JAÉ Candles and CO, was created during the pandemic by three Essex County middle schoolers: Jada Bednar, Ellie Ghingo and Ava Tsettos. (Courtesy JAÉ Candles and CO.)

Three middle school students from Essex County are creating 350 candles for the Montclair Film Festival’s VIP bags.

Jada Bednar and Ellie Ghingo, from H.B. Whitehorne Middle School in Verona, and Ava Tsettos, from Grover Cleveland Middle School in West Caldwell, created JAÉ Candles and Co. last year. 

The students began selling their candles door-to-door, through word of mouth and through social media before moving to platforms such as Etsy in early October. The students also sell their candles to local shops including Pink Bungalow and JaiPure Yoga.

“These girls are passionate about giving back and have teamed up with Team Zoey, a local New Jersey organization dedicated to raising money for the Progeria Research Foundation to find a cure and develop treatments for all the kids suffering from this disease,” Lauren Wilson-Policke, president LWP public relations said in an announcement about the effort. “They also launched an exclusive scent for Greens Do Good, the first social enterprise vertical farm in New Jersey where all the profits support individuals with autism. JAÉ Candles and Co. created an exclusive scent for the partnership and all proceeds will benefit this organization.”




The students will only have three days to complete the project for Montclair Film, due to scheduling and because the candles need time to cure.