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A little bit of knowledge, a whole lot of effort

A pair of teenage entrepreneurs find success in the air freshener industry

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October 5, 2022

NORTH FOND DU LAC – Like many other high school seniors, Ayden Fowler and Lillian Goeckerman’s days are filled with classes, homework, extracurricular activities and thoughts of what the future will look like after high school.

However, for these two 17-year-olds, the future is already looking bright.

The budding entrepreneurs are the brains behind Commah, LLC – a line of air fresheners, car diffusers and essential oils.

Entrepreneur incubator
Commah derived from an entrepreneurship course at Horace Mann High School in the North Fond du Lac School District called INCubatorEdu.

Kurt Wismer, lead learner for INCubatorEdu@nfdl, said as part of the course, students create a startup using the Lean Startup method.

“Our young entrepreneurs identify a problem, then work through the lean process, along with a small army of community business mentors and coaches to ideate, research, prototype, test and rapid-build their business solution,” he said.

Wisner said the goal of the hands-on course is to create fully functional businesses.

He said Team Commah’s identified problem was air fresheners that didn’t trigger allergies.

“They also had the drive, grit and mindset to work through their iterations until they got to a market-tested solution,” Wisner said.
He said pitching for both prototype funding mid-year and for startup funding at the end of the year, are also part of the course.
Fowler said in addition to the classroom-based pitches, eventually, they began pitching at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and then statewide.

“The many pitch events that Commah won helped fund their startup,” Wismer said.

He said Fowler and Goeckerman were also successful in selling their product and embracing customer feedback.

“I am incredibly proud of their work, work ethic and mindset,” Wismer said. “They serve as a positive benchmark to all current and future young entrepreneurs.”

The product
Fowler said the idea behind stemmed from Goeckerman’s allergic reaction to everyday air freshener products.

“We created the business because Lillian reacts severely when spraying common air freshening products,” he said. “Now, we’re trying to improve the current market by producing products that are 100% plant-based and free from toxic chemicals.”

Currently, Fowler said Commah, LLC offers plant-based room and linen sprays, car diffusers and essential oils.

Ayden Fowler, left, and Lillian Goeckerman are the brains
behind Commah, LLC. Submitted Photo

?“Soon, we’ll offer incense sticks, reed diffusers and potpourri products,” he said. “When we started our company, we set into motion where every customer should have the opportunity to breathe a breath of fresh air without toxic chemicals.”

Fowler said it’s that “breath” that also inspired the start-up’s name.

“My sister was the one to come up with our name,” he said. “A traditional comma is a pause in a sentence. Keep this in mind because when you breathe something you like, you’re like, ‘ahhhh.’ So, Comm-ah is breathing in a breath of fresh air.”

A joint effort
Fowler said he was bitten by the entrepreneur bug at a young age.

“At the age of six, I was able to begin my first business under the wing of my grandparents,” he said. “It’s odd to think I created soap when I was six and am now making similar products. From there, I began multiple lemonade stands and then went to photography.”

Fowler said Goeckerman started in the INCubatorEdu course without much experience but caught onto things quickly.

“I truly didn’t expect us to grow this much through the program,” he said. “Originally, I expected to go through the class and not expand further, however, our successes within the first year proved we’ve got the potential to continue through this program.”
Currently, Commah is sold online, as well as at a handful of local salons and businesses.

“As for the near future, we’re looking to further our business partnerships,” Fowler said. “This includes expanding across Festival Foods locations across the Midwest, becoming a partner with Kroger and becoming Amazon sellers.”

Big dreams for two high school seniors – who plan to continue their business after graduation.

“Commah’s future looks strong,” Fowler said. “Though both partners are planning to attend college, we plan to employ high school students to work for us. This allows us to give experience to younger adults who are looking to build their resume.”

He said being teenage entrepreneurs themselves, affords them the opportunity to guide others the potential of what could happen.

“We’re able to show younger students there is a possibility that they are able to create something successful and see it come to fruition,” he said. “Additionally, we’re able to prove to others we can be taken seriously and are able to show we are true business people.”


Commah, LLC offers plant-based room and linen sprays, car diffusers and essential oils. The team plans to add incense sticks, reed diffusers and potpourri products soon. Submitted Photo

?Fowler said he is planning to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison next fall to pursue a degree in marketing.

“From there, I plan to become a sports marketing manager or own my own business,” he said.

Goeckerman plans to go into psychology on her way to becoming a lawyer.

She is still undecided about where she will attend college.

Teenage owners
Fowler said one of the biggest hurdles the team has had to overcome is being taken seriously.

“Being teenagers, adults have the stigma we aren’t able to do everything we set out for,” he said. “Proving them wrong has been an eye-opening experience.”

Fowler said throughout the process, the most important lesson he’s learned, and encourages other budding entrepreneurs to take note of, is teamwork.

“I learned how to truly work as a team,” he said.

Fowler credits Commah’s success to its teamwork mentality throughout the process – from concept to rollout.

“Being in a partnership, it’s super important to understand your responsibilities or the whole team will fall,” he said.


All Commah products are 100% plant-based and free of chemicals. Submitted Photo

?That being said, Fowler said failure is also part of finding success, and encourages others not to let a fear of failure prevent them from taking the leap.

“Don’t be afraid to fail,” he said. “Failing is a sign of success, and the more you fail, the more you learn.”

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