Locally owned and made in Akron, Urban Buzz is a beeswax candle company dedicated to providing 100-percent natural, clean-burning candles. Partnering with local apiaries and businesses, Kaley Foster, the “Queen Bee” and mastermind behind the label, has turned what was once a dream into a tangible reality.
From a recipe consisting of a love for crafts, creativity, business and Akron, the company was created in October of 2014. While crafting her own candle at the Candle Lab, located in downtown Columbus’ Short North District, Foster couldn’t help but envision something like this closer to home. “Everyone was out walking their dogs, enjoying the artsy, vibrant city,” Foster says. “I couldn’t help but think, ‘I want to bring this to Akron.’”
Graduating from Manchester High School and growing up with parents who owned an insurance company, she knew the true meaning of local business and carried the dream of owning one for herself someday. “I just wanted to see this place succeed. There is so much character to Akron.”
Through taking what seems a simple vision and bringing it to life, the 28-year-old entrepreneur is surely making her mark. With an initial vision inspired by that of Burt’s Bees and the Candle Lab, she has cultivated her own unique trade.
Locally sourced from local bees
Foster purchases her beeswax exclusively from local apiaries, primarily from apiaries located in Ashland, Ohio, as well as from Akron’s own Akron Honey Co. Purchasing materials locally has enabled her to create the 100-percent natural beeswax candles here in Akron.
Most candles are derived from paraffin, a byproduct of petroleum, and soy, a genetically modified (GMO) substance. Although candles with exotic, wild or fruity scents can be enticing, these types of candles are prone to release artificial fragrances and are often bleached or dyed with toxic colorants.
Beeswax candles are non-hazardous, non-carcinogenic, and burn up to five times longer than normal wax candles. Candles made from beeswax burn cleanly and produce negative ions, which purify the air, ridding its surrounding environment of allergens, toxins and dust.
Burning beeswax candles is a common remedy to help those with asthma or allergies breathe easier. They are known to stimulate the pituitary gland, increasing creativity, dream activity and intuition — who wouldn’t want that? The benefits of burning beeswax candles are vast, and purchasing an Urban Buzz candle not only includes the wide array of benefits listed, but also helps support Foster’s creative local business here in Akron.
“Akron is a great place for starting a business,” she says. “There are so many different connections to make, nobody is selfish and everyone just wants to see this city prosper. Our city has endless character.”
Selling to local vendors such as Highland Square’s Land of Plenty has given Urban Buzz a platform, and has given Foster a means to meet new people and make new connections. Urban Buzz candles also have been showcased at Crafty Mart, an ongoing series of pop-up events that promote local businesses and invite Akronites to shop small. Further, her products have been sold at Square Fest, a Highland Square festival held annually to promote arts and local business.
A buzzing entrepreneurial spirit
Foster’s experiences as a young female entrepreneur in Akron have been positive — same amount of respect, same amount of people wanting to reach out and help. “I haven’t felt different or turned away because I am a girl,” Foster says. “It all ties back to Akron; it’s a collective effort here. Everyone wants Akron to succeed. Akron creates such a thriving environment. We have such a creative community, where we are able to collaborate with others and share our ideas.
“Everyone has helped motivate me,” she adds. “My family, friends and business partners.” She says she feels that the connections she has made have truly helped her establish her candle-making trade.
Foster aims to inspire the younger generation living in Akron to feel anything but “stuck” here; she wants them to know that they have a voice and can make a difference right now, not only when they’re older. “Being a millennial, we’d rather give up the normal 40-hour work week of living someone else’s dream to live out our own. We want to live out our passion and inspire others. This is our life, not a rehearsal.
“I want other people to live their dreams, not feel how I felt in my eight-to-five job wishing my day away.” The time is now. This city can be our canvas. There is room for any Akronite, young or old, to make some art and be a part of it.
Foster asks: “How awesome would it be if we all reached our full potential?”
Author’s Note: Being a 17-year-old girl living in Akron, I’ve been worried my opportunities may be limited. However, talking with Foster and seeing her successes as a young, female entrepreneur has surely changed that for me.
The magic happens when you decide to venture outside of your comfort zone. Oftentimes, I feel I am too young and unimportant for my voice to be heard. I feel that I am not old enough to make a difference. After meeting Foster, I know this is not true. She first began her business in a condo out in Portage Lakes. Now she is selling at craft shows and to local businesses throughout the Akron area. Although Foster is young, she has put her dreams to work and made her visions prevalent in the community.
As a company offering over six different scents of her natural candles, and with hopes of branching out to add soaps, lip balms and lotions to the shelves, Urban Buzz has no place to go but up.
To learn more about Urban Buzz, go to http://www.urbnbuzz.com.