My name is Emeraude Domingos-Mbuku and I am the founder of Catherine & Co. I named this small company after my mother because all my business sense comes from her. Catherine was born three years after the Democratic Republic of the Congo gained its independence from Belgium. It was a turbulent time in the state and women often took on "masculine" and "unbecoming" roles to feed their families and to make their mark in the world. Her mother—my grandmother—was a business woman and the two spent a lot of time together selling baked goods at their shop in the mornings and delivering food products to nearby towns in the afternoons.
When my mother arrived in Canada in the late 1980s, she had to learn a new set of skills as hers were no longer relevant. When I told her I wanted to start a candle company, she was the first person to tell me that it wouldn’t be easy and that I should remain passionate about what I do in order to succeed. She had watched her mother do it for years, after all.
My mother is my biggest supporter and while I may not be following in her exact footsteps, I hold her ideologies near me. For this reason, Catherine & Co. aims to create clean-burning candles at affordable prices through the sourcing of ethical materials from the most reputable companies in North America.
Illustration by Annum Shah.