After working a full day of his corporate job, Andersen Gale begins to whip up scent after scent—Lilac Breeze, Loon Island, Cabin Rain, Boundary Waters Campfire. His parents Dan and Beth Gale, fiancé Allie Angellotti and her parents, smell candle after candle—all to bring his company, Sota Scents, to life.
Gale, a Woodbury High School 2011 graduate, never thought he would start his own business as an entrepreneur. After graduating from Minnesota State Mankato with a business degree, Gale was invited to an integrated business experience, where he helped to start up and run a company, which is when he discovered his passion.
“I had to secure loans with my team … I was responsible for marketing, buying, designing and selling the product. And once you sold the product, all profits were donated to charities of our companies’ choice,” Gale says, noting that, at the time, his company gave back $2,500. “I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I never knew it until then.”
After the experience, Gale went on to work at Campbell Soup Company for two years before happening upon candle making.
“Out of nowhere, my roommates and my now-fiancé Allie decided it would be interesting to make candles,” Gale says. Though the first candles turned out “terrible,” according to Gale, he stuck with the DIY project and eventually began to hand out candles as gifts.
“People said I should start to sell them,” he says. And so, he did. Sota Scents officially launched in 2018, and nearly three years later, the brand is constantly selling out.
Sota Scent candles are made with 100 percent all-natural soy wax, which leaves a cleaner burn and doesn’t give off harmful toxins like paraffin wax. The candles are also created with balsam wood wicks, “which crackles and creates a little campfire,” Gale says. Though the good-for-you ingredients draw in customers, Gale says it’s really the family-friendly touch that completes the company.
Though Gale is Sota Scent’s sole owner, he says the company wouldn’t be what it is today without his team built of family and friends—Britain and Brandon, both childhood friends and Woodbury natives, Gale’s friend Blake and his brother, Connor.
“Family is a huge part of the company,” Gale says. Another major piece to the Sota Scents brand is their goal to give back. On the Sota Scents website (sotascents.com), customers can nominate someone in need of direct assistance and once a year the company donates a sum of their profits to a person/organization in need.
“It started two years ago with our teammate Britain, who’s dad suffered a stroke and the medical bills were piling up,” Gale says. “They also found out he had a hole in his heart and had to have surgery … We sold out immediately and had a huge pouring in from the community. We restocked but sold out again.”
In April 2020, the team donated 100 percent of profits to COVID relief, selling out of products within three hours and raising over $5,000 for local hospitals to supply their teams with face coverings and masks.
“This is what we do,” Gale says. “Giving back is a huge part of our company … It really does help relieve burdens.”
“We’ve gotten a lot of praise because we are staying true to Minnesota and keeping the business local,” Gale says. “Our goal is to bring people back to their favorite Minnesota memories through our scents.”
Shop Sota Scents at local Minnesota retailers, including Hy-Vee Savage, Grace & Co., Minnesota Makers, Eye Candy Refined, Plain & Fancy, Ultima Bellezza Salon and Giggle Gals Boutique.