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Meet Trailblazer Gerri Brunner

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gerri Brunner.

Gerri, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Nicolet Candle began 11 years ago from the desire to create a product that I could not find. I had fallen in love with soy candles but was unable to locate a candle poured into recycled glassware. I stumbled upon the Green Glass Co and turned their drinking glasses, made from reclaimed wine bottles, into candles. Today, the candle collection has evolved to include a large variety of scents and styles available in over 20 stores in the Chicago area.

Has it been a smooth road?
I really enjoy how my business has grown organically over the years. It has increased at a comfortable pace which has enabled the quality and care to stay consistent. I started off working only part-time at Nicolet Candle alongside my massage therapy career. I am destined to always be working with my hands! Now, I run Nicolet Candle full time and have scaled back from massage. I have found challenges in managing my time and setting healthy boundaries to avoid burn out. It is very easy to sacrifice your self-care or social life to get more work done in a day. My advice for new business owners is to reward your hard work with activities that recharge your soul or to simply get eight hours of sleep.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
My favorite part of the job is hearing from my customers. I love selling my candles at festivals throughout the year because it allows the opportunity to meet my fellow candle lovers. Our sense of smell is very unique and certain scents can trigger memories and emotions. I feel so lucky to create a product that can bring calm, joy or nostalgia to a person’s living space. My goal is to literally bring light to someone’s world and make it smell amazing. One of my favorite stories was from a woman who would light a Cinnamon Vanilla candle every night and read to her son. It became a tradition for them. I love that.

Which women have inspired you in your life?
Tamara Wills has been a role model of mine since the day I interviewed with her at Allyu Spa 12 years ago, I strive to emulate the thoughtful way she runs her business. I am inspired by her poise, dedication, and strength. She creates an empowering work environment that balances kindness, truth, and excellence. I feel very fortunate to have her in my life.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: #nicoletcandle
  • Facebook: nicoletcandle

Image Credit:
Jenn Lassa Photo, Garfield Park Conservatory

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