While many young professionals were adjusting to working from home and having to be isolated from their previous routines, two craftsmen from Summerfield, North Carolina saw it as a time to get inspired and create Summerfield Candle Co. Christian Bessey and Samuel Fahnestock, who grew up in Summerfield, NC., came together to build something their hometown could be proud of. An eco-friendly, high quality candle brand that features graphics and designs rooted from the simplistic country town of Summerfield.
The candle market size was valued at 7.15 billion (USD) in 2020 and is projected to double by the year 2030. Christian Bessey (founder) stated that the market size and projected growth was motivating but not the reason they decided to start a candle brand. Christian goes on to break down some of his insight, "Sure, the numbers give reason to believe we could be a part of a growing industry but at the end of the day we love creating and building products. We saw candles as the perfect product we could start a brand around. We plan to expand into more products and merchandise that also represents the great town we are from. Candles have a unique way to set a mood and create an experience for any setting. We set out to create a candle that brings people an experience. Our natural, earthy scents help in that aspect and we use all-natural soy waxes and each candle is hand poured so the quality is premium. Our consumers can trust that they are buying the best soy candle that they can for our price points and that gives them peace of mind when purchasing our products. When I am miles from Summerfield I can light up one of our candles and become centered. At the end of the day there are too many brands to choose from so the more authentic you can be, the better. I truly believe that consumers can feel the quality and character of our Summerfield Candle Co. brand and that was our goal when we started." There are a lot of benefits of growing up in a small town like Summerfield. A tight-knit community offers support and a sense of family. "Summerfield showed me how important family and friends are. When you drive around town you see small businesses being supported and cherished. These small businesses started to put food on the tables of their family and build up a community. I see anyone that also grew up in Summerfield as a part of my family and a part of this brand. Summerfield and small towns also taught me that less is more. There are less distractions that take you away from what is really important and that is the people around you. The COVID-19 pandemic helped in a similar way of eliminating a lot of distractions and allowed the creativity to flow and for Sam and I to put this all together." states Christian.
The two founders have been working together on side projects for years but it was the authenticity they felt in the Summerfield brand that made them put all their focus into this launch. Starting a company during the COVID-19 pandemic brought on issues that they had to navigate such as the supply-chain delays and sourcing issues. All entrepreneurs have to find the good in the early struggles of creating a business and to learn from the lessons that the risks teach you. Christian describes the partner dynamic between him and Sam as a collaborative team between two people with different strengths that lean on each other to get through benchmarks. Christian has leveraged his past sales experience and digital marketing jobs to build their online presence and to get in front of retailers without the need of outside hires or outsourcing. Sam adds, "We haven't shared too much of our story yet online but we look forward to sharing more about our inspirations and what has led us to this point. Right now we just have a lot of work to get done. We have new scents and designs being added as we speak." As pop-up markets and retailers are back open and operating, Summerfield Candle Co. is growing their presence in the local markets as they expand from their online marketplaces. What started as an online brand is now in stores and in local markets