Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
While reading the summer issue of Halifax magazine, I was intrigued by an article about an entrepreneur who used marshmallows to launch an amazing second act. When I invited Kelly Blenus to participate in this series, I learned that she had just sold the thriving business to another Second Act Phenomenon, Nikki Roach.
Briefly describe your first act.
Originally from Calgary and a single parent, I moved to Halifax six years ago with my sister and her family. We trekked across Canada with nothing mapped out for us, and no certainties. I managed a spa in Calgary and was formally trained by the best in the industry, but the experience there did not translate inter provincial, and I needed to either retrain or change career paths. I opted to change career paths. This led to trying out a 3rd party call centre. I adapted quickly and began moving up the corporate ladder. By the time I started with Maritime Marshmallows, I had been in the industry for 5.5 years and was a technical analyst, working for a leading technology company.
What triggered the need for change?
After six years in Halifax, I am now married and we have two children. Working in an ever changing, fast paced, 24-hour environment, means that I constantly have to juggle a work life balance. I just finished six months of graveyard shifts and saw my family for as little as one hour a day. It left me mentally exhausted with no time for my family, which is what I was working so hard for. During this time I started working with Maritime Marshmallows as an interested party. It was one of my best friends who built the foundation for this amazing business, and she wanted me to build it with her.
Where are you now?
I now own Maritime Marshmallows. I took a leap of faith in a local fresh product that I can stand by and believe in and helped to create many of the gourmet flavours. Our product is now in three stores locally and growing. This is still a work in progress.
Do you have advice for anyone planning to pursue a second act?
Go for it. Everyone will give advice, but listen to your instincts. Not all of us are meant to be what is expected of us, and that often makes us look to be different.
Any affirmations or quotations you wish to share?
“You only live once but if you do it right, once is enough.” Mae West
History of Maritime Marshmallows…
After climbing the corporate ladder for ten years, Kelly Blenus decided to go back to school and obtain a degree in psychology. When she encountered financial challenges, she turned to a talent she had acquired during her teenage years: making marshmallows. Kelly received an immediate response on social media with satisfied customers talking about her marshmallows and sharing photos.
Working together since the spring of 2013, Kelly and Nikki have introduced a new twist on an old standard, producing such unique flavors as Lemon Coconut, Chipper Mint, S’Mores, and Beer-Mallow. Gluten-free flavors are also available. If you wish to see Nikki in action, watch this edition of Foodie Tuesday.
Thank you for sharing your journey, Nikki. Haligonians–you can buy these delectable marshmallows at the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market, Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market and Sugar Shok Candy Boutique in Dartmouth. I would encourage everyone else to visit Maritime Marshmallows online–Nikki will ship orders anywhere in Canada and the United States.