Genevieve Allen Hearn
Lauren and Janie are twin sisters that attend NKEC High School. They are also budding entrepreneurs who had a fundraising idea that turned into a full-fledged company. They spend their free time hand-crafting small-batch gifts: eco-friendly scented candles, bath salts, linen sprays, and room diffusers, donating 2% of sales to the Atlantic Kidney Foundation. With the holidays around the corner, this is the perfect time to introduce you to Noël & Co. and the young co-founders behind the business.
The Grapevine (GV): How did Noël & Co. get its start?
Lauren & Janie (L&J): Our desire to go to Greece was the inspiration behind Noël & Co. Our school announced that Greece would be the next destination in March of 2022. When given the opportunity, we couldn’t let it slip away. We have been dreaming of going to Greece ever since we finished the Percy Jackson and the Olympians book series. With the lack of fundraisers due to Covid, we knew we needed to devise a plan to get there ourselves. Thus, Noël & Co. was born!
GV: What products do you sell at Noël & Co.? How can our readers find your products?
L&J: We focus on making eco-friendly as well as socially conscious products like hand-poured virgin coconut soy wooden wick candles. Our candles are vegan, paraben, phthalate, and cruelty free. We also offer linen sprays, reed diffusers and all natural bath salts. Our linen sprays double as a body spray because they are 100% skin safe.
We have a permanent placement at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market which we attend every Saturday morning. Additionally, our products are now also available at girliture, Wild Lily, and Lane & Co. Finally, we will also be attending some Christmas markets in the coming months. You can follow us on social media to find out where we will pop up next!
GV: As students in high school, how do you carve out time for a business on the side?
L&J: We’ve made a great effort to manage our time wisely and have a work life balance. Unless we have a school deadline the following day, we dedicate one to two hours an evening for the business. Saturday mornings are spent at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market and Sundays are used for restocking inventory. We also divide and conquer! Janie has mastered the hands-on work, and Lauren prepares the candles by cleaning jars and centering wicks. We have also worked diligently to improve our processes. For example, where we once used the double boiler method to pour candles, we now employ a couple of presto pots. This change has meant we have been able to increase our production by over five times. If the business continues to grow as it has been, we may even consider bringing on another candle maker in the future.
GV: What are some contributing factors that got your business off the ground? Do you have any mentors or support systems that have propped you up?
L&J: Our mom was and remains our biggest supporter in this endeavour. Mom has collaborated with us on all of the branding and graphics, as well as our website updates, social media, and photography. As soon as we mentioned candles, she was on board and willing to provide everything we needed to pursue Noël & Co.
We have had other support as well. Small business owners Michele Beaton from Wild Lily and Tanya Owen from girliture have very generously shared with us their business advice from their years of experience. They even provided us with the opportunity to carry our candles in their shops! Our uncle Jason, being an accounting technician, offered to set up our bookkeeping. We received some great social media advice from Nancy O’Halloran of Braveheart First Aid. And on top of that, we also practiced our marketing sales pitch approximately a million times on our mom’s friends, to prepare ourselves for craft markets! (We’re extremely shy, and we knew that talking at the markets would be the most difficult part for us!)
Basically, we have not hesitated to reach out into our community for support and guidance, and we are always looking for ways to educate ourselves further. We know we still have a lot to learn!
GV: Where would you like to go from here? Do you see Noël & Co. as being a business you continue into your adult life?
L&J: When we first worked on our business plan, we discussed a six-year agenda where we would continue working through the last two years of high school, and then the next four years of university. Since Noël & Co. has exceeded all of our expectations, we’re now unsure exactly what the new agenda will be! We have surprised ourselves by how much we love all aspects of the business, so we’re looking forward to discovering what comes next. Overall, we both have other plans in mind (Janie would like to be a nurse, and Lauren would like to be an author), but we hope that whatever the future holds, that Noël & Co will be a part of it!
For more information on Noël & Co. visit noelandco.ca or find them on Facebook @NoelandCoStudio.
Photo courtesy of Noël & Co.