If you’re a regular visitor to the Just Jill Shop then you know that one of our customer favorites is our exclusive, hand-poured, and locally sourced soy candles.
The man responsible for creating these fragrances and fulfilling the orders is Ed Baran.
You all know and love his candles… and I am so excited to sit down and share more about our favorite candle maker!!
The Start of angelo:HOME
In 2008, Ed Baran and his business partner Angelo Surmelis — a tv show host on HGTV, TLC, and the Style Network — started angelo:HOME. They built off Angelo’s existing brand objective: offering elevated style but on a budget.
With the stock market crash and the instability that followed, it wasn’t the best time to start a business. But luckily, Angelo and Ed found success.
Their 30 home decor and furniture products soon turned into 100 products which eventually grew into thousands more. The next extension for their brand was to open a retail store.
To complement their main products, Angelo and Ed offered gift items throughout the store.
Ed had always made candles as a hobby and on a whim, decided to try making some of their store.
He thought, “ I’m just gonna see if people like candles.”
“So I just started out with five different scents. They didn’t even have a label. They were in a nondescript jar. But I priced them the same as these national brands,” he said.
“Within a month, we were out-selling the national brands,” Ed added.
“When I first started, and I’m just being honest, our candle was not up to the caliber of quality of what I make today. It didn’t have a label, it didn’t have a box. It didn’t have anything, yet people loved it.”
Those years of quality upgrades for Ed’s candles have led to the 5-star rated collection we now carry at Just Jill.
Who Is Ed The Candle Maker?
Ed always knew he wanted to work in a creative environment, but his college internship at Disney solidified his desire to work in the entertainment industry.
After graduating from college, Ed moved to Los Angeles. It took a little while to figure out his path, but he eventually found his calling at a public relations firm.
After working there for a year, Ed questioned why he would work for somebody else when he could do it on his own. So, he left the agency.
“I didn’t go to school for public relations. I didn’t know any more than what I had learned in that first year. But somehow, I had the gumption to think that, oh, I can run my own company,” he told me.
“I was a publicist for 19 years. And I’ve worked on hundreds of films and television shows.”
It was through his own firm that Ed first met Angelo and the two started their partnership. Ed started handling Angelo’s PR and helping him to elevate his brand.
When the actual product brand came about, Ed transitioned from doing PR to managing the angelo:HOME retail store full-time.
Despite having stepped away from PR work, Ed says he still goes back to the thing that he feels he’s best at — assisting other people in their dream and helping them elevate and realize their goals.
Speaking of Television…
Alright, I can’t mention Ed’s career without having him share a story about one of his good friends… Rue McClanahan!
Ed says if there is one thing you need to know about Rue it’s that she was the queen of comedic timing. Even though she would deadpan things, she knew it was going to land as a joke.
Rue was out in Los Angeles doing press for a TV show called Sordid Lives. Ed set up a lunch with Rue, the director of the series, and gossip columnist, Perez Hilton.
Part of the group was awaiting Hilton’s arrival when the waitress immediately recognized Rue. She was gushing and was so complimentary.
Ed said, “ When the waitress was finished being an adoring fan, Rue goes, “Now that was really, really perfect. That was sweet, but we’re gonna need you to do that again when our guest arrives.”
While it was obvious that Rue appreciated the waitress going out of her way, her deadpan humor never failed to make those around her laugh.
And the greatest part was that when Perez arrived the waitress came back and did it again.
What Makes angelo:HOME Stand Apart
angelo:HOME marches to the beat of its own drum.
Ed has made it clear that they are not driven by what anybody else does. They are not looking to copy or mirror their competition.
Often, luxury candle brands race to be first and discover the next big thing. To Ed and Angelo, sticking to the assured quality of their product is much more important.
“We try to make a product work, but if it doesn’t work internally, then it never sees the light of day so nobody would ever know,” he said.
“I don’t think we have to make our customers the guinea pig. If it’s an unproven product, I don’t think that fits the value of a message that we believe in.”
With quality comes safety — something Angelo and Ed prioritize. While there is no truly “safe” candle because of its nature, there are ways to minimize the risk of something going wrong.
From day one, they’ve always placed a lot of weight on using the best products available.
“I think that it’s no different than if you’re cooking a recipe of some sort. You can use cheap ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, or you can use a more stable sweetener that is not carcinogenic,” said Ed.
