We had the good fortune of connecting with Collin, Ryan, and Austin Gill and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Collin, Ryan, and Austin, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Frères Branchiaux Candle Co. is an African-American family owned home fragrance company that sell candles with a conscience. Frères Branchiaux Candle Co. is an award-winning artisanal candle company based in the Washington, DC Metro area. We three brothers, Collin (16), Ryan (13), and Austin Gill (10) created and manage our growing company. In October 2017, we wanted more allowance to purchase video games. Our mom told us that we had maxed out our toy allowance and to either “get a job or start a business” if we wanted more money. We decided to start a business! We have designed a line of vegan and eco-friendly candles that can make anywhere feel like home. We also donate 10% of our profits to homeless shelters nationwide. We decided to launch our business to build generational wealth, provide local employment opportunities, and support the community through philanthropy.
Customers use our product line of candles, room sprays, diffusers, and bath salts to destress, to decompress, and to be inspired. They are often used when our customers are reading, meditating, napping, taking a bath, creating a calm atmosphere for work, and relaxing after a long hard day. With our products, we inspire others to create self care routines . Every month, our donations house at least family–and customers experience satisfaction in knowing that their purchase has a meaning beyond profit.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Why we are different: we a mission based company whose products serve a double purpose. Our products are cleaner burning, vegan, and lush. Not only do we sell home fragrance, we sell hope, courage, and inspiration. Others are inspired by our story to persevere, take big leaps, and keep forging ahead. If we, an African-American family of five led by the 3 youngest sons to start a mission oriented business that has helped over 4100 families out of homelessness; then they can find courage to do the thing that they have been dreaming of, putting off, or scared of saying “yes” to do. At present, there is no other candle company similar to us.
We have had many challenges over the years. During COVID, we had to learn more about how to convert customers online since most of our revenue was in person events. We had challenges with distribution and fulfillment We have been understaffed. Through all of these challenges, we have reached out to mentors, searched online, failed, triumphed, had twists, had turns–but we never gave up. We want the world to know that the world to know no matter your age, your background, or your circumstances—you can find your way through. There is a path to success–you just have to keep searching and never give up.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Collin: Venice Beach. I just learned how to surf so I really like being able to go to the beach to practice–and I just really like going to the beach to relax and have fun.
Austin: Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Hollywood–because they have everybody! Ninja Turtles, Beyoncè, everybody!!!
Ryan: Walk of Fame in Hollywood. I like the vibe, searching for my favorite celebrities on the stars, the food, and the wax museum.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We would like to dedicate our shout-out to our mom, Celena Gill. She manages our business, she is our homeschool teacher, she makes sure we eat healthy food every day (and not just snacks all day), and she is a great mom. We couldn’t do this without her!
Celena Gill Tamera Darden Photography Blachwood Photography Chanel Jaali Photography