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.

Related: Discover Our Just Jill Shop Candle Collection

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.

Related: Ecclissi Watches and The Man Behind The Brand

“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.”

Ed "The Candle Maker"
Angelo Surmelis and Ed Baran

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.

Ed "The Candle Maker"
Ed, Rue McClanahan, and writer/director Del Shores

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.

Ed "The Candle Maker"
Ed melting wax to make a candle

“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.

Ed "The Candle Maker"
Ed layering the wax to finish off a candle

“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.

Ed "The Candle Maker"
Ed demonstrating one of his room sprays

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.

Ed "The Candle Maker"
Ed, Angelo, and I

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!”

Just Jill Signature “Home” Candle and Room Spray Duo

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 "The Candle Maker"

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!

Just Jill Sunny Coastal Cottage and Gardenia Tubrose Candle Duo

If you are looking for a scent that balances the transition from winter to warmer weather, then this is the duo for you!

The Sunny Coastal Cottage is refreshing and inviting. The Gardenia Tubrose breathes tropical florals into any room.

Just Jill “With Grace” Candle and Room Spray

This duo is one of our newer fragrance additions, but it’s already a hit.

Dreamy, light, and hopeful, this duo features floral notes coupled with bergamot and citrus tones.

Just beautiful!

Just Jill Seasonal Room Spray Sampler

Want to try multiple scents? Take advantage of our new room spray seasonal sampler!

This pack includes 4 2-ounce sprays in Lavender, With Grace, Home, and Lemon Pound Cake. Put them in different places in your home, or give them as a gift!

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”

Subscribe to my newsletter to get my latest blog posts, recipes, DIY ideas and my best picks straight to your inbox!

You have successfully subscribed!