By Anne Riley
Photos by Mary Tweedy
Alabaster native Casie Jarman believes there’s nothing quite like a good candle. In fact, she’s lost count of the number of times she’s gone into a store specifically to buy a new candle, only later to discover that the smell was too strong or not strong enough, or the candle burned too quickly. Eventually, Casie decided that if she couldn’t find the perfect candle, she would just have to make her own—and that’s what prompted her to start her own candle company, Siluria Mills Co.
If the name sounds familiar, that’s probably because locals have grown up with it. The Siluria Cotton Mill has been an Alabaster icon for as long as Casie can remember, and she was inspired to adopt the name after the city made recent improvements to the old mill water tower.
“When I thought about the water tower, I thought, ‘That’s it!’” Casie says. “If the water tower can become an icon that symbolizes hope, prosperity and community, then I’ve got the perfect name for my company.”
The goal of Siluria Mills Co. is simple yet profound: Casie wants to remind people of home. She wants them to remember their time at Thompson High School, the Dixie Youth Fields, prom, homecoming, all those trips to the promenade and Sonic on the weekends, day trips to the slab and the creek and all the other things that make Alabaster such a special place.
“Once people smell my candles, they’re instantly reminded of summers at their friend’s lake house, Friday night football games, picking honeysuckle as a kid or whatever memories it may bring back,” Casie says. “Very few things beat making someone else happy, especially in the world we’re living in now. That’s why my slogan is ‘Smells like home.’ I try to blend fragrances that remind people of home; whatever and wherever that may be to them.”
But it’s not just the smell that reminds people of home; it’s the names of the candles, too. All of Casie’s spring and summer candles, which make up her “Hometown” line, are named after something or someone in Shelby County. While she’s gotten some pushback about limiting her market to such a local area, most people appreciate the fact that she loves her hometown enough to keep it as the focus.
“Not only are the fragrances phenomenal, if I do say so myself, but the names alone are a conversation starter,” Casie says. “I can’t count the number of times I’ve had customers come up to my booth and say, ‘Thompson? I graduated from there!’ Or, ‘Lay Lake? I grew up going there!’”
In addition to her Hometown line and seasonal fragrances, Casie makes personalized candles—custom labeling, custom fragrances, candles in remembrance of a loved one, bridesmaid or wedding gifts and more. To date, her favorite request was to make a candle that smelled like “him.” The “him” in question was a childhood friend of Casie’s who passed away several years ago. When his sister smelled the candle, she smiled and burst into tears.
“Of course, I did too,” Casie says of the sweet memory.
The utmost care goes into every candle Casie makes. Each product is hand-poured in her home studio and goes through intense testing to ensure it’s the very best it can be—including feedback received from her five-year-old daughter, who Casie says frequently puts her in her place as far as candle fragrances go.
As she began this venture, Casie was shocked at how complicated candle making could be.
“It’s not just mixing some wax and fragrances together and pouring it into a jar,” Casie says. “Every single fragrance oil requires a different percentage to get the perfect melt pool and fragrance throw because they vary in weight. Then you add in all the different types of wax, wicks, vessels, embeds and colorants—you have a whole science experiment, which may be the most fun part for me, being a biologist by education.”
Her selection of products has already moved beyond the candle realm, adding room sprays, scoopable wax melts and goat milk soaps to the list of offerings. On the company website (siluriamills.com), customers can select from seasonal fragrances like autumn’s Basic Witch, PSL Season and Sweater Weather; her spring line includes scents of Lay Lake, Mainstreet and Buck Creek. There’s also a year-round collection for scents that transcend seasonal restrictions. Vessel sizes range from a wax pot shot to a dough bowl, so customers can smell their way down memory lane for as long as they want.
Now approaching one year in business, Casie is extremely proud of how far her company has come. She’s already partnering with two local brick-and-mortar shops: Alabaster’s Brooklere Pharmacy and Plant Calera. In the next year, she hopes to gain at least two more partnerships, and her schedule is already blissfully booked with vendor shows and events.
“My ultimate goal is to eventually have a brick-and-mortar store and candle bar where people can come and experience candle making with their friends,” Casie says of her future plans.
Until then, she’ll continue to sell her candles at in-person events and through her local partners, as well as virtually at siluriamills.com. She’s also available to discuss wholesale candle supply with businesses and individuals. You can connect with Siluria Mills Co. on Facebook (facebook.com/siluria.mills.9) and Instagram (@siluria_mills), or email Casie directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Siluria Mills Co. Spring Fragrances
- Cahaba River
- Buck Creek
- Creek View
- Lay Lake
- Olive Branch
- Siluria Cotton
- Skeeter Eater
- Under the Kudzu