A native Texan, Rachel graduated from the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science in 2002. Rachel earned a degree in Biology, and a degree in Crime and Justice Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas. After nearly 10 years as a Federal law enforcement officer, Rachel decided to focus on designing and creating wedding and special event décor.
How cancer and a bike ride launched a wedding business
In 2009, my uncle was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I felt powerless and wanted to help. Days before he passed, I told him that I would raise money, in his honor, by completing a 100 mile century bike ride with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program.
I’m not an athlete. After the first day of training for a century ride around scenic Lake Tahoe, I understood that I may have over-estimated by ability to complete the challenge. Within a week of beginning the training program, my uncle succumbed to cancer. Completing the endurance challenge was now a matter of honor, and I had no choice but to power through my weakness.
As part of my commitment to Team in Training, I needed to raise over $4,000. I tried a few fundraisers here and there. I sold some of my homemade peanut brittle and curling iron travel bags, but I soon realized I was nowhere near meeting my fundraising commitment. I opened a shop on Etsy and advertised custom aisle runners for weddings. Within a few weeks, my order volume had sky-rocketed. Each day, I worked my normal 10-hour law enforcement shift. I hurried home to work in a training bike ride, then spent the nights filling wedding orders.
The day of the century ride came, I conquered the 100 mile journey around Lake Tahoe, and I honored the memory of my deceased uncle. I was bitten by the cycling bug and immediately searched for my next adventure. A few months later, I completed a century ride in Texas known as Hott’r N Hell. It lived up to it’s name.
My blooming online wedding business continued to fuel my charity bike rides. In 2013, I completed the 350 mile cycling trip from Arlington, VA to Virginia Beach, VA, along with some of the coolest, most determined injured veterans I've met. A month later, I accompanied them for a 350 mile journey through the battlefields of the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. While riding on a leg of the Tour de France was amazing, sharing the journey through the picturesque battlefields with some of America’s injured veterans was a true blessing.
While I am no longer in law enforcement and do not participate in charity bike rides, I continue to support military and law enforcement charities with proceeds from my business. Without the service and sacrifice of our military, and the domestic protection of law enforcement, I would not have the opportunity to call myself an entrepreneur.