Hi! I’m Mark. In 2014, I was talking via Skype to my brother Sheldon (living in the Philippians at the time with his 2 children) and during that conversation I believe God spoke to me through him. Sheldon told me that he couldn’t count the number of times he failed to sleep at night. This totally caught me off guard and I asked him if he had cancer or another disease. Sheldon explained that he wasn’t physically sick, just haunted by the fear of who was going to take care of his son Soron when he died. Soron is Sheldon’s son with autism. During that same conversation, Sheldon challenged me to develop a business model to employ adults with special needs. They kicked around a couple ideas, but my Bride of 32 years, Kathy, recommended doing something dog related.
Later, Sheldon and his children returned to the US and lived with us for 6 months. During this time, I truly began to understand the reality of life with a special needs family member. Sheldon continued to share with me several concerns related to raising Soron; concerns I never thought of before.
As a result, I created the company EPIC in 2015 to start making this dream of creating a company focused on creating careers for adults with special needs a reality. I continued to work for corporate America and prayed to God for wisdom and guidance in all aspects related to EPIC. During this journey, God provided many answers and directions on the overall business concept and details others had never considered.
One of the first challenges was to create a treat dogs loved. It took 2 years to find a treat dogs would choose over their favorite treat at home, but it was worth the wait. Of dogs given the opportunity, over 90% choose Wigglewow treats over their favorite treats at home. Once I had the secret recipe, I attempted to lock in the name EPIC as a trademark for dog treats. Unfortunately, another company received approval just a few months earlier. That is why I created Wigglewow, a doing business as (DBA) for EPIC, LLC in 2018. Another key challenge was mass producing treats efficiently with staff of various abilities. Unlike some other businesses where the owner looks at all their existing process and forces an adult with special needs to succeed in one of them. Wigglewow looks at each process and the abilities of the epic staff and brainstorms how existing processes can be tweaked allowing more Epic Chefs the ability to be successful at that workstation.
Wigglewow production began August 10th, 2019 when Epic Chef Dante successfully created over 250 treats. Before that, Dante had unsuccessfully attempted to get a job for 5 years since graduating from high school. In a step of faith, I quit corporate America on September 30th, 2019 to work Wigglewow full time. Wigglewow continued to grow and before the pandemic, had 9 Epic Chefs and dozens of Epic Home Delivery Professionals; individuals personally delivering Wigglewow treats to customer’s homes.
Wigglewow will move to a new location in JTown, KY later this year providing more space for Epic Chefs to work while keeping a social distance and an opportunity for customers to come experience the magic that happens in the “Dog House” (Wigglewow production area).
I pray you will join us on this EPIC journey. In addition, I ask for prayers as Wigglewow pursues its goal to become the largest employer of adults with special needs in America by August 10, 2029.