Using a cleaner burning candle versus a paraffin-based candle reduces soot and heavy smoke. If candles aren’t your thing then room sprays and diffusers are great alternatives for home fragrance.
Many brands have their products sitting on storeroom shelves for months. Not to mention that they top-load their candles, ensuring that the scent is not evenly distributed through the candle.
With our friend Ed at the helm, each candle is hand-made, fully fragranced and fresh to order!
How I Met Ed
I first met Angelo and Ed through QVC. I was going to be the host of Angelo’s home collection and was so excited to work with him and Ed. From what I remember, the first time we really talked was a night out after a show when the camera was off and we could just be ourselves.
Part of the reason I like Ed is that he is easy to talk to.
Do you know how with some people, you’re able to pick up right where you left off even if you haven’t talked to them in a while? That’s what it’s like with Ed.
Honestly, whenever we do talk, it doesn’t take long for us to be cracking up about something. Luckily, he feels the exact same way.
“I’ve worked in Hollywood and let’s just say not everyone there is genuine. So, when you encounter people that are willing to let their guard down and just be human, it’s a rare find. You start to gravitate to those kinds of people,” Ed told my daughter Kylie.
Now, full disclaimer, I did not write that to toot my own horn… Kylie insisted that I include it!
angelo:HOME and the Just Jill Shop
Ed admits that thanks to all of you, he has expanded what he offers much more in the past year than he’s ever had before.
“Getting to have direct feedback through the Just Jill customer base is really rewarding,” Ed shared.
From room sprays to diffusers and (spoiler alert) wax melts, you all have inspired him to step outside of the box.
After spending all day in his work studio, Ed usually does not want to light a candle in his home. He does, however, gravitate toward using his room sprays.
“The room sprays really do last,” Ed said. “I know that people aren’t gonna believe it, but I literally tested it out one day… it’s over 800 sprays per bottle!”
I can’t talk about our candles without mentioning our signature “Home” scent.
This welcoming and fresh scent is a blend of sugared pomelo, mandarin, and tangerine combined with fresh, lush greens and clean, cool mountain air.
Ed and I worked for nearly a year on perfecting this scent. I wanted to create a scent you’d enjoy living with every day. I do have to say that Ed admitted that he brings the room spray with him when he travels. A pretty nice compliment given all of the fragrances has to choose from!
The “Home” fragrance is also available in a mason jar!
If you are looking for a scent that balances the transition from winter to warmer weather, then this is the fragrance for you!
This inviting, fresh, clean scent blends together true-to-life scents of tart grapefruit and sweet exotic citrus notes of mangosteen.
I grew up near the orange groves of the Irvine Ranch and the scent of white flower orange blossoms filled the air every spring.
Oh, I absolutely loved rolling down the car windows just to get a sniff as we drove by.
This scent is reminiscent of a clean, crisp, fresh morning walk through an orange grove in full bloom.
As spring and summer start to roll around, I wanted to share with you all a scent that matches the feeling of the seasons.
I grew up in Southern California, and this is rich with the scents I think of when I reminisce about home.
When you smell this, you will think of sunshine, salty beach air, linens drying on the line, and a little waft of suntan lotion which all combine for a clean, calming scent. You’ll love this scent if you love a walk on the beach with a seaside breeze.
Imagine the perfect combination between creamy coconut milk and fresh sweet mango. This fragrance is the perfect modern tropical fusion of the two.
Once we tossed in a few pineapples, a slice of peach, and an orange twist and you have a favorite spring scent.
If you are a fan of more earthy scents, then you will love Awapuhi!
Awapuhi is a Hawaiian ginger flower. The best way I can describe its fragrance is a bit of a salty air breeze with the fragrance of tropical white flowers dancing in the air
Lavender has long been considered being one of the most soothing and calming scents.
Whether you are fighting insomnia or have had a long day and need to relax, our Lavender fragrance will make you feel as if you are in lavender fields in France!
There are many combinations between scents and the mode of fragrances over at justjillshop.com, so if you don’t see something you like here I encourage you to go check out our entire collection!
I hope that you enjoyed learning more about our favorite candle maker and the company that he is a part of!
If you feel inclined, I’m sure he would greatly appreciate it if you left reviews on angelo:HOME products that you have purchased over at justjillshop.com.
From my home to yours,
Ed “The Candle Maker”