The idea came to 13-year-old Ethan Heffernan after attending the Indian Trail market with his mom, Leslie Heffernan. There were not a lot of vendors at the market, so why not start his own small business doing something he already enjoyed and join the other local entrepreneurs at the outdoor event, he said.
Ethan and his mom had been making candles at home as Christmas gifts since the last holiday season, and, shortly after the Indian Trail market visit, NorthSide Candle Co. was up and running by July.
The Heffernans live on the north side of Spokane, and the new company makes candles, hence the straightforward name for the small operation. “I am a small-business owner making houses smell better,” Ethan says on his website northsidecandlecompany.com.
NorthSide Candle Co. ingredients are purchased from Candle Science. Ethan’s candles are made from biodegradable Golden Soy Wax, and the wicks are clean-burning cotton. The fragrances for the candles are from essential oils, and each batch of candles is handcrafted.
“Me and my mom make the candles,” Ethan said over the phone Tuesday afternoon. “My dad comes home every day for emotional support – and he makes the stickers, too.”
One batch of candles takes about 20 minutes to make, Ethan said, which is about four 8-ounce candles or two 16-ounce candles. He works for about 1½ hours at a time and spreads the production over 1½ days.
The current bestselling candles are A Walk in the Woods, Fraser Fir, Sasquatch Citrus and Pumpkin Harvest, which is fitting because they are inspired by the familiar and comforting scents of the Pacific Northwest. The first two scents are Ethan’s favorites.
Other candle scents include Speakeasy, Black Currant & Absinthe, Cabin Fever, Falling Leaves, Sasquatch Sighting, Wild Vanilla, Drunken Apple and Pomegranate Bitters, with the price range from $4-$17 for the 4- to 16-ounce candles.
NorthSide Candles are available for purchase online, but most sales have been at markets, including Indian Trail, in Spangle and Post Falls and at Wonder Saturday Market, where I first met Ethan working solo, then with his mom a few weeks later.
“Sales are going really well. We didn’t think we’d get this far since we just started in July,” Ethan said. “This is where we want to be – where we’re at right now.”
What does Ethan do for fun when he is not making candles and running NorthSide Candle? “I like to play video games, but you can only play so many video games during this pandemic,” he said.
“It has been really fun – Ethan is a super-great kid, and he is usually up for anything,” Leslie Heffernan said during the phone interview. “He likes the adventure of it, and it has been really fun getting to spend this time with him.
“I also really love watching him interact with the people at the market and build this little community. I’m super proud of him. Ethan hasn’t even decided what to do with the money. He’s saving it and reinvesting.”
But NorthSide Candle is beyond money for Ethan. “I like spending time with you, Mom,” he said, eliciting from Leslie, “Awww, that’s sweet. That’s really sweet.”
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