Local business gets a shot before ‘Fixer Upper’ hosts
In the two short years since Lisa Williams-Laufer started Nectar Republic, she’s had plenty of reasons to celebrate her candle and natural bath goods business.
Now she’s having a Silobration with “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines at their Magnolia property in Waco, Texas.
“It’s something that’s been on my bucket list,” Williams-Laufer says. “I am a big fan.”
Silobration is Oct. 18 to 20 and will feature 80 vendors, food trucks, music and other fun.
Williams-Laufer says it’s “really kind of like a playground in a lot of ways.”
She follows the Gaineses on social media and is on their mailing list, but Williams-Laufer says she missed last year’s notification that they were accepting vendor applications.
“This time I caught it, and I applied right away and quickly heard back from them, which is really exciting for me.”
Williams-Laufer is the only Kansas vendor.
In 2016, Williams-Laufer started Nectar Republic as Milk & Honey Candles. She created scented candles in her basement and sold them at farmers’ markets and then started going to fairs.
The Internet helped her growth, too. That’s how Whole Foods Market found her and placed her products in its store at Waterfront Plaza at 13th and Webb Road and then in a total of 15 throughout the Midwest.
“It really kind of blew up quickly,” Williams-Laufer says. “From there, we really started kind of growing a brand.”
She rebranded to Nectar Republic to emphasize the importance of bees.
“I dearly love tying in the idea of educating people about saving the bees,” Williams-Laufer says. “I wanted to figure out how I could create a brand that had a cause behind it and supported something that was important to me.”
She donates 5 percent of her sales to local apiaries and says that “really seems to resonate with our customers.”
In October, she’s also going to start giving away wildflower seeds to customers.
“It’s really a way for us to directly impact bee colonization.”
In addition to selling her candles, soaps and bath balms at the Silobration, Williams-Laufer also is creating “Save the bees” T-shirts that she’ll eventually sell in Wichita, too.
Williams-Laufer used to have a store in Clifton Square, but she says her wholesale business more than doubled, so this year she moved to a new warehouse with a small retail space at 3963 N. Woodlawn Court.
Nectar Republic is now in 85 retail outlets in almost every state. Williams-Laufer can’t quite believe how quickly it all has happened.
She hopes she’ll be able to capitalize on the Silobration opportunity for further growth.
“It’s going to really give us a lot of exposure in the southern market.”
Williams-Laufer says an estimated 15,000 people will attend the event this year.
The first people who visit her booth will be the Gaines family and their friends on a private tour.
Williams-Laufer says it’s a chance to “basically pitch your product to them because they’re always looking for handcrafted goods for their shop as well.”
It’s hard to overstate what landing Nectar Republic in the family’s Magnolia Market would be like for Williams-Laufer.
“It would be amazing.”