The Story of ManCans

This is the story of how a brilliant business model convinced me, a person who does not care about scented candles in the slightest, to buy two candles on the spot.

This is the story of ManCans.

Last week I got my weekly digest of Springwise’s Top 10 Business Ideas & OpportunitiesΒ (definitely worth a free subscription if you love reading about cool business ideas). Near the top of the list was a concept called ManCans.

The idea is that there are certain smells that appeal to men, but most scented candles are too flowery for us. Sure, us men might like the flowery smells, but there’s no way we’ll buy them for ourselves. Plus, the smells of ManCans let us hearken back to simpler times through scents like cigar, fresh-cut grass, dirt, NY style pizza, grandpa’s pipe, new mitt, bacon, coffee, sawdust, campfires, and gun powder (that is the actual list of ManCan scents).

Even after I saw that awesome list of scents, I still wasn’t sold. After all, I don’t own candles. I think the only thing I have in my house that is made for lighting on fire to smell good are some incense sticks I bought when I was in Japan 11 years ago.

But then I saw two things on the ManCan website. One, the company was started by a kid. As you may have noticed by my recent blog entry about Caine’s Arcade, I have a soft spot for kids who start businesses.

Two–and this is the big one, the one that made me instantly purchase the two ManCans you see in the photo here–is that the company is inherently built around the idea of helping people. You see those cans that the candles are in? Those aren’t any old cans. ManCans gets those cans by buying soup cans from local grocery stores, donating the soup to a local soup shelter, and then repurposing the cans for the candles.

Every step of the business helps someone–including people who need the help–and yet it’s a profitable business. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that I contacted them on the spot and asked if they were open to investors. (At this time they’re not, but I’m hoping to hear from them in the future.)

The only other business that is both socially good and profitable like this is Angel Baked Cookies. I’m sure there are others out there, though–do you know of any?