We had the good fortune of connecting with Alyssa McNerney and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alyssa, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
There’s a few things worth mentioning. First, the idea was to create something I myself was looking for.

I love home decor, especially when it involves vintage shopping. I also typically have a handful of candles to burn in my home at any time.

A few years ago I came across two teacups with saucers in a local shop that were filled with scentless wax and a wick, and I immediately bought them. Since then I was always on the lookout for other vintage pieces transformed into candles, but I never found anything like that again.

So I thought maybe I should just do it myself, and with a twist. Teacups have remained a favorite, but I also fill glassware, teapots, sugar and cream sets, and all sorts of delightfully cute pieces. In addition to using an array of different colored soy wax, I also decided to add in scents and lovely arrangements of real dried florals.

The idea was to create a more sustainable candle product; instead of buying mass-produced candles off the shelf at whatever store and then being left with a basic boring container that oftentimes gets thrown away, now you can pick out a candle that leaves you with a beautiful reusable piece of decor once the wax runs out!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
While I am fairly new to being a small business owner, it is one of my favorite occupations to date!

I consider myself to be dipped in a little of all trades, but I am a writer and creative at heart. Aside from the candle shop I write and edit resumes, mentor college students in English and literature courses, and I’ve had a few lifestyle and political pieces published. I also recently accepted an offer to do technical writing for a pretty substantial company that happens to run the biggest search engine of all time… 😉

Reaching this point definitely wasn’t easy. It took me 7 years to earn my bachelor’s as I still had to work multiple jobs through college. After a decade in customer service, 8 years of which were in leadership positions, it took about 300 applications after college to finally garner a few years of experience in line with my degree.

The greatest lesson I learned, as my dad frequently reminded me, was to “keep sawing wood” cause eventually I would break through.

Because I know I wouldn’t be here without a helping hand from others when I needed it most, I have made it a habit to redistribute a percentage of my income directly into the hands of those around me. This is why you will notice on the candle shop’s website and social media information about our commitment to redistributing 25% of every sale back into the community!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
An excellent question, there is so much to do in Atlanta! Where to start…

We would definitely have to check out Krog Street Tunnel. I love seeing how different it looks every visit as folks are always adding their art and murals.

Other spots include the High, Little 5 Points, the BeltLine, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, taking a ride on the SkyView ferris wheel, and Six Flags if we were feeling adventurous.

Victory Sandwich Bar is a must for food Рthey have the best sandwiches and incredible pricing for being in the city. If we were feeling fancy (and extra hungry), Fogo De Cḥo would definitely be on the menu as well!

We also can’t miss making a stop on Jackson Street Bridge during golden hour to get that perfect Atlanta skyline picture!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There’s a lot of credit to go around! My dad always encouraged me to figure out whatever it was I wanted to do and just give it my absolute best.

Without his help I wouldn’t have been able to pursue and finish college with a degree I’ve never stopped being passionate about. Some parents shake their heads when their kid goes after a bachelor’s in the arts, but my dad told me if that was my path he knew I could do it better than most.

That degree alongside an innate passion for writing and rhetoric has helped immensely in starting and running my business, from designing and operating the online shop to keeping up with social media and managing clients.

Another person who deserves a shoutout is my best friend and Vintage Embers Co-Creator Jennie Hughes! Jennie and I actually started making candles for fun around the holidays using candle kits you can buy online. We pretty much learned the process together and always had fun making them, so when I told her my idea to use vintage containers instead of regular candle jars she hopped right on board!

In addition to my dad and my best friend, I’m also fortunate to have an incredibly supportive fiancé. When I started bringing the candle shop idea to life, he actually helped come up with the name Vintage Embers. He even tags along on many of my trips to scout out vintage shops, and he also personally invested in some of our initial supplies for shipping and making the candles.

Website: vintageembers.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vintageembers/

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/vintageembersshop

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