By Leslie Lagerstrom
Catherine Hinz was in the spare bedroom of her home where she stored inventory for her business when a delivery truck pulled into view. “I looked out the window and could not believe my eyes,” she said. “The driver was unloading three pallets with 2,000 boxes of product—it literally took up three car lengths in front of my house.” After painstakingly hauling the entire shipment up three flights of stairs to her attic, she knew her company, Beyond Words Co., needed its own space.
Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, Beyond Words designs and ships sympathy care packages to support individuals during times of grief, loss and difficult life transitions. The company offers goods that promote comfort, nourishment and rest for the body and mind. Within each box, recipients find items such as herbal teas, aromatherapy products, therapeutic rice pillows, candles, soaps, chocolate and mints, many of which are locally sourced.
The idea for her business was born when Catherine experienced her own deep grief after the end of a relationship. Attending support groups, she found a common theme of discussion was the experience of profound isolation. Driving home from a session one evening, she decided there had to be a way to let people know others were thinking about them during particularly hard times. Thus, she created Beyond Words.
For over four years, Catherine ran the company as an online business out of her home, but in January of 2023, she made the move to a brick-and-mortar establishment on St. Paul’s historic Grand Avenue. “I could have easily run Beyond Words out of a warehouse, but that did not seem right. Grief is a natural human experience, not something to be tucked away out of sight. Putting my business in that type of space would have represented the exact opposite of what I am trying to achieve. Beyond Words boxes are about connection, reaching out to people in a way that acknowledges their pain and lets them know they are not alone.”
Visitors to the shop cannot miss the tranquil environment she has brought to fruition. Within the new space, customers can see and touch the products and create their own customized care package if they so wish. In addition, ready-made themed boxes are available to purchase. Having a retail space allows Catherine to introduce guests to local artists who produce some of the products featured in the care packages. It’s also fulfilling her desire to give back to the community by offering a spacious and calm space for meetings after business hours.
Since its founding in 2018, Beyond Words has shipped care packages around the world on behalf of people who want someone to know they are on their mind during some of the most difficult times of their lives. It’s a simple gesture of connection that means the world to recipients. With this new storefront, Beyond Words is shining a light on the importance of acknowledging grief and giving customers the tools to do so in the form of thoughtfully curated care packages.
To learn more about Catherine’s business, visit BeyondWordsCo.com.
Photo credit: Beyond Words Co.
About the Author
Leslie Lagerstrom is an advocate for transgender children and their families. She is a national public speaker on the subject, and her writing has appeared in several anthologies, in addition to being turned into a stage production.
About Publish Her
Publish Her is a female-founded and focused publisher dedicated to elevating the words, writing and stories of women. We are passionate about amplifying the voices of women of color, women with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community. We aim to make publishing an attainable, exciting and collaborative process for all. Publish Her specializes in print-on-demand books, workbooks, journals, magazines and more.