Online Exclusives

A Can-Do Attitude

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | June 5, 2012

Teen candle company attracts national attention.

Hart Main, 14, started his home fragrance brand Man Cans with a $100 investment that he made from delivering the local newspaper, handing out flyers for a cell phone store and umpiring for the town recreation baseball league. A single “tweet” from one of his mother’s colleagues to a news reporter changed the course of the business. Today, the Marysville, OH teen is a national media sensation and owner of a thriving small business.
 
After finding a neighborhood store to sell his candles—housed in actual soup cans with artsy scents such as New York Style Pizza, Dirt, Grandpa’s Pipe and Gun Powder and retailing for $9.50 each—Hart was able to sell a few candles each week. The products were created in the family kitchen after the cans arrived back from soup kitchens that the Hart family supported.
 
“We went from selling around 70 candles each week and making them in our kitchen to selling around 400-500 candles per week and outsourcing the candle-making,” Hart said. “The media attention definitely caused a buzz around the product.”
 
 

Hart Main is a young man with a mission.
During the holiday season, ManCans sold more than 2,200 candles, which retail on man-cans.com and are now sold in boutiques and local shops around the US in over 100 locations. The company has big plans in 2012 as well, having started a fundraising arm for youth organizations, sports, clubs, churches and more to raise money by selling ManCans (think the Girl Scout cookies of home fragrance). Hart and is family are also looking for commercial space and are considering hiring a full-time employee to oversee the day-to-day operations. And the little fish can sometimes inspire the big fish, as major retailer Yankee Candle recently rolled out a line of candles just for guys.

 
Nearly every man can relate to the scent of fresh-cut grass.
“I got the idea for ManCans when my sister was selling candles for a school fundraiser. I wondered why no one was making candles for men,” Hart told HAPPI in an interview. “When I originally started, It was just for fun and it was something I could use for Christmas gifts but we got more orders after Christmas than we did before and it continued to grow.
 
According to Hart, Man Cans is currently taking customer requests for its next big scent and is also looking into new container possibilities such as spaghetti jar or tuna tins. However, an altruistic angle is key for the future of this ambitious teen’s company. Though the demand for the product is high, Hart insists on maintaining the charitable, “One Candle, One Meal” mantra and mission of ManCans.
 
“We have donated nearly 15,000 soup cans to soup kitchens and I want to maintain the charitable side of our business. I like the idea that every candle we make has fed someone who really needed it,” he said.

 
More info: www.man-cans.com
 
 
 

Related End-User Markets:

  • Aromas Revealed: Fragrance Disclosure

    Aromas Revealed: Fragrance Disclosure

    Daniel Greenberg, Agilex Fragrances||November 2, 2016
    Fragrance disclosure is a potentially dangerous issue.

  • Back to School

    Back to School

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||September 1, 2016
    It may be September, but class was in session this summer during the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s Executive Educ

  • A Sweet-Smelling Sanctuary

    A Sweet-Smelling Sanctuary

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||September 1, 2016
    Home fragrance is enhanced by aromatic developments in delivery and components.

  • What

    What's Next for the UK?

    Sarah Boumphrey, Euromonitor International||June 27, 2016
    Euromonitor weighs in on how Brexit could impact consumer product companies.

  • Hitting a Wall(mart)

    Hitting a Wall(mart)

    November 9, 2015
    Walmart imposes slotting fees and that hurts a lot of Tier 2 and 3 FMCG companies.

  • Teen’s Non-Toxic Dream Gets Real

    Teen’s Non-Toxic Dream Gets Real

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||June 8, 2015
    Rhode Island teen Ava Anderson serves as CEO of a fast-growing direct sales company that’s playing in multiple household and personal care categories.

  • A Reason to Smile?

    A Reason to Smile?

    Jeremy Kerstetter, Assistant Editor||June 1, 2015
    IRI study uncovers consumer optimism...even among Millennials.

  • Regulations in Aisle Six

    Regulations in Aisle Six

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||June 23, 2014
    Regulations are longer the sole province of federal, state and local government. Now retailers—big ones—are getting into the regulations business.

  • On-Trend Scents

    On-Trend Scents

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||June 19, 2014
    Fragrance plays a key role in a product’s success. Here’s what’s working and why when it comes to product perfumery.

  • When Better Is Best

    When Better Is Best

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||February 17, 2014
    Find out what it takes to be a winner of the 2014 Better Homes and Gardens Best New Product Awards.

  • Hot Off the Press!

    Hot Off the Press!

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||January 9, 2014
    The Top 10 breaking news items of 2013 as reported on Happi.com.

  • All in the Family

    All in the Family

    James Zilenziger, Assistant Editor||August 1, 2013
    SC Johnson has remained “A Family Company” for more than a century.

  • Something in the Air

    Something in the Air

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 9, 2013
    Ambient scenting can drive sales in retail, hospitality sectors.

  • Reckitt Benckiser Rolls On

    Reckitt Benckiser Rolls On

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||May 13, 2013
    This UK firm continues to expand its reach.

  • Reigniting the Fire

    Reigniting the Fire

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 1, 2012
    A year after being sold to MVP Group, Colonial Candle is set to open a new flagship store in Charleston that's part retail destination part consumer research center.

  • Yankee Candle CEO Goes

    Yankee Candle CEO Goes 'Undercover'

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||March 29, 2012
    Harlan Kent of Yankee Candle stars on 'Undercover Boss' reality show.

  • A Love Story By Way of Candles

    A Love Story By Way of Candles

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||January 27, 2012
    Couple forms home fragrance company to create the ultimate product.

  • In PG, They Trust

    In PG, They Trust

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||March 16, 2011
    Better Homes and Gardens and BrandSpark reveal their Best New Product Awards, and find out which brands consumers trust most.

  • Cleaning Up at CES

    Cleaning Up at CES

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||January 11, 2011
    Forget tablet computers. Some of the most cutting-edge products at the 2011 Electronics Show in Las Vegas were cleaning devices.

  • A Return to Wellness...

    A Return to Wellness...

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||December 30, 2010
    Drop by drop by drop.

  • PG Has Room to Grow

    PG Has Room to Grow

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||December 20, 2010
    Despite a bumpy ride in the U.S. and Western Europe, chairman Bob MacDonald sees gains ahead via innovation and emerging markets.

  • Increase Prices and Increase Profits?

    Increase Prices and Increase Profits?

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||September 9, 2010
    It may seem like suicide in a fragile economic recovery, but Rafi Mohammed urges companies to make the move to higher prices.

  • Scents of Calm

    Scents of Calm

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||September 1, 2010
    These undercover scenting products are designed to do more than smell pretty.

  • Making the House a Home

    Making the House a Home

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||July 27, 2010
    Slatkin expands Nest candle range with Project Art.

  • Think Pink

    Think Pink

    September 4, 2007
    Marketers raise awareness, funds with products for Breast Cancer Awareness.

  • Candles Sans Wicks  Wax

    Candles Sans Wicks Wax

    March 5, 2007
    Water-based Minus Wicks are meant to be warmed, not burned.

  • Building a Link to Innovators

    Building a Link to Innovators

    September 6, 2006
    Reckitt Benckiser goes online to reach out for innovative ideas in household and personal care product development