From Doris MacFarquar of the Monday Club
Amy Bennett, Northern Lights Chief Operating Officer, presented a comprehensive and interesting program on the company’s products and operation. The company’s quiet location on the Andover Road, in the old “Big N” plaza, belies its size and scope.
Northern Lights began modestly in 1978, was acquired by Zippo, the lighter manufacturer, in 2019, but still operates separately as a twenty million dollar company that produces candle products sold as Northern Lights in 7,000 individual outlets and stores, as well as products sold for 25 years under other names. Ninety percent of the work is produced at the local plant with 137 employees with a wide variety of skills. There are graphic designers and other artists, perfumers, pourers, wicking, labeling, product development, logistics and sales. Bee’s wax, soy, palm, coconut and paraffin are acquired from domestic sources and from around the world. Many styles of glass and pottery, fragrances, chemicals, and essential oils are used to design and develop evolving candle products. These are imagined, prototyped and tested by their in-house team. Some have fragrance, others not. They come in varieties of shapes and containers. Some are individually created with wax painting and unique shaping. Amy described fragrance development and the complex reactions in waxes.
The company has helped write recommendations for ASTM, candle safety standards for corporations and US safety standards. One of the large buildings in their complex is a raw materials warehouse. The Factory is climate controlled, 50 to 85 degrees. Temperature of wax products while shipping is also a concern.
Summer is their busiest season, preparing for the fourth quarter of the year sales. Northern Lights produces candles for other brands, too. In some stores their products carry the company label, but not always in large chain or big box stores.
The company has developed “fire starters” and candle accessories, as well as special candles for rituals, intimate settings, and creating memories. As Amy said in her presentation, “We Brighten the World”. After answering several questions, she provided scented gift candles for the members.
Next week’s program will feature Mark Zupan, Alfred University President.