Three Essex County Middle School students: Jada Bednar and Ellie Ghingo, seventh-graders from Verona, and Ava Tsettos, a West Caldwell seventh-grader, not only turned a passion project that evolved during the pandemic into a business, launching JAÉ Candles and Co., they donated a portion of their Spring 2021 proceeds to Team Zoey, a New Jersey-based organization dedicated to raising money for the Progeria Research Foundation, which is seeking to find a cure for kids suffering from the rare progressive, genetic disorder. And, recently, the girls announced a partnership with Greens Do Good, the first social enterprise vertical farm in New Jersey where all the profits support individuals with Autism. JAÉ Candles and Co. created an exclusive scent for the partnership with all proceeds benefiting this organization.
"We love being able to give back, which is why our business' motto is 'spreading love and light one candle at a time,'" says the trio.
During quarantine, curiosity and boredom led to the trio experimenting with different fragrances and learning how to make candles. Although they had no prior experience with candle-making, the friends discovered they enjoyed crafting together and began selling their candles door-to-door, through word of mouth and via social media. Later, after gaining support from the community, they began selling on Etsy and Facebook, as well as at Montclair’s Pink Bungalow, Jaipure Yoga, and more. By early October 2020, the girls had sold more than 1,000 candles.
Today, almost a year later, they have launched a website, jaecandles.com, sold more than 2,000 candles, and are working to release their Fall 2021 Collection.