Today we’d like to introduce you to Shakeilah Swain.
Shakeilah, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Growing up, cooking was always a passion for me, I can remember being young, I would always help my mom and grandma in the kitchen. When I got to high school, I would always wake up early to cook for my best friend, before we headed to the bus stop. Did I plan on running a cooking business of my own? Absolutely not. When I graduated high school, I was five months pregnant with my first son. A few weeks after graduating, I went into labor at only 25 weeks pregnant, giving birth to a 1lb 5oz baby boy. Watching my baby fight for his life made me want to push harder. As a young single mother, I went to college and got my CNA degree, as well as a Certificate in Child Development. I then began teaching and working with patients.
Soon I became pregnant with my second son at only 19 years old. Still being a single mother, I was forced to quit teaching, as it became too much to handle. My oldest was constantly battling health issues and having random seizures from time to time. Life was super tough, even with the little family support I did have. When my boys were two years old and six months old I met my husband. He came into my life and I was able to take a deep breath, I finally had help, my kids could finally feel what it feels like to have a father.
Being a stay-at-home mom, I started selling plates, but due to low sales, I got discouraged and stopped. A few years down the line, me and my husband lost it all. We had nowhere to go, asking for help constantly, living from house to house. We eventually got back onto our feet, I went back to school for my Associates in Child Development, we also expanded our family. We then had five children. In 2018 I lost my job and only my husband was working. I would cook him these big meals every day for lunch, and all his co-workers would say they would pay to buy my food. My husband pushed me to start back selling meals, he had so much faith in me when I had none In myself, he even helped me come up with the dopest name. The business was going well, I began to fall back in love with cooking and selling meals.
In February 2019, our youngest daughter began to develop a lump in the bottom of her right foot. After taking her back and forth to the hospital a few times for what we were told was an infection. I had to put a pause on my cooking for a while. Her foot did not go down, It actually began getting bigger. February 12, 2019, they did a biopsy and diagnosed our baby girl with a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. About two weeks after being diagnosed, she had to start her chemo treatments, which were expected to be about 9-12 months long. Every other week for six days straight, either me or my husband had to stay impatient with Azia for chemo while the other stayed home to care for the other four kids. After her first round of chemo, she lost all of her hair in a matter of days. In May of 2019, we had to make the hardest decision of our lives. In June, our daughter had her right foot amputated. We cried for days, I went into the deepest depression ever. Even having to be the provider, as well as enduring the same pain as me, my husband still managed to uplift us all.
Our daughter went through all these changes, being so sick, in and out of ICU. She never changed, still being herself and able to keep a smile on her face through it all. That really inspired me. In February 2020, she finished chemo and beat cancer at the age of three. After this, I began back cooking, going even harder than before. March 2020, I started getting business in line. Going from selling 10-15 plates a day to selling 50-75, doing parties, meal preps and more. All licenses and permits for Oh My Goodness!! are up to date, business is growing and going great, and I’m so excited to see what God has in store next for us.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s definitely been a rocky road for me. When I decided I wanted to start cooking and selling meals in 2016, things didn’t go as planned, orders weren’t coming in, and my food just didn’t look how I wanted it to. When I started back in 2018, I began getting more business, but I just felt like I didn’t have enough support. My daughter being diagnosed with cancer, which slowed things down a lot. Also, having to balance cooking, being a mommy, a wife, and still finding some me time in between was a huge challenge. When you really want something in life, you go hard for it no matter the struggles. Never ever give up! Never wait on support, get out and get it. Networking was key to success.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Oh My Goodness!! is a home-based cooking business. We specialize in individual meals, meal preps, and party catering. We are known for our hot fresh meals, the strong flavor, cajun crab legs, topped in the special Oh My Goodness!! butter sauce. Oh My Goodness!! is here to cater to you and your taste buds.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I first have to give a huge shout out to God, because without him none of this would even be possible. Also my husband has been my only investor, my biggest supporter, he believed I could do it when I didn’t even think that I could. When he isn’t working, he is helping me with my business. I can’t forget to give credit to all of my wonderful loyal customers, facebook friends I’ve never met, as well as friends and family. They have shown me so much love and support as well, especially the ones who have been buying meals since day one, motivating me to go harder. I love and appreciate you all!
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