The candle studio at Soyil Candles by Greta in Mt. Washington. [Photo courtesy of Soyil Candles by Greta]

Sparked by a Desire to Illuminate a Room,
Soyil Candles by Greta Shines a Light on Minimalist Design

by Reese Randall


August 24, 2021

If you are anything like Greta Falvo Cicero, you are drawn to candles like a moth to a flame. It’s no surprise then that her career in radio would flicker as her side-hustle-turned-business venture would ignite.

“I had been working in radio, but I was a big candle person,” says Greta. “I would constantly be buying them and I began to realize the candle market used a lot of dye.”

Not only was there an environmental drawback, Greta did not have an aesthetic affinity for the design of the candles she was buying, or that she would buy a candle and there was no scent.

“The candle would smell good in the store, but when I brought the candle home it had a weak scent even when it was lit and it smelled too artificial. I wanted something cleaner, stronger and with a better design,” says Greta.

The former salesperson for CBS Broadcasting’s 100.7 Star, Y108, The Fan and KDKA-AM had now found her passion.

“Once I figured out how passionate I was about candles, how they were made and their smell, I turned it into a business,” says Greta. “The look, the scent and the amount of money I would spend wasn’t cutting it for me.”

More than a decade ago, Greta was determined to create a more natural candle made of simple ingredients that smelled good and was worth the money.

“When I started making candles ten years ago there was no minimalist style,” says Greta. “Since I was always into home design and décor, I wanted my candles to be clean and décor-friendly — disappearing into anyone’s décor.”

However, most importantly is for her candles to be eco-friendly. They are handcrafted, all-natural, dye-free scented soy candles.

“Soy was not as popular a decade ago and I wanted to use it as my main ingredient since there are green advantages to choosing soy wax,” says Greta. “I wanted to use the word Soy in the name so customers would know what it was made from.”

Soyil (pronouncedsoil) Candles use other essential oils and perfume, but are free of carcinogens.

Soyil Candles actually began with speaking to friends and peers.

“I didn’t know it was going to become a business because, I did it for myself at first and I was having fun,” says Greta. “I reached out to people I knew and my contacts to see if they would be interested in carrying my candles. Now that the candles have gotten popular, people contact me which is a really humbling feeling.”


A chic display of minimalist-style ceramic vessels by Soyil Candles by Greta. [Photo courtesy of Soyil Candles by Greta]

Retail partners and spas where Soyil Candles are carried include boutiques such as Lula Boutique, The Skin Center, Spa Jema Downtown, Rue Boutique and Nails on Point — just to name a few.

The candles are manufactured and labeled in the back of Greta’s workshop inside the studio space of her Mt. Washington candle shop.

“It was never meant to be a store front,” says Greta. “The bulk of my candles are a minimalist glass style and a ton of favors with tins for showers and party favors. I also design custom vintage glass candles after I’ve gone antiquing. I have all of these in the store.”

Soyil Candles also come in limited-edition ceramic vessels, too.

It's her scents that make the most sense to her customers who have made a few very popular.

“People like my Almond Cake candle and an apple and cinnamon spice candle called Home Sweet Home,” says Greta, who has recently had a change in her own sweet home. Her 2 ½-year old son, Peter. “It’s a real juggle being a new mom to Petey, navigating the ongoing virus and running a business, but I love candles and my niche in home décor has always been a passion within me — it just comes naturally.”

Soyil Candles by Greta, 269 Republic St., Mt. Washington [hours by appointment].


Reese Randall writes bi-weekly stories for The Green Voice. She's also the contributing restaurant editor for IN Community Magazines and food stylist for GNC. To see more food, fashion, photos and videos, go to