When Raleigh resident Abby Hilyer graduated from East Carolina University in 2017, she never thought she’d be making candles for a living. Hilyer’s brand, World Wicks, features candles layered with three different scents, so when one is burned up, the next is exposed—three candles in one!
Hilyer’s brand revolves around the idea of home, and what “home” might mean to different people. Specifically, the candles she makes are inspired by different states and universities, and the different scents of each candle reflect the unique traditions of each place. No matter where you are, a little piece of that place is with you when the candle is burning.
Hilyer sets up shop in the downstairs studio of her Raleigh home. From melting wax to mixing in the scents and dye, she does it all herself. It’s a long process waiting for each layer to dry, but the care she puts into creating one candle after another means each is thoughtfully crafted.
Hilyer says her business initially was inspired by the three regions of North Carolina. She created a candle with the scents Outer Banks breeze, Carolina wine country, and Blue Ridge campfire intended to encompass all ends of the state. From there, she expanded into university candles where she crafts the scent combination based on sports cheers, school history, annual festivals and other local culture. “I try to focus on the student and fan experience,” Hilyer explains. “That way when people see it, it’s not just another branded product, but it’s catered to the school.”
World Wicks also features candles based on Gilmore Girls characters and seasons like the American Summer, which smells of hot apple pie, toasted marshmallows, and fresh picked blueberries.
Hilyer says her favorite part is meeting people at markets who say they have her candles and love them. “Everything’s online now so it’s cool to be able to talk to them and watch how excited they get when they see my candles.”