CO-FOUNDER | COAL AND CANARY CANDLE COMPANY
Co-founder and Design Diva, Amanda Buhse is lighting up the design and decor market with design conscious candles that are expertly crafted and cleverly named. With an emphasis on local, she and her business partner, Tom Jansen, have reached an international audience.
I meet Amanda on a cool and grey day in the lobby of NYGÅRD’s newly renovated head office in Winnipeg and her presence and smile instantly light up (pun intended!) the room. She is delighted to be back at the company where she used to work, and a bit overwhelmed with the brand new lobby and its interactive museum that highlights the brand’s accomplishments over the last five decades and houses the new 50th Anniversary ICONIC Collection.
Amanda Buhse is the co-founder of Coal and Canary, a vibrant local candle empire that she and her business partner, Tom Jansen, started just a mere four years ago, over a glass of wine. She has used her marketing and business acumen to help take it from a humble 150 sq ft office space to international acclaim by getting into the swag bags of the Oscars, Grammys and Golden Globes, a new retail storefront and shelf presence in 250 shops across Canada and the US.
This trajectory is similar to that of Peter Nygård’s. In fact, Amanda credits part of Coal and Canary’s success to what she learned about business during her time in the marketing department at NYGÅRD. “What I learned has been pivotal to our success—knowledge from supervisors, how to lead a team and how to work with a team towards a common goal, are skills that I use in my day-to-day business at Coal and Canary,” states Buhse. “There is no difference between selling clothes and selling candles because at the root of it you are selling a product.” She credits the other part of her business success to having goals, being really ambitious and being fearless.
“I am lucky to have such strong and positive motherly figures in my life to lead the way for me.”
When I ask her who her ICONS are, her eyes spark and without hesitation, she tells me about her role models. “I am inspired by my mother who has been an incredible force in my life and an amazing role model and by my grandmother who worked tirelessly her whole life to achieve her goals and get to where she is today,’ she says. “I am lucky to have such strong and positive motherly figures in my life to lead the way for me.”
Buhse’s passion for the icons in her life comes full-circle with the ICONIC Collection. Their strong influence is exactly what is behind the collection – it shows how women and how women’s fashion have evolved and is a testament to the confidence, boldness and strength of the modern woman. “I love how the collection has taken great pieces and tweaked them to meet the demands of the modern-day woman who isn’t afraid to let her clothes speak for her,” muses Amanda. Buhse’s personal style is Rocker-Chic mixed with sassy and bold, so she loves the metallic Lamé Trench Coat because it’s fun, bold and would turn a lot of heads!
As an entrepreneur and as a woman with a strong voice, Amanda is a champion of the power of self-belief. Her own success is a product of it, and she truly believes that “You can’t be afraid of being your true self and letting that shine…everything that we do in our company is about being unique, being bold, being confident and showing it to the world. So, whether you are putting on a beautiful Peter Nygård trench coat or lighting a Coal and Canary candle, you feel confident in yourself,” this is the story that Buhse wants to tell.
In the light of the #MeToo movement and the current stream of rhetoric, Amanda’s advice for young women is to: “Know your value, know your worth and stand up for that—own your beliefs.” She admits to having “FOMO” syndrome (Fear of Missing Out) so that fuels her desires to get out there and do stuff. Right now, her bucket list consists of travelling the world and expanding her business. So, if you are wondering what’s coming next for Coal and Canary, it has everything to do with perfume—stay tuned.
Shop Amanda’s Rocker-Chic Personal Style