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Life & Work with Alec Johnson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alec Johnson.

Hi Alec, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
It all started back in March 2020, just as the pandemic began intruding on our lives. Great time to start a business, right? With more free time on my hands, I started making candles with an inspiration to spread light (quite literally) to those working on the frontlines and those navigating the impact the pandemic was having on their mental health.

Over a short period of time, people began inquiring if I could make candles for their friends and family members, too. Eventually, this went from hobby to small business within just a couple of months. In addition to spreading light to individuals, I also spread light to Mother Nature and the community as giving back has been an integral part of my life. The name of my business (NosaSota & Co.) comes from the Minnesota state tree – the Norway Pine (Pinus Resinosa), and with certain product sales, I donate a portion of proceeds to local organizations that better the community and outdoors around us.

From Duluth Rose Garden, The Greenway, Gooseberry Hike and more, all of the scents are inspired by experiences and places throughout Minnesota that are not only near and dear to my heart, but yours too! This is what make my candles truly unique.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Starting a business has definitely had its ups and downs! I like to look at struggles or obstacles as challenges, and I am always up for a challenge. I feel like everyday I am learning something new, but that is what makes owning a business exciting! From just getting started and mixing random fragrances, to now having a licensed business and finally being taken seriously, I never thought I would be at this point. My goal is to grow my business and eventually get into storefronts – when that happens, it is only a reflection of the obstacles that I’ve overcome!

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
As I mentioned before, giving back has been an integral part of my life. So, when I’m not spreading light through candles, I am spreading light through my other passion – residential design. I am a designer for a local builder in the Twin Cities and with my passion for giving back and helping people, through the power of design, I can help them by providing a new space in their home that they will love and create memories they can hold onto forever!

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
To be honest, I follow a lot of Twin Cities-based makers and small businesses on social media and do the majority of my networking on Instagram or at pop-up shops. There have been many times where I’ve simply reached out to other makers to learn more about their business, processes, products, etc. and what’s great is we are all here to help each other. I am very grateful for the local social media accounts that help market small businesses, artists and makers. There really is a great sense of community here in the Twin Cities for small businesses and I am very appreciative to make connections with others on a similar journey!

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