Written by Autumn Fehr, RRC Polytech, Creative Communications Intern
As we celebrate our 150th birthday, The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce is excited to celebrate our rich history by sharing the stories of our members. We hope that by sharing these stories, we can inspire and engage current and future members to continue building a strong and vibrant business community in Winnipeg.
A fresh candle’s comforting and wholesome smell can be everything you need to cheer you up.
The Winnipeg staple, Coal and Canary, started as a passion project between two friends out of a kitchen in 2014. Co-founder Amanda Buhse and her best friend at the time needed an excuse to hang out more often, and he started teaching her how to make candles. They started posting their candle creations on Instagram, and stores began reaching out, wanting to purchase them.
In September 2015, Amanda took a leap of faith and left her full-time job as a graphic designer, the work she had been doing for the last 12 years and pursued entrepreneurship with Coal and Canary.
Candles are an old-school item that has been around for centuries. Although the candles at Coal and Canary are still made traditionally, their marketing is anything but.
When you spot a Coal and Canary candle in store, its modern, vibrant packaging and fresh new scents that you can’t find on the shelves of any other retailer will catch your attention.
“The inspiration when we first started was trying not just to be that candle that’s a vanilla or lavender candle on the shelf, and you have no idea who made it. There’s no personality behind it. It didn’t have a story or connection behind it. So we wanted to try and change that and create products that spoke to who we were as people and put ourselves into a candle. So when people buy the product, they are buying a piece of us and bringing us into their home with them,” said Amanda.
Amanda’s favourite scents are their coffee candles, the “All I want for Christmas” candle that smells like a fir tree, and her favourite summer scent is “Bikini Strings and Palm Springs,” a mixed scent of cucumber and melon.
Their unique scents and out-of-the-box names make Coal and Canary products and branding stand out from other candle brands.
“For us, it’s a way to connect with people through candles. I’ve always said that connecting is first, and candles are secondary,” said Amanda.
From the beginning, Coal and Canary have kept the spirit of having fun in what they do.
“We want to create a product that people can experience. We want them to leave feeling a little bit lighter or happier after they burn our candle than before they lit it,” said Amanda.
Amanda describes her and her 15 creative employees as passionate, hardworking, and fun.
“They really and truly care about the company and the brand. They are perfect walking examples of who we are as a company, and they embody every value that the company shares,” said Amanda.
Coal and Canary joined The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce in 2017, and Amanda joined the board of directors in 2021.
Amanda describes herself as a huge advocate for and doing business in Winnipeg. Joining the board was a way to take it one step further and share how wonderful the Winnipeg business community is.
“Winnipeg is an amazing place to have a business…. the business community and the community, in general, want to lift you up and succeed,” said Amanda.
Since she joined The Chamber, Amanda said it has been fantastic for her business, helping with the bottom line, connecting with the community, and spreading brand awareness.
For anyone wanting to join The Chamber, Amanda says, don’t hesitate.
“I’ve seen what it does for businesses… Being an entrepreneur can be very lonely, and it can sometimes feel like you are alone on this deserted island. Being a part of The Chamber gave me that community, a piece I felt was missing before I joined,” said Amanda.
Something new is coming to Coal and Canary. Starting in May, candle lovers can book a candle-making class. Check out Coal and Canary on Instagram or sign up for their newsletter to learn more.
Coal and Canary candles can be purchased at its new location by McNally Robinson at The Forks or online. Better yet, you can WIN a Coal and Canary candle by entering our 150th Birthday celebration contest on Instagram, or by joining us for our Party on the Plaza at True North Square on Tuesday, June 13, 2023!
*Photos provided by Coal and Canary
At the end of the day, it’s all about your business. You want to see your business succeed and grow, and that’s why we’re here.
Providing a platform to help local businesses in Winnipeg thrive is what we stand for – whether it’s advocating for you, connecting you with the right people at the right time or setting you up with the support and programs you need to grow.
CLICK HERE to join The Chamber today!