Our Story


Taylor Graustein graduated Wake Forest
University in May 2020 with a BA in Communication and a Startup... Benefiscent! Taylor is a proud alumn of 
Wake Forest University's Startup Lab, an accelerator 
program for student businesses.

She is passionate about leading a socially responsible business
to inspire others to do good through their buying habits &
business practices. In creating Benefiscent candles, she was
careful to ensure that the ingredients and materials used are
as sustainable as possible, with a mission
for 0% plastic by 2024.

Taylor founded Benefiscent to address the needs of underfunded
cancer research. It is her sincere hope that Benefiscent will
make a difference by providing the best handmade candles
with the most giving power on the market.

Chief Waxpert

Robert Graustein is an entrepreneur with expertise building
& growing successful businesses. Bob is originally from Detroit,

Michigan where he grew up with his 3 brothers. He was recruited
to the University of Pennsylvania as a quarterback and still
holds many of their football records today! After graduating
from the Wharton School of Business, he worked on Wall Street
for 35 years of his career before starting his own business. 

He has helped and encouraged Taylor in her Benefiscent journey, 
and now he has joined her as a partner in Benefiscent! Bob is 
Benefiscent's Chief Waxpert, meaning he makes all of our
candles by hand. He does extensive research to make sure 
Benefiscent uses the highest quality ingredients & candle-making
methods. He says candle-making & working with Benefiscent is
the most fun he's had in years!

Our Story

The mission to help find a cure is near and dear to our hearts,
so at Benefiscent, we make every part of our business personal.
Here's why....
Benefiscent's story

On June 6th, 2012, the day before my 14th birthday, my mom Carmela Graustein passed away after a
7-year battle with brain cancer. My mom got sick when I was about 6 years old and I had no idea what
was going on. With her diagnosis, doctors estimated that she had less than a year to live. We were extremely
blessed that treatment was effective and she was able to fight brain cancer as long as she did. Doctors
said that her survival was a miracle. I got to have my mom during the most formative years of my life.

When I was in 6th grade, my mom's cancer unfortunately came back on her spinal cord and in
her spinal fluid, which is virtually untreatable. We cared for my mom until the very end of her fight.
The time my family and I spent grieving was terribly difficult. I found that the best thing I could
do, was to try my very best to help other people not suffer.

In the spring of 2015, I came up with the idea to create Candles for a Cure as my high school
service project. I started making candles in my kitchen, the way my uncle had taught me several
years before. I sold them at local events. After my first year selling candles, I donated all proceeds
to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the cancer hospital where my mom was treated. Candles
for a Cure
became a legacy project that I handed down to trusted high school friends and, collectively, Candles for a Cure donated 22k.

The summer of 2019, my dad told me that he thought we could take Candles for a Cure to the next
level and make it a real business. We spent the summer brainstorming new names and upgrading our
candle-making methods. In the fall, I applied and was accepted into Wake Forest University's Startup
Lab, an accelerator program for student entrepreneurial ventures. We launched Benefiscent's website
in January 2020! We are proud to have 100% customer satisfaction, and we look forward to the
impact Benefiscent will make as it grows.


We donate 20% of every purchase to our nonprofit partners for cancer research.  

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