We had the good fortune of connecting with Adriana &. Hannah Ernst & Sterne and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Adriana &. Hannah, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor behind the success of our brand is the ability to create a brand that is more than just a product; it’s a memory, a personal connection for the customer. We started Lakehouse with the intention to create a brand tailored specifically to Minnesotans and expand outward from there. We feel that creating a candle that connects people to memories from the Lake is what makes us stand out from others.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We feel that creating a Minnesota-based candle with a personal connection to each Lake in that people can relate to and have specific memories is what sets us apart from others. No, I don’t think that any successful small business owner would say that the journey is easy. A lot of research, a lot of time, and a lot of mess-ups to get to where we are now. Hard work and determination, and most importantly believing in ourselves and one another. We overcame challenges with the support of our customers, family, and friends who believed in us and our product. A big lesson learned was to keep moving forward, accept your weaknesses and use your gifts in excelling the company. You aren’t going to be able to do it all yourself and that’s a very humbling thing to not only realize but to accept it. It’s very important to learn how to be a team player and let down your guard and your ego.
We hope to be an inspiration to others. We are just two people who had an idea to make something out of nothing. We never had made a candle in our lives before having the idea of Lakehouse. We hope that people can look at the brand of Lakehouse and see the personal connection and relationship that it brings to them and their stories at the lake. If we are able to start up a company and follow our dreams, we want people to feel like they too can do it with determination and drive.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We would recommend taking a drive to northern MN and visiting Duluth/The North Shore. It’s where we met and it holds a special place in our hearts! Stay at a cabin along the North Shore on Lake Superior or a hotel closer to Duluth like Fitgers Inn. Some of our favorite restaurants include New Scenic Cafe just North of Duluth along Lake Superior, Va Bene, Lake Ave Cafe, and Northern Waters Smokehouse. Grab a drink at Castle Danger in Two Harbors, Vikre for a fancy. cocktail, or the Rathskellar Speakeasy later at night. As for places to explore, the list is endless for Duluth and the North Shore. Some of our favorites are a walk around Canal Park, Park Point for a stroll on the beach, or head north to see waterfalls at Gooseberry State Park, hike to Shovel Point for a great lookout of Lake Superior, or drive up to Palisade Head and catch some views and maybe even see some people rock climbing the +900 ft wall! So many great places to explore and that’s why we would choose Duluth!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We would like to highlight a few people here: First, our families. They have been nothing but supportive throughout our journey to start this business. Adriana would like to thank her mom specifically who has been very generous with her time in coming along to help with weekend-long art fairs, helping move our company to a new location without being asked, and even going as far as ironing hand stamped linen gift bags for customers. She has been nothing but supportive and shown her immense selflessness. Hannah would like to give a specific shoutout to her Husband Alex for always being a reliable helper to lean on for extra hands at our art fairs, pouring candles, and much needed moral support since the beginning!
Next, we would like to thank our wholesalers who have chosen to continue doing business with us. It is more than just a business encounter with many, it’s a relationship. We can tell that they. genuinely care and want to support locals. We are so grateful for all of our customers who have continued to support us as well throughout this journey.
A special thank you to our boyfriend and husband who allowed us to start Lakehouse from our homes which consisted of creating our product on our stovetops and candles scattered all over the house. You have been nothing but understanding and supportive.
Lastly, we would like to thank UMD and the Land of 10,000 Lakes for the connection and inspiration to bring us together and to eventually start a business together, Lakehouse Candle Co. We appreciate Minnesota and the privilege we have had in growing up here.
Self (Adriana & Hannah)