The Expansion of Noted
Oh how far we’ve come.
It may be news to some of you that the story of Noted started long before I entered the picture. Although I am the sole owner and operator of the business today, three years ago I would have laughed out loud if you said I would be running a candle business. SO you may wonder, how did we get here? Let me tell you the abbreviated story of how Noted Candles went from a hobby on the kitchen stove to a team of 5 working in our new 3,000 sqft production studio.
It all starts with Sara, our founder. Sara started making candles in 2015 as a fun experiment in the kitchen of her small apartment in Boston’s historic North End. People loved the candles she burned in her apartment and gave as gifts, and naturally encouraged her to sell them. Why not, right? In 2016 she decided to give her hobby a name - Noted, and began selling a few fragrances in person at markets around Boston, an Etsy site followed, then her own ecommerce site. By 2018, Sara had made Noted her full time commitment and moved the business into a TINY 150 sq ft space on East 1st Street in South Boston. This little studio is where the brand really started to grow, and this is when I entered the picture.
In 2017 I bought my first Noted Candle from a small shop in Southie, and was an instant fan. I had left my corporate job that spring and started a business of my own called Local Maker. I was working with a handful of Boston based makers helping them grow their businesses and was introduced to Sara. People loved her candles and diffusers but making and shipping them all was a ton of work on top of marketing and sales and...to say she was overwhelmed was an understatement. Making great products is one thing, running a manufacturing business is another entirely. In the fall of 2018 Sara hired me to help grow sales and figure out how to scale the business.
We had an extremely successful first holiday season working together and Noted had even moved into a bigger work space within the famous Jill Rosenwald Studio. Things were changing quickly, Noted needed employees, yet again even more space, and at the same time Sara found herself at a personal crossroads. In February of 2019 she told me she had decided to close the business. All of this just wasn’t for her. She wanted to move on to other pursuits and decided Noted didn’t fit into her personal picture of the future. By then, I had a connection to the brand and had seen first hand how much people loved the products. After shockingly little deliberation, I knew I could take it to the next level and decided to make Sara an offer to buy the brand from her. Again, why not, right???
By May of 2019 Noted was mine. It wasn’t much really, I had the product formulas, some equipment and a website. I still had no clue how to make candles, but I did know that my 300 sq ft office space in the Distillery Building in South Boston was just not going to cut it. By the end of June we had moved into our beautiful 3,300 sq ft industrial loft space at 423 West Broadway in Southie which we called home for the last 2 years. Those of you who have been there know that this is a very special space. You feel the magic when you walk in and it was the perfect place to begin rebuilding Noted into what I wanted the business to become. This is where we grew the team from just me, clueless, to a team of 5 ladies making thousands of candles a month.
The space was multifunctional, acting as the home for Noted and Local Maker which was also growing into something more with the addition of this amazing brick and mortar space. In the fall of 2019 we opened our new home to the public, launching Noted Candle Making Workshops, in person shopping, and Local Maker began an event series hosting other Makers and small businesses for community shopping events. It was amazing and we loved meeting you all face to face. As we emerged from our first holiday season, with A LOT more experience under my belt, it was very clear we needed an actual manufacturing space. The plan for 2020 was to move Noted yet again, and I would rebrand 423 W Broadway as the Local Maker Studio, a full time event venue and a place to host a range of fun creative workshops for adults. Then, as we all know, the world completely changed.
Thanks to many of you, and sheer brute force on my side (I poured, packed, and shipped candles completely solo for 3 months), we not only survived the pandemic, but Noted thrived. Our sales tripled, and expanded into new markets like corporate gifting and making private label candles for other brands. We went into 2021 with refreshed optimism and even more urgency to find a new space. This June we FINALLY moved into the perfect new home for us, the 119 Braintree Street building in Allston (fun fact, our friends Porcelain and Stone and Shit That I Knit also have space here!). It’s nowhere near as pretty as 423 W Broadway but it is exactly what we need. We now have a freight elevator, loading dock, and a big open space for lots of shelves, tables, equipment and inventory. It’s a maker's dream.
Despite the numerous reasons why this move is so good for us, we are also bummed that it means we will not have as many opportunities to interact with our Southie community face to face. I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you who have supported us and also explain how we will operate in this new phase of our evolution.
xo - Ashley
Questions or suggestions for us? As always, your emails and phone calls are welcome anytime firstname.lastname@example.org and (877) 590-7166.