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The smell of success: Two best friends launch small candle business in Halifax

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Two best friends from Nova Scotia are combining their experiences of living on Canada’s East Coast and their love for candles into a small business.

Becca Williams and Jess Douglas founded Alben Lane Candle Co. in Halifax in 2020.

Douglas says it was always a dream of theirs to start their own business.

“But we never thought it would actually happen and then it just sort of happened during the pandemic,” she says.

It all started after Williams sent her a text saying, “I’d kind of want to start a candle company.”

“And I had already been thinking about it because we both loved candles our whole lives, we always are going to local stores, or to Winners, we’re always buying them for each other, for ourselves, so it just made sense and we wanted to try making them for a while,” says Douglas.

Williams handles Alben Lane’s social media and marketing while Douglas hand pours the candles.

Jess Douglas hand pours the candles at Alben Lane Candle Co. in Halifax. (Source: Facebook/Alben Lane Candle Co.)

The duo say people shouldn’t be afraid to mix business and friendship.

“Because we’re almost like sisters, you kind of get over that hump of being afraid to talk to each other about stuff,” Williams says.

“I feel like whenever there’s a problem with the business or a challenge or something, we’re just so used to each other that it’s like, all right, this is what we’re going to do, we’re going to figure it out.”

Williams adds it’s simply about spending the day with her best friend.

“I know that sounds really sappy, but it’s like the most fun thing ever.”

Becca Williams and Jess Douglas of Alben Lane Candle Co. are pictured. (Source: Facebook/Alben Lane Candle Co.)

The pair started their line of products with candles and have since expanded their business to include other scented products.

“We kind of thought about how else can we take these scents that we love, and then our customers hopefully love, and kind of share them in other ways in our home,” says Williams.

The first step was moving on to reed diffusers.

“Jumping into a new product entirely was the challenge in and of itself, but (it) was a great way to start because .. it just sits there on someone’s counter, in someone’s bathroom, and just produces the scent without much effort on their end, so we launched that first,” Williams says.

The friends then moved on to room sprays and rollerball perfumes, which they say they are “really excited” about.

Douglas recommends people buy simply based on their personal preferences.

“With the spray, it dispenses a set amount of product every time you spray, so you can spray it on clothes, you can spray your hair, you can spray your body, so it’s a little bit versatile that way,” she says.

Rollerball scents are pictured by Alben Lane Candle Co. (Source: Facebook/Alben Lane Candle Co.)

“But then the rollerball is a little bit more discrete, so you can dispense just a tiny amount and rub it in wherever you want on your body. It lasts a lot longer because you use less product with it … so if you want to be not as overwhelming and super-scented when you come into a room, the rollerball is a great option, and then the spray you can just go crazy with it.”

“The Cottage” scent is their best-seller.

The Cottage candle by Alben Lane Candle Co. is pictured. (Source: Facebook/Alben Lane Candle Co.)

The Alben Lane Candle Co. website describes it as having notes of “spruce, musk, amber and vetiver for a cozy and woodsy vibe.”

Williams and Douglas say it is “by far” their favourite as well and is named after their favourite place on earth.

“We just spent our entire childhoods together with our families at the cottage and kind of all of our favourite memories are surrounded by this one place, and so when we were thinking what to name a scent that smells like pine trees and all of this, it was just in our heads the most obvious answer,” says Williams.

“Just looking at that and knowing that’s our best-seller, knowing it’s the most fond memories that we have some from that place just means a lot.”

“The Palm” is another one of their favourites and is inspired by the four years Williams spent living in Dubai as a child.

The Palm candle by Alben Lane Candle Co. is pictured. (Source: Facebook/Alben Lane Candle Co.)

“Jess’ family would come and visit me all the time which was amazing, and so it’s kind of inspired by those scents. It’s a little bit more deep, more rich, more of a unique scent with frankincense, myrrh, oud and those notes from the Middle East.”

Alben Lane Candle Co. products can be purchased on their website.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Crystal Garrett.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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