IBE program was, so we introduced that to her,” Jerry said. “She was super excited to work with the school.”

Luminescents hosts tabling events with an entourage of candles for students and the general public to purchase. 

Their first day on the market, Luminescents collected about $1,500 in profit, all to fill the pockets of cancer survivors. To Jerry, “that just felt amazing.” 

Each candle is held by reusable jars and appeals to both masculine and feminine parties. Glass jars hold sweeter scents, black jars are more manly — all of them are tied with Breast Cancer’s symbol. 

“We made sure for selling, we tie a pink bow around them and that’s what connects us with the ‘B the Light’ charity and breast cancer,” Jerry said. “The pink ribbon is how we tied in the charity with us.”

Through IBE, the program replicates an authentic business model. From coordinating the company to selecting an organization to gift its profits, the team then turns to the bank for a loan and works to manage the funds efficiently.

“In the beginning, there’s a lot of decision making to be done on what we want to do, where you want to order from, where we want things to look like, scents,” Jerry said. 

The team sends out surveys for the public’s opinion, and utilizes the answers for company growth. At the end of the semester, the collection of coins are sent off to the chosen charity. 

“It’s such a good learning experience; it is hands-on because it’s all real money, all real products, customers — it’s a great experience,” Jerry said. 

Despite a chance for bumps in the road, Luminescents keeps a solid bond, and it’s been smooth sailing for sales.

“Our company actually gets along very, very well,” Jerry said. “There hasn’t been any real arguments, we all are very good at putting out ideas and understanding other people’s ideas.” 

Luminescents tables around MSU’s campus, as well as various boutiques and stores in the Mankato area. 

While interacting with people out in the community, the team encountered a slice of their impact in real time. 

“We were out at the boutiques downtown and asking if we can table there, and someone who’s got a donation from Amber before was working, and so we got to talk to her,” Jerry said. “That was really cool that I got to meet someone that’s actually had a donation from her.” 

For Jerry, the cause behind the candles hits closer to her home as well. 

“My great grandma had cancer and our family was all there. I just couldn’t imagine someone not having that,” Jerry said. “When I think about that I’m like, ‘Yeah, this is a great cause, and I would love to help.’” 

Candles from Luminescents are available for purchase via tabling events and Shopify. Links and announcements are posted on their Instagram @luminescents_msu. Prices range from $10-$45. 

“A lot of people have been affected by cancer, so that’s a good thing to know you’re helping people that maybe don’t have the family to support them like maybe your family has,” Jerry said.

Write to Mercedes Kauphusman at mercedes.kauphusman@mnsu.edu

Header Photo: Pictured is MSU junior Jada Jerry (right) with her Luminescents crew, tabling their candles inside the CSU. Luminescents is a company created from the Integrated Business Experience program and donates all their profits to the “B the Light” charity. (Courtesy luminescents_msu Instagram)

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