Three Essex County middle school students used downtime during the pandemic shutdown to become entrepreneurs.

Jada Bednar and Ellie Ghingo (seventh graders at Verona’s H.B.Whitehorne Middle School) and Ava Tsettos, (a West Caldwell seventh grader at Grover Cleveland Middle School) are the founders of JAÉ Candles and Co.

In quarantine, curiosity and boredom led to the trio experimenting with different fragrances and learning how to make candles. Although they had no prior experience with candle making, the friends discovered how much they enjoyed crafting together, and began selling their candles door-to-door and through word of mouth and social media. After seeing the support from their community, they started to sell on Etsy and Facebook pages. By early October 2020, the girls had sold more than 1,000 candles. The girls realized that their new found hobby had the potential to become a full-time business and today, the trio has officially launched a brand new website and a 2021 Summer Collection.

Best of all, these girls are passionate about giving back and have teamed up with Team Zoey, a local New Jersey organization dedicated to raising money for the Progeria Research Foundation to find a cure and develop treatments for all the kids suffering from this disease. A portion of their proceeds benefits this organization.

The trio sells their candles to local stores like Montclair’s Pink Bungalow, Jaipure Yoga, Fairchild’s in Roseland and additional locations to be announced. Find out more about JAÉ Candles and Co. here.