Talia Waller never planned on starting her own candle company, but through her hard work, sacrifice and support from family and friends, her passion for candle making blossomed into a business.
Catherine Ann’s Candle Company opened in downtown Madison on April 3. The store is located on 206 W Washington St, Madison, GA 30650. The company specializes in eco-friendly soy candles, but offers a variety of products such as safety matches, candle care kits, wax melts, soap, car fresheners and lotion candles, which are candles that can also be used as body butter or massage oil.
“Our focus is to create products that are eco-friendly and make them with ingredients that are natural,” Talia Waller, owner and candle maker said. “I didn’t realize how several waxes that people make candles with have toxic ingredients, so when [the candles] burn [those toxins] are released into the air. So, I decided to use natural ingredients from the beginning because it would be better for my friends, family and customers in the long run.”
Waller was born and raised in Madison. She graduated from Morgan County High School in 2011 and went to Clayton State University for her undergraduate degree to pursue teaching.
“After I got older, I really just wanted to experience somewhere else,” Waller said. “I feel like it took me going out and experiencing other places to realize the beauty of Madison. I didn’t see this beauty when I was in middle school and high school.”
After she graduated, she returned to Madison and began teaching at Morgan County Middle school. She teaches seventh grade language arts, and it is her fifth year teaching.
She always had a love for candles. When friends would visit her, she always had a candle burning, and she used to wait outside candle stores before opening for sales and new releases. Even though her love for candles started years ago, her interest in making candles developed in 2019.
“I really began developing an interest in making [candles] a few years,” Waller said. “Once I started making them I realized I enjoyed it a lot because I was able to create scents I preferred and once my family began testing the scents, smelling and using them, they were like ‘oh these are great you should start selling these.’”
She started an online store to sell her products, but it was also a challenge because people like to smell candles before purchasing one.
“I had teachers at the school asking me to bring samples of my candles,” Waller said. “So I was lugging bags of candles to work every week, and I couldn’t leave them in the car because they melt … it was a process.”
Waller knew the value and importance of customers having the full experience - being able to walk in a store, smell the scents and see the vibrant colors, so this past summer she began participating in the farmers market at Farmview.
“That is when I realized [my candles] were something special,” Waller said. “I was able to interact with people and got a lot of feedback. People began reaching out to me for bulk orders and it took off from there.”
Waller’s business was doing great online, but she always had the vision of having a store for people to come in and smell the candles, and host candle making parties.
“I wanted to create something in Madison for people to come and have a good time with friends and family,” Waller said.
Catherine Ann’s Candle Company plans to start host candle parties in the summer where people can learn how to make candles, select different scents, colors and customize the candles.
When Waller opened the store, she asked Khadijah Hill to be the store manager. They have been best friends since 2010, and when Waller began doing the markets, Hill was there supporting and helping.
“I literally count every candle in here on a regular basis,” Hill said. “Everything is completely organized and set up, so [Waller] can actually come in here and make candles and do the actual creative stuff that she enjoys.”
Hill was born and raised in Madison. She graduated Morgan County High School in 2012 and went to Kennesaw State University to pursue a degree in psychology. She also completed a degree in residential planning with a focus in interior design.
“Khadijah is my right hand,” Waller said. “In the beginning I was like can you just help me design everything, but she is so organized and has a way of doing everything that makes my life so much easier. She runs and operates the store, and I see her as my partner.”
Waller hand pours all of the candles and wax melts. Everything is made in small four pound batches of wax. Waller can typically make 15 batches when she comes to the store after school. The candles sit for two weeks before they’re placed on the shelves in the store.
“I feel like I’m able to put out a quality product that way, as opposed to using a super large wax meter,” Waller said. “I want to create the best candle I possibly can, but also make it affordable for everybody.”
Something that has always been special to Waller is family, so she decided to name the company after her grandmothers.
“Catherine, my mom’s mom, has always told me ‘Talia, you’re always trying to start a business and one day you’re going to do what you set out to do’,” Waller said “My dad’s mom, Shirley Ann, has also always been supportive. I wanted to do something to honor them, and that’s why I decided to do Catherine Ann’s.”
The store is open Wednesday-Thursday 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit catherineannscandles.com or follow them on Instagram/Facebook at catherineanns_candles.