Feature: Krenz Market to help fund future family

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

    “We would LOVE a March baby,” Kyle (Erdman) Krenz told the Times as he wrapped up the story of how he and husband Michael have chosen surrogacy as the route to starting their family. Citing the challenges that gay men face in becoming parents and the costs associated with either adoption or surrogacy, the Krenzs searched for a way to raise money while also providing a product for people without having to crowd-source or ask for a loan, and thus Krenz Market was born.

    Krenz Market was established during quarantine in 2020 and is a fragrance company specializing in natural soy and beeswax melts and candles. They currently have 42 wax melt scents and six candle options that include new aromas like “Sunday Morning Brew” for coffee lovers and the familiar fruity cereal smell of “Weekend Cartoons” plus classics like “Caramel Apple Ale” and “Brown Sugar & Fig”. Kyle and Michael both put a stamp on their favorites as well with two scents named after each other.

    The idea came about when Kyle, a Crookston native and CHS graduate whose parents are Denise Trudeau Niemela and Dan Erdman, was searching for a product he could make at home that could raise a portion of the $90,000-$130,000 they’d need for adoption or surrogacy and candles came to mind as something he personally likes to buy. Hoping the product would be relatively easy to make, he gave it a try.

    “Creating candles and wax melts is such a scientific process,” Kyle explained. “I started making them for my family first as a test run and thought it might be possible to sell them.”

    “I made a bunch, a lot of them were flops, but then I got it down,” he added. “My mom brought them over to my grandma’s and people were saying ‘Oh my gosh I’ll buy them’ so I thought I’d seriously crack down on the business.”

    Now, Krenz Market has a serious following on social media and a website showcasing their products that are free from phthalates, carcinogens, mutagens, and organ/acute/reproductive toxins. 100% of the remaining proceeds after taking out costs for supplies and materials goes toward the “Baby Krenz” fund.

    “Through purchasing our products, you support us financially in making our dreams come true,” their website reads. “Your money will be used towards legal fees, adoption/surrogate costs, doctor appointments and hospital fees.”

    The Krenzs updated their fans on March 11 saying they dropped off a check in the mail for their first payment to Carolina Conceptions which is a fertility clinic based out of North Carolina.

    “The check will unlock access to their donor data base which is where we hopefully will be able to find an egg donor. We are very excited to get this process started!”

    On March 24 they announced the egg donor they selected said YES to the Krenzs after clinic visits and getting the go-ahead from her doctor. The fertility clinic they will use requires all donors and intended parents to remain anonymous until the child turns 18 then the parents or child may ask for access to contact the donor at that time.

    Kyle shared that he and Michael have also reached out to a person they know that is considering being their “gestational carrier” which means they will be using someone else’s eggs creating less of a legal hassle. If all goes as planned, the Krenzs would like to wrap up the egg donor and surrogate process by early summer and hope for a March baby.

    Girl or boy? Kyle said it doesn’t matter to him, but Michael, an Oakdale native, hopes for a boy. Their Cottage Grove home is ready to start their family and they even have a “cute little” elementary school in their neighborhood, Kyle noted.

    “This has been a dream for us and if there’s a possibility of having a kid of our own we will do what we can to make it happen,” he said. “We both have this feeling this is just meant to be.”

    Getting to this point wasn’t the easiest though as Kyle outlined the half a dozen or more clinic consultations at $300 a visit, attorney fees and visits, and the donor and surrogate contract considerations plus the hours and days of research including searching for any type of financial assistance.

    “There’s actually only one organization in the U.S. that helps specifically gay men create families yet there’s literally thousands for straight couples and many for lesbian couples,” Kyle explained. “We’re a member of this ‘men having babies’ group and unless you’re deemed infertile or have a disease there’s really no financial assistance out there for healthy young males.”

    “20 years from now or even sooner if our Krenz Market is successful we would love to help gay couples achieve their dreams of having a family by offering small grants and then help provide resources for LGBTQ and gay men looking to have kids,” he added.

    If you would like to view or place an order for any of Krenz Market’s products or make a donation toward the Baby Krenz fund, visit www.krenzmarket.com.

Michael and Kyle Krenz
Krenz Market's new candles