Ignition Fund helped light this candle
A young Island couple’s candle business is on fire since landing a big order from retail giant HomeSense.
Megan and Sage Grady run their burgeoning Lighters Candle Co. from their West Royalty garage in Charlottetown and - thanks to a grant from the provincial government’s Ignition Fund - they’re able to keep up with the growing demand.
“The first year had so many expenses this money allowed us to buy some things we needed and ramp up production,” Megan Grady said.
With the $25,000 Ignition Fund grant they were able to buy two new 150-pound wax melting vats and four tables at the proper height for pouring candles in their workshop.
Cheeky labels set them apart, she explains, adding the “Get Lit” candle is their best seller. Most labels are plays on words and the candles come in standard scents including peppermint and French vanilla, plus unique blends like fireside, a combination of wood smoke and marshmallow.
“They’re a funny but somewhat classy,” Megan said. “People like to give them as a gift.”
Their first deal with HomeSense Canada was struck last year, and then HomeSense U.S. called wanting a few thousands candles every six weeks. Lighters also recently struck a deal with Zumiez skateboard and apparel shop to sell some of their candles and lip balms, some with names that could be considered 'edgy'.
The couple -- she’s 27, he’s 30, and they have two young children -- knew they had an entrepreneurial path to take. He had been working in aerospace technology and she had her bachelor’s degree from UPEI.
“We taught ourselves how to make candles and we started designing logos,” Megan said.
When they applied for the Ignition Fund, they went through the interview process and made their pitch.
“We got out of our interview pitch and we both felt really good,” she said. “When we got the call, it finally felt like people were believing in us and we were getting somewhere. It was a really great feeling.”
The Ignition Fund helps innovative, hard-working entrepreneurs get their business off the ground or prepare to commercialize a product or service. Through Innovation PEI, the provincial government invests seed capital ($25,000) for the winning applicant to turn a venture idea into a tangible, viable business. Ten grants of $25,000 are given each year.
“Ambitious, hard-working entrepreneurs like Megan and Sage show why we are the Mighty Island,” Economic Development and Tourism Minister Chris Palmer said. “Through supports like the Ignition Fund, our government is proud to help Island small business owners turn their big dreams into reality.”