Manitoba

Winnipeg candle-making duo gaining international exposure

A Winnipeg candle-making duo is seeing sales rise and their products light up in the hands of Hollywood stars.

Coal and Canary Candle Company products to be featured in celebrity gift bags at Academy Awards

A Winnipeg candle-making duo is seeing sales rise and their products light up in the hands of Hollywood stars. 1:59

A Winnipeg candle-making duo is seeing sales rise and their products light up in the hands of Hollywood stars.

Amanda Buhse and Tom Jansen recently became business partners but have been friends for years.
Winnipeg duo Tom Jansen and Amanda Buhse formed Coal and Canary Candle Company three months ago. Their products will be included in celebrity gift bags at the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards. (CBC)

Jansen and Buhse formed Coal and Canary Candle Company three months ago.

Buhse's background in graphic design and marketing helped come up with the brand.

The candle's are eight ounces in weight.

"Tom and I hand pour each and every one," said Buhse.
Amanda Buhse and Tom Jansen "hand pour each and every one," says Buhse. (Courtney Rutherford/CBC)

They're a blend of soy and vegetable wax, with an unconventional wide wooden wick — something that sets them apart from the competition.

"A lot of retailers don't go for that, we don't want to skimp out on that," said Jansen.

They've made a 1,000 candles thus far and have paid for everything out of pocket.

Hollywood appeal

One day a few weeks ago Buhse decided to contact a company in Los Angeles that creates celebrity gift bags for the Oscars and Grammy Awards.

"I Randomly sent them an email and said, 'Hey, this is who we are,'" said Buhse.

The hope was to get Canary and Coal candle products in the gift bags earmarked for celebrities. 
Buhse and Jansen will be working tirelessly over the next couple weeks to make the order of 270 sets of three candles being shipped to Hollywood for the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards. (Courtney Rutherford/CBC)

A few weeks later they received a response. The small Winnipeg company, that has only been selling candles for six weeks, was asked if they could fill an order for both award shows.

"I don't think I've ever been so nervous in my life," said Jansen. "It's a mixture of the most excited, mixed up with the most stressed out you've ever felt."

Buhse and Jansen will be spending the next couple weeks creating 270 sets of three candles that will be destined for gift bags to be doled out to the stars.

"The first one is 'swag bag and jet lag,' 'fake lashes and camera flashes,' and third is .. 'celebrities day during award show day," said Jansen. "More relative to [those] with a sense of humour."

Both Buhse and Jansen have other full time jobs and expect they'll be burning the midnight oil to finish the order that has to be ready in the next three weeks.  

"We're both so passionate about our brand and its product," said Buhse. "We feel so confident in it. We'd like to see it soar to new heights ... and we'll go wherever it takes us."