The Gill siblings after being encouraged by their parents started a candle business to earn more cash to fund their video games and toys. Little did the boys know that their business would serve a much bigger purpose in the future.
Meet the Gill brothers. They started a candle company to make more cash so that they can buy more video games and toys for themselves. Instead, the 3 brothers found a way to help the community too. For their games and toys, their parents refused to make extra contributions and encouraged their sons to think of ideas to earn the extra cash. So the 3 siblings Collin, 13, Ryan, 11, and Austin, 8 came up with the idea to start a business.
But they needed their parents' advice. So the young boys asked their mom Celena Gill what she liked the most?
Celena told the boys that she loved bath bombs. Since there were lots of chemicals involved in these so the next thing she chose was candles. Ryan, the youngest of the 3 explained to InsideEdition.com, “We asked our mom what her favorite thing to buy [is] … she said bath bombs, but there were too much chemicals and there’s a lot of process, so the next thing she said was candles.”
Celena especially took classes to learn candle making and teach her boys the art of making candles. “She taught us, so then we started testing each candle,” Collin explained. “It took a couple weeks to get a good formula and once we started selling, we almost sold out the first vending event we had.”
This is how a candle business named “Frères Branchiaux,” French for "Gill Brothers" started and two years later the candle shop is blooming and is beyond success. With 36 stores selling their products and a contract with Macy’s in the works, the boys have successfully sold around 10,000 candles since they first started their business.
Now that they have enough money to buy all the Nerf guns and games they wish to buy, the siblings had a new idea. Instead of spending money on games they decided to help the community with their profits. The idea to give back to society and help others was of Ryan's. Something he proposed after coming across a homeless man on the street. “I have a big heart and I always love helping others and helping the ones in need,” Ryan said. “Our mom asked how we want to give back.” He said, “Every time I saw a homeless person, I was always asking Mom if we could give money to them, and this was a way to do it.”
Collin says it makes him feel like their business has a purpose beyond commerce and candle scents.
Since then Gill brothers have been donating to Washington-area homeless shelters, including Pathways to Housing D.C., Friendship Place, and the Father McKenna Center. They send monthly checks to shelters and have met some of the Pathways’ employees. They want to make bigger contributions and plan to visit Pathways' in August to spend more time with the people at the shelter.
As soon as the siblings can secure more funds for a new shop, they hope to hire homeless people to increase the impact behind their idea.
According to Celena Gill, Frères Branchiaux sells about 400 candles a month, priced from $18 to $36. Most of which goes back into the business. Some of it is used to fund the toy purchases and the boys are able to give on average $500 a month to shelters.
All three brothers plan to make Frères Branchiaux their life’s work. Collin, the eldest of three siblings says, “I want to do this long enough to pass it on to my kids. One day we want a factory. And stores across the country. And probably even around the world, too.”