Hi Frères Branchiaux Family!
Recently, mom of Frères Branchiaux (and co-founder) Celena Gill was selected as a How I Built This Fellow! If you haven't heard of this award-winning podcast by Guy Raz, "it features the stories behind some of the world's best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built." As a part of the fellowship, our company was featured in an episode! Please listen HERE.
Mom also had the opportunity to pitch for a $50,000 non-equity grant--meaning that we can do whatever we need to do with the money without giving up any ownership as a condition of winning. We find out the results on May 27th, the last day of the annual How I Built This Summit (At Home). We're excited and hope that we win!
We wanted to share part of her pitch with you all. Although we started this business to earn money for toys, games, and Nerf guns--we ended up giving back to the community through donations and providing employment. And, we found out that we did something else along the way. Read the last part of her pitch below:
"While all of what I’ve said is important, this is what we are really about:
We've inspired millions of people. What I thought was just a way for my boys to make extra money and keep their hands out of my pockets, became a movement to inspire people to do their best, to try again, and to keep going. In these last four years, our business has almost failed many times.
But the common thread through it all: we did not give up. Every step of the way, we inspired someone else to pick up their baton and keep going. You could call us a Unicorn business. How many black boys do you know that make vegan candles? Well, now a lot of them do because we set the possibility. And that is actually what we have become. We are the possibility of what can be. When you see us, you see images of children, black boys, a family, a mom, dad, and the difficulties of every single thing a small business could possibly go through. Can you imagine being someone’s possibility? Can you imagine being the inspiration that helped them get over that hill? That helped them get through that valley? That helped them get up the next day and try it all over again? Not only have we planted the seed for generational wealth, we have also become the possibility for those who had a hard time seeing their own dreams.
Yes, these candles smell good—but we are not just a candle company. Although we have given so much to help house the homeless, we’ve also provided inspiration by sharing our struggles and our triumphs. In doing so, we’ve made a much greater impact on the world. We are not only a candle company. We are the personification of a possibility. Even being here, as a How I Built this Fellow, is an example of a possibility come to life. With the $50,000 grant, you all will help us continue to show up, show out, and show others that it can be done."
Thank you all for helping us become more than just a candle company.