Success Story

Antoinette Williams

After spending almost all of her savings on cancer treatments and opening a new storefront, she had very little left to support herself. Her $1000 grant let her buy a new computer that opened a whole other world for her business.

Not a usual post-cancer treatment activity, perhaps, but it was important for Antoinette Williams to start her own business for reasons of passion, healing and family. Antoinette grew up in an abusive household in the South, then left to live in Minnesota, and got an elementary education degree from the University of Minnesota. She has worked as a public school counselor for 30 years. On her own, she raised seven children, including six who went to college. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2002 and began extensive chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

She found strength in the healing rituals inspired by her African and Native American heritages. With her children’s support, Antoinette decided to follow her passion and after leaving treatment, open Rituals, a fine soap store where she also offers healing wisdom. In 2007, Antoinette received a MicroGrant that helped her buy a computer which she used to create a website for her business, track business costs and store inventory, and save her original soap recipes.

At age 59, Antoinette is cancer-free and still working part-time as a counselor. She has three part-time employees, including one of her daughters, and reaches new people every day with her necessary luxuries and life advice.