This Artist Celebrates Self-Love and Body Representation Through Her Line of Candles Honoring Plus-Sized Figures

UPDATED: June 17, 2024
PUBLISHED: February 24, 2024
Jodyann Morgan CTOAN Co founder behind her candles that celebrate self love

Jodyann Morgan loved her job as a security guard for sports and entertainment brands. “I was able to see all of my favorite artists perform while making money,” she says. One of her job highlights was when she worked as a security guard at a Rihanna concert. “Seeing her up close was amazing,” Morgan recalls.

Since she loved her job, Morgan didn’t anticipate having a second career. But now she’s the founder and owner of a candle and planter company called CTOAN Co. The acronym stands for “Can’t Think of a Name.” So, how does someone go from maintaining safety at events to crafting planters and candles?

It all started with seeking a stress-reducing hobby 

Morgan’s career transition began in 2020, as she struggled to cope with the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. “The world was just chaotic at that time, and I needed a hobby that I was able to do, from the comfort of my home,” she says. After discussing different types of anxiety-relieving hobbies with her therapist, she decided to create candles. “I bought an Amazon kit to make candles, and then I posted [the candles] on social media,” she says. “People really liked them.”

Pyramid of Success offer

On a whim, Morgan posted a picture of one of her candles on Instagram with a caption saying, “Does anyone want to buy my candle?” She was surprised to see that a couple of people responded that they actually wanted to buy it. She then felt like she was at a crossroads. 

Should she sell her candles or continue creating them as a relaxing hobby? She ultimately decided she wanted to sell them and opted to own a business. “I went to the bank and got a business debit card, and then [it] kind of grew from there,” she explains.

Self-funding her hobby led to quitting her full-time job

Morgan self-funded her company and never borrowed money. The business debit card was used to separate her personal and business finances. Morgan’s business grew quickly. The official start date of her online business was Nov. 13, 2021. By March of 2022, only four months later, she says, “I was able to quit my full-time job,” since she was earning more working at her candle business than from her day job.

“I was making $15.74 an hour [as a security guard], and last year I was paying my employees $20 an hour. I never made $20 an hour ever in my life,” she says, except for the occasional overtime. Currently, two part-time employees work for her in the basement of her home where her business is based.

At first, she only sold candles, but then added planters to her product line. She explains that she loves nature and incorporates it into her living space via several houseplants. Her love of plants is why she added planters to the products that she sells. Morgan plans to expand her business beyond candles and planters in the future. “I joke sometimes and say that I want to be a fat, black Martha Stewart,” she says. 

Celebrating self-love while filling a gap in the marketplace

Morgan’s website states, “My body candles celebrate the human form, in all of its glory. Designed from a completely gender-neutral perspective, there are no female or male candles here, just candles celebrating the human form.” 

She explains it was important to showcase different body types because, “a large population of the world is plus sized, but there’s really no art that celebrates that.” When she initially wanted to purchase candle molds, most of the molds represented bodies that reflected beauty stereotