Big Hug

When I was laid off in the middle of Michigan’s worst economic times, I jumped up and hoped no one saw me click my heels as I went out the door.  I knew I was putting a successful 25+ year ad-sales career behind me and was entering a new phase of life…one of being an entrepreneur and doing something I truly loved.  Although I was leaving a spectacular company surrounded by wonderful friends, I felt confident in my abilities, and absolutely energized.

I went on to develop a plan for an online remembrance gift company, offering high quality sympathy and memorial gifts designed to honor special people, and beloved pets who at one time shared a life’s journey.  Like any good business idea, it evolved from my own personal need.  I was also aware that cultural mores and funeral traditions were rapidly changing, and I felt there was an emotional and economic need for loving, enduring and emotionally-connected gift alternatives to flowers, which are beautiful but fleeting.  Also, by helping others, I felt I would be able to share in the emotional rewards of those giving and receiving, which was very important to me.

I named my company “Big Hug” because in those two small words I saw the essence of caring and compassion.  And, over time I have come to realize their true power and capacity, and how I might extend the company in meaningful and related ways.

More recently, a flood of calls and emails also led me in a new, unexpected direction…as a result, I commissioned original artwork to support a line of custom pre-engraved Amazing Grace chimes created for the floral and funeral industries, and other all-occasion retailers.  That means that I also officially entered into the wholesale world by shifting my thinking and simply saying “yes” to the challenge.

Anyone who has experienced loss knows that grief goes in cycles, like the seasons, like the moon.  Our grief doesn’t just vanish as we adjust to our new reality.  Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and sensory reminders can bring up old feelings of loss, again and again.

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and it occurs to me that we all know women who have lost their moms and need our comfort and understanding on that special day.  Gone is their caregiver, their teacher, their soul mate, their role model, and (even) their guide to being a woman.  And of course there are also many moms who have lost their own children.  Please remember to reach out to these women with a phone call or a card, or if you are able to, combine your compassionate words with a warm embrace to acknowledge their loss, and to let them know you are thinking about them on this important day.

Such a small thing.  Yet, such a big thing.

Katie Kiyo, owner

Big Hug LLC

Ph. 248.594.1560


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