“I felt ignored during our relocations, and wanted to make sure that other families did not have to experience that feeling,” – Candy Wilkes-Scheper
After her experiences, which started 21 years ago, Candy Wilkes-Scheper started afterthemove, a business that helps acclimate people to the Western Michigan area after relocating. When her husband moved to France with his company, she struggled with settling in. Two years later, she and her family moved to Grand Rapids for a year, followed by North Carolina for five years, France for another three years, and back to Grand Rapids, where they’ve been for the last ten years. If that sounds like a lot, it is, and her experiences are the inspiration why Candy started her business.
When she and her family moved initially, Candy felt ignored. She wasn’t given any on-the-ground assistance, especially with her kids, and the language barriers had a huge impact on their overall move. “There is a big piece of the relocation puzzle that isn’t being handled in most relocations,” Candy says. And as a result, she’s been involved in helping others connect with services and with others in their new locations for years, well before her business officially started. “It just made sense to start afterthemove because I understood how these families felt, and wanted to help make their relocation successful.”
Community & Belonging Impact Relocation Success
Candy tells us that 60%-80% of failed relocations are due to the pressures that are placed on members of the family. And, between a new community, and sometimes even a new language, it can take a year or more for a new place to feel like home. When the anxiety of settling in to a place becomes overwhelming enough, many people give up and return “home”. Corporations lose valuable people because of something that Candy sees as totally fixable. By helping families in their relocation process, afterthemove gives families the attention they need to settle in successfully.
Among other things, afterthemove offers exploratory and cultural tours, assists families with finding schools, obtaining legal documents, meeting new doctors, and seeking out help for any other needs they may have. When belonging and place are so inherently linked, relocating can make or break a person or a family. This is the foundation of her business, based on personal experience and desire for helping people avoid the troubles she went through.
Networking + GROW = Support
“I connected with GROW through networking events,” Candy says. Soon after, she participated in Intro to GROW, and she has also engaged in one-on-one business counseling. When it comes to her business, Candy loves the flexibility that owning her own company provides, but also recognizes the difficulties of it. “It’s your baby, and it’s not just a job when it’s your business.”
Candy says that running her business alone is the hardest part, but that’s where GROW helps. Candy’s biggest advice for others is to follow your passion and find a mentor. “It’s not easy, but it’s key,” she says, “and Grand Rapids has so many resources, like GROW. It takes patience, but you have to get connected.”
You can learn more Candy and her business here: https://www.afterthemove.net/about
How Can GROW Help You?
We agree. And we are so glad we’ve been able to help Candy, and hundreds of other women like her, who are starting their own businesses based on their personal experiences and passion. For more information about all that GROW has to offer, please contact us today or visit our events calendar for upcoming programs.