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Supporting Cancer Patients With Functional Gift Boxes, A Founder’s Story with Liz Benditt

Liz Benditt is a senior marketing executive with 25+ years of professional experience. After enduring 4 different cancers over the course of 8 years, Benditt leveraged her experience as both a marketer and a cancer patient to launch www.TheBalmBox.com – a site featuring functional self-care and gift packages for cancer patients. In addition to her role as President and CEO of The Balm Box, Liz teaches undergraduate marketing courses at The University of Kansas School of Business. She is a public school and community service advocate, serving on leadership boards for National Charity League for Greater Kansas City and The Mainstream Coalition. Liz lives in the Kansas City metro with her husband, two teenagers, and one terrible dog.


Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
I was born in Southern California but moved around a lot as a kid – we lived in San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago, and State College Pennsylvania by the time I graduated from High School. As a result, I am quite adept at walking into a room of strangers and walking out with friends. I earned my bachelor’s degree at Boston University and moved to Orlando Florida to work for Disney for a few years before heading back to California to earn my master’s degree at the University of Southern California. While I was earning my MBA, my parents relocated to the Kansas City metro area and my mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I wanted to be closer to her, so after graduation, I accepted a position at Hallmark.com and moved to Kansas City. My friends in Los Angeles thought I was crazy to move to “flyover” country – but within a few years of moving to the Midwest, I met my husband and had a few kids. I adore our community and cannot imagine living anywhere else.


How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I have had cancer 4 times in the last 10 years. The first diagnosis came when my kids were toddlers, the most recent when they were teens. Therefore, I know a thing or two about what it is like to be a working mom and patient, undergo painful surgeries and treatments, and receive a lot of well-meaning but useless stuff. I was especially miserable in 2017 while undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer. I needed functional tools – like ice packs and lotions – not pink t-shirts and overcooked lasagnas. I wondered: where is the website featuring soothing supplies and gifts? It didn’t exist. In March 2020, I took the plunge from FT employee to entrepreneur and started developing The Balm Box. We surveyed over 500 patients and gift buyers as part of our business development efforts. The research fully supported my experience – there is a huge disconnect between what cancer patients want and need and what caregivers are gifting. TheBalmBox.com launched in Fall 2020 and already has caught the attention of NBC, USA Today, and Authority Magazine. Curated for cancer patients, by a cancer patient. TheBalmBox.com features functional and beautiful self-care and gift boxes for cancer patients.


What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
Never underestimate the power of “Word of Mouth” – our first customers all found The Balm Box through referrals, not through paid advertising. You never know which friend, associate, or relative will want/need your product or service! You will always be the best advocate for your business – don’t be afraid to “sell” to your inner circle.
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