It started at Disney World.

Shannon Wilpitz, co-owner of Upper Room Candle Company, said her husband promised her a candle that smelled like the Avatar Flight of Passage ride at the theme park when they visited for a family vacation in late 2018.

That promise would become a small business run out of the upstairs of their home by the end of 2019.

And in March 2023, Upper Room Candle would open in a 3,000-square-foot production studio with a showroom and retail space in Webster.

What they offer

The shop’s interior is reminiscent of a fairy tale, Wilpitz said. With its leafy walls and wood elements, she wants customers to be reminded of a story that they can be a part of, she said.

“When people walk through the door, I don't want to feel like they're in Houston anymore,” she said. “I want it to be comfortable and cozy, just that overgrown cottage feel. I just wanted that storybook feel.”

Wilpitz said Upper Room Candles places an emphasis on quality and safety—things she would want for herself.
Upper Room Candle has its own branded jars with bamboo lids and also uses recycled alcohol bottles for the candles. (Asia Armour/Community Impact)
Their products have no added dyes, are hand poured in small batches and have ethically sourced materials, she said. The company also has its own custom wax formula and uses 100% cotton wicks. Candles come in recycled bottles and fluorescent jars.

“I'm not interested in the sale as much as I am the customer,” she said. “You're not going to make a customer by being a shyster and leading people to believe something that’s a lie.”

Their most popular scent is Rosemary Medley, which was developed for Whiskey Cake, a restaurant at Baybrook Mall. The Amazing Grace candle—which has notes of citrus, rose and amberwood—and Rainbow Milk, which Wilpitz said smells like cereal, are the No. 2 and No. 3 most popular.
Most candles are hand-poured in small batches. (Asia Armour/Community Impact)
How we got here

Wilpitz, who is a licensed minister, an editor for a St. Louis publishing house, and a homeschool teacher to her twins, said the way this hobby-turned-business grew was through love for and from the community.

“If people know to come here, it's because somebody has told them,” Wilpitz said.

She said what pushed them to the next level was when a member of their church recommended Upper Room Candle when a resident asked about local candle makers in the Pearland area.

“It ended up being the chef at Whiskey Cake at Baybrook [Mall],” Wilpitz said.
Candles from Upper Room are part of the decor at Whiskey Cake restaurants in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. (Asia Armour/Community Impact)
Upper Room Candle secured its first big client in February 2020 after a meeting to discuss wholesale of unscented candles and to develop customized fragrances specifically for the restaurant.

Now, their candles can be found in Whiskey Cake locations throughout Houston and in four other cities throughout Texas.