Lighting the Way

Sixteen-year-old Nic Bianchi was an entrepreneur even before he knew what the word meant. At age seven, he sketched a logo without knowing that someday it would represent his company. At age 11, he bought novelty items from Oriental Trading, such as slap bracelets, and sold them to students at school. Then for his 12th birthday, he received a candle-making kit that launched into a full-fledged business. Today, the Papillion-La Vista High School junior owns and operates Bianchi Candle Company, which are handmade, all natural soy-based candles sold in local stores and online.

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Edge: How did you go from a candle-
making kit to turning it into a business?

Nic: I had a request from my sixth grade teacher to make 20 candles. She gave me the jars and $20 per jar and said she wanted them all to have a vanilla scent. That night I told my family I wanted to start a candle business.

Edge: Did you have to do a lot of research to learn how to make candles in bulk?

Nic: I’m a natural mathematician and scientist, so I loved researching all the different types of waxes, wicks, and jars. I’m still using the same jars today as I started with.

Edge: Why did you decide on soy-based candles?

Nic: Because it’s all-natural, doesn’t react to people’s allergies, and burns clean without the black soot. Plus it smells natural and not like chemicals.

Edge: Tell us about the different product lines you have.

Nic: The original candles are called The Wild Worksmen, and that line uses the logo I drew when I was seven. At age 13, I launched the Bianchi Candle, which is a higher-end white candle with very fresh scents. The name Bianchi means “white,” so it fit perfectly. Last summer, I added another line called Yes You Candle, which are inspirational with words such as Joy, Hope, and Bravery. I also do specialty candles, such as Nebraska Strong for the recent floods.

Edge: Where do you make the candles?

Nic: I built my own shop off our garage at home. I bought a commercial wax melter for $3000 three years ago and had it paid off within the first month after purchasing it.

Edge: How many candles can you make at a time?

Nic: I have room in the shop to make 600 candles a day, but it’s built to expand so I could make up to 1500 a day if needed.

Edge: Where do you sell the candles?

Nic: I started out selling them at local craft shows and then got into a few boutiques such as Made in Omaha, Kajamas, The Afternoon, and House of J. They are also sold seasonally at Borsheims, will soon be in Scheels, and my goal is to get them into Macy’s. They are also available on Amazon and my web site, www.bianchicandleco.com.

Edge: How do you have time to run the business while you’re still in high school?

Nic: I took extra classes last year so that this year I only have to go to class half days. That way I’m available to do sales, go to meetings, and travel for trade shows. My teachers have all been really understanding, especially when I have to take a work call during class.

Edge: What are your plans for the near future?

Nic: Each year has been so different, I don’t know what the end goal will be. I might continue to grow the company really big, or I might eventually sell it. I’m interested in possibly going into the Navy, and ultimately I think I’d like to work for a non-profit.

Edge: Why should someone purchase a candle from Bianchi Candle Co?

Nic: Because you’re not just buying a product, you’re buying a story and an experience behind it. Whether it’s to do something kind for yourself or for someone else, it’s helping something bigger within the community.

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