Two young Hernando boys are learning a lot of lessons about hard work and being an entrepreneur, while having fun making money for themselves, saving for college and supporting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis all at the same time.
Caleb and Carson Boggess are the brains behind FlameBros, their company that started selling flame starters for fireplaces and has now expanded into selling scented candles. Needless to say, their sales have been “hot.”
Their parents are Ricky and Allison Boggess of Hernando and they have a six-year-old brother Collin. All three of the boys attend Grove Christian Academy, located inside Colonial Hills Church in Hernando.
“We started making pinecone fire starters,” said Caleb, age 10. “It’s wax with pine cones. The bottom of the pine cones is circled with wax and is dipped into wax,” with Allison adding, “It’s like a cupcake holder and they put the wax in it and they set the pine cone down in it. When it hardens, it’s attached to the bottom and they’re supposed to use them to start a fireplace fire or bonfire.”
It was the pinecone fire starters that led to the business becoming known as “FlameBros,” but it’s grown to now sell scented candles, which include some unique scents such as “Wild Watermelon” or “Apple Pie.”
“Dad came up with the idea of the candles,” Caleb said. “We had all of the supplies except for the scent.”
A local outlet for the fire starters and scented candles now is at Blue Ribbon Cleaners, after owner Brad Manasco was sold on a couple of fire starters and struck up a conversation with the pair.
“We went to pick up my blanket and we told him about our Etsy store,” Caleb said. “He said that we could sell them there if we wanted to.”
Allison added the conversation also started when Manasco noticed Caleb’s resemblance to a famous movie character.
“Mr. Brad started talking with us and asked if he could be Caleb’s manager and ‘rent’ him out as Ralphie from the movie “A Christmas Story,’” Allison said. “We were laughing about that and then we told Mr. Brad the boys had a business. It just started by him buying a couple of the fire starters.”
Manasco added, “I bought a couple of the fire starters and they told me what they were doing with the money. I said they should raise their price a dollar and that people would buy them. I saw the entrepreneurial spirit in them and I thought it was great.”
The fire starters sell for $4.50 and the candles, which Allison said are the “biggest hit” at the cleaners, sell for seven dollars.
The profits go to more than just extra spending money for the boys, however. Ten percent is put away for their college fund and 10 percent will be donated to St. Jude.
“It’s a lot of hard work and sometimes they have to choose between making candles rather than doing a video,” Allison said. ‘I’m proud of them and I’m glad they’re learning some of these skills of interacting with adults. Caleb will take the candles in and Carson will set them up in the store. Everyone who orders online, they write a handwritten thank you note to show appreciation.”
Through the Etsy site, the boys have made sales in 15 different states, also with the help of “how-to” videos they have done to show how the fire starters and candles are made. They also maintain a Facebook page where those videos are also shared.
Carson admits “getting money” is the most fun for him about FlameBros, but they also enjoy being able to buy things they may not otherwise be able to afford.
And, who knows? It may grow to the point that with a little financial assistance from the sharks of the television show “Shark Tank” they could become a major player in the fire starter and scented candle industry.
Search FlameBros to find their sites of Etsy and search Flame Bros on Facebook You can also find their products at Blue Ribbon Cleaners, 116 East Commerce Street in Hernando.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.