After eight years of standing at the helm of Keap alongside Harry, Stephen has transitioned out of his day-to-day role with the company and onwards to new adventures.
This is Stephen writing to you.
You may know me as that name (“Stephen from Keap Candles”) that showed up in your email inbox from time to time, or perhaps we met in person at some point over the last eight years, or maybe you’re my Mom (hi Mom 👋😉).
Today I’m announcing that I’ve formally transitioned out of my day-to-day role with Keap. In this update, I want to share a little bit more about my decision, what’s behind it, and what it means—especially since many of you have been following along with our candle journey for many years.
In the summer of 2015, Harry and I set out to start a better candle company that prioritized connection. It has been almost eight years since then, and we have both matured, grown, and changed in countless ways. Certainly, a few more gray hairs have started to appear!
The Kickstarter video that started the Keap adventure back in 2015! (Harry, left and Stephen, right)
Last year was a big year of change and growth for me personally. Changes in my personal life outside of Keap led me to reassess my current and future personal needs in life—particularly the financial ones. This outer change also led me to reflect inwardly and to acknowledge my readiness for other changes in my life, including my work life. All said, it was a year where much of my sense of reality ruptured, and from this, I unexpectedly gained a deeper perspective with regard to what matters most to me right now and what I should prioritize accordingly.
While the need for change can be scary to accept, I felt immense support and compassion from Harry and the Keap team to explore these open-ended questions freely.
Making a mess in our first studio!
With that, Harry and I looked open-mindedly at the new things I found myself wanting to prioritize, and at various options that might help meet these personal and professional needs. Taking into account the urgency of some of my needs, alongside our deep understanding of Keap’s vision and business model, it became clear that the best plan for me and for Keap would be for me to seek a new work adventure outside of Keap.
Of course, this was a tough thing to consider at first, having been part of every step of Keap’s story for the past eight years. Yet as I gave this plan some time to settle within me, I sensed with a deep intuition that this was the right decision for me and for Keap.
Some of our earliest candle experiments in 2015
BRAVE NEW CANDLE WORLD
Thus, as Harry and the team have already taken over all my responsibilities in recent weeks, I have been able to start thinking about what comes next for me professionally. Since Harry and I are often told we have blended into the same person, our hope is that no one will really notice that anything changes. ;)
Can you tell which is Stephen and which is Harry?
More seriously, we have invested a huge amount of our team’s energy in the past few years to enshrine clear systems, documentation, job roles, cultural norms, and more. The result is that Keap has an incredible company culture and capacity to adapt, and my transition has been a simple and easy process. I will continue to help guide the long-term path of the company alongside Harry, and Harry and I will continue to clarify our long-term plans there together, just without me working day-to-day within the business.
Harry is an incredible human and leader, and though we’ll both miss leading the company together, his capability to grow in new ways, and to lead with vision and care continues to astound me. Our incredible team (pictured below) has already coalesced around new responsibilities and shown their hallmark compassion and intellectual rigor in enthusiastically embracing this moment.
I do not know exactly what I am doing next, but I feel excited to see where the path of life leads me. Starting and growing Keap has been a privilege. It has allowed me to learn about myself, deepen my understanding of what matters to me, and connect with a beautiful community of folks who appreciate similar values. I am forever grateful for this chapter. In fact, my first step with a little more time on my hands has been to enroll in a coaching qualification (Integral Unfoldment) connected with my passion for deepening self-understanding, and perhaps one day, directly guiding others in their own life journey.
My ability to follow my heart to create Keap, and now to follow my next crossroads in life onwards to something new, has ultimately all been thanks to you, our incredible community of Keapers. Whether you’ve been a longtime subscriber or helped us in other ways, I wouldn’t have the luxury to make this decision for myself in such an open, transparent manner without your years of support.
Keap’s success is a beautiful example of how we collectively bring one another's dreams into reality, and how thriving, mutually-supportive communities fuel us toward a better future. On that note, please feel free to “Add me to your professional network on LinkedIn” (no that’s not the better future, LOL!), and if I can ever be of service to you in pursuing your own passions and dreams please reach out to me. Likewise, if you hear of any roles where someone with a fun mix of deep humanity, community-building, and analytic know-how would be a good fit, please refer me their way!
Thank you for your wonderful support and confidence in everything we’ve done. And thank you to Harry for eight magical years, and good luck in all that the future holds.