Women Build Hamilton:
Maxine’s Story

Moving into the Putman Family YWCA changed the course of Maxine’s life.

She was one of the first residents to move into the building in the fall of 2021 – and as a result, she “was able to see things build up” as the new, state-of-the art facility became a bustling home for women, gender-diverse people, and families.

In the year since she moved in, Maxine has not only created a community of friends and neighbours in the building, but has been able to nurture her own business – and find a passion for entrepreneurship in the process.

Maxine, 34, is the proud owner of To the Max Wax, a small business that specializes in wax melts and candles. The name was a suggestion from Lilly Pagliacci, a Housing Support Worker at Putman.

“Since I moved here in this building, my business definitely grew,” said Maxine.

As a resident of Putman, Maxine – who lives in one of the 15 units reserved for adults living with developmental disabilities – is able to access wraparound supports that have empowered her to build her business. She has enrolled in YWCA Hamilton’s Power Up program – a free, intensive 10-week training program that includes lectures, mentorship, and business plan support – and has developed a clientele in the building.

Maxine was also able to set up a table at the Ottawa Street sidewalk sale, and is preparing to offer a workshop to seniors focused on making your own tealight candles. She is also able to use Putman’s bright and airy communal spaces to make her max welts and candles, and to spread out her products to show them off during Facebook Live sessions.

“I think Maxine really shows the beauty of this building and being connected with the Y and all the programs we offer,” said Lilly, who has supported Maxine in both her personal and professional life. “It’s amazing to see the network that she’s connected to, and really cool to see how Maxine is part of the community and the opportunities here.”

Life hasn’t always been easy for Maxine. She experienced abuse in her household as a child, and left home when she was 15. Since then, she has relied on her mother-in-law to support her and her 16-year-old son.

Thanks to her move into Putman, Maxine has the support she needs to set goals and aspirations about the future. She would like to open her own business one day, and has plans to expand To the Max Wax as much as possible.

With the support of Putman staff, Maxine has already been able to offer her products for sale at Empire Make Space, a consignment store on Ottawa Street – a major step in her journey to grow her business.

“I went there with confidence, and I had a good feeling it was going to happen – and then it did,” she said.

For Maxine, part of her passion for her business comes from a desire to show others what is possible, no matter what barriers they face.