Conroe entrepreneur launches downtown soap and candle store

Kernita Heard has shaped her entire adult life, sometimes turning her soaps, candles and body butters into a side business.

But last fall, she quit her job at a consulting firm to focus on her love of handmade products.

“I’ve always loved doing things with my hands,” said Heard, who will open her almost August storefront in downtown Conroe this weekend.

The grand opening is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m.

His new store is at 227 N. Main downtown. It occupies the space left by Campobella Bronze in June.

“One of the things that makes downtown Conroe appealing to residents and visitors alike are the many local shopping and dining options,” said Shannon Overby, director of Conroe’s convention and visitor bureau, Visit. Conroe. “We are excited to see the opening of Near August in the heart of downtown.”

This store opening is part of a renaissance in downtown Conroe where several new businesses have opened in 2021 and 2022. Most recently, MoCo Food Hall opened on Metcalf Street on August 6th.

Heard, 40, never planned on having a storefront for his surgery.

She grew up on the island of Dominica, an island country in the Caribbean between Guadeloupe and Martinique.

His father was a politician in their home country. He moved to the Houston area in 1982 and she joined him in 2000. She said he worked for the Houston Chronicle for many years delivering newspapers in the early morning hours in downtown Houston .

Heard graduated from Jersey Village High School in 2001 and stayed in the Houston area to raise her children, Kate and Eli. After she and her husband, Jason, married in 2014, they sought a peaceful country retreat and chose a quiet neighborhood between Conroe and Cleveland.

Around 2016, she launched her candle and soap company under the name Kate & Eli after her children.

During the pandemic, managing the small business next door and her day job at McKinsey & Company became too much.

She was about to give up her creative activity, but took a mental break to reconfigure her life.

“I was exhausted from corporate life,” she said. “The days started at 6 a.m. and lasted until 8 p.m. Some of our customers were related to COVID-19 issues. It became non-stop. I said to God, ‘It doesn’t work.’

She felt like God was saying back to her, “If it doesn’t work, then stop. So that’s what she did.

She renamed Kate & Eli almost August. The name Almost August is in tribute to her mother’s birthday which is this Saturday and coincides with the official opening of the store where she will be the special guest. She also felt like the two words flowed together seamlessly.

After relaunching, she began selling her wares at local markets like the one held in downtown Conroe every Saturday morning – Main Street Market. Its products include shea butter soap, hand poured candles, laundry spray, whipped body butter and foaming sugar scrubs that are vegan, cruelty-free and made without chemical preservatives.

Heard and her husband, Jason, got to know the market vendors and explored downtown. She called it a romantic little town that reminded her so much of her hometown of Roseau in Dominica.

“When we started at the market, we knew it was different. It feels like there’s a heartbeat and everyone follows that heartbeat,” she said. is the first time I’ve felt a real sense of community and it feels good.”

She never intended to open a window, but when the space became available, she took it as a sign.

“It’s like it was meant to be,” she said.

Heard also hosts a candle making workshop for weddings and baby showers, women’s events and more. These can be reserved through his website https://www.almostaugust.shop/. Purchases can also be made through the website.

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Elizabeth J. Harris