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Meet Ada Ify and Ejiroghene of North of Thirty

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ada Ify and Ejiroghene. Them and their team share their story with us below:

We’ve known each other since we were born and maintained our closeness growing up. We both enjoy creating experiences for others. Ejiro enjoys the art of creating stories in media and entertainment, and Ada enjoys creating hospitable experiences for family and friends. Naturally, there was an alignment between the two of us in wanting to create transformative experiences for others; it was just a matter of what medium or vessel (no pun intended, lol) we would communicate this through.

In the spring of 2020, Ejiro introduced Ada to a line of candles that she was obsessed with. Ada remembered thinking how uniquely strong and memorable the scents were and how they evoked a sense of relaxation simply through burning them. Given the chaos that was ensuing in the world at the time (e.g., a global pandemic, strict lockdown mandates, a racial reckoning), we loved that these candles allowed us to practice self-care by providing a calming and relaxing environment.

It was at that moment that we recognized the therapeutic properties candles have in elevating one’s mood and promoting a sense of well-being. We began to discuss how we could create a similar restorative experience not only for ourselves but for others, and thus, North of Thirty was born.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
We created this business in the middle of the pandemic with zero experience in business operations, let alone an e-commerce candle business. All we knew was that we enjoyed burning candles and creating experiences for family and friends. We both figured it shouldn’t be too hard to embark on this venture, but we were sadly mistaken, lol.

Firstly, candle making is much like a science and there are a number of variables that can impact the quality, performance, and scent throw of a candle (e.g., wax type, wicks type, the use of dye, diameter of candle vessels,–and that’s just to name a few!) So in order for us to confidently put a safe product on the market, we underwent SEVERAL rounds of testing, which impacted the timelines we developed for ourselves at the beginning of this venture. Further, we source our materials from different manufacturers and vendors, and the pandemic caused production delays for many of these vendors. This affected our own production and consequently forced us to push out our launch date.

Lastly, learning the tricks and trade of operating a business was also a learning curve. We built North of Thirty from the ground up, with no blueprints, roadmaps, or processes in hand to guide us. We are a two-woman show. We do everything from customer service, accounting, website development, product photography, and marketing just to name a few. Despite these different challenges we had to navigate, we have learned tremendously in the process and improved our business acumen.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
North of Thirty is a luxury and lifestyle candle brand that specializes in creating high-quality experiences through candles. Our philosophy is “luxury because you deserve it”. Our mission is to create experiences of elegance and great comfort for the everyday person.

Oftentimes, society gate keeps luxurious experiences for the selected few (e.g., those deemed worthy or those who can afford it, etc.). But at North of Thirty, we believe everyone, regardless of background or status, deserves access to high-quality experiences. We have built a catalogue of products at different sizes and in different bodies of vessels while maintaining the same quality experience for each product.

Our candles create an immersive experience by including a creamy coconut soy wax that is blended with a complex arrangement of aromatic scents, infused with essential oils, and hand-poured into a sleek vessel. All of which surrounds a wooden wick that crackles as it burns, reminiscent of wood burning in a fireplace or a campfire. Every aspect of this candle was created with our customers in mind: from the vessel and wax to the fragrances and the wick, even down to the velvet packaging. We created our products because we believe that high-quality sensory experiences are what our customers deserve. Our goal is that as our customers burn their North of Thirty candles, it will create a soothing, memorable, and relaxing experience.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
Firstly, plan for contingencies! As we previously mentioned, the impacts of COVID-19 heavily affected our production times. This taught us to build those risks into our processes to limit the impact of external factors out of our control. For example, we learned to consistently monitor our inventory and order supplies in advance of our stock running low.

Most importantly, the COVID-19 crisis taught us the importance of self-care within our wellness regimen. The pandemic caused stress, anxiety, and even depression for many, and research reveals that self-care practices can help improve one’s mental health. As we previously mentioned, we understood the therapeutic properties of burning candles. However, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that candle-making provided the same therapeutic escape for us as well.

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North of Thirty

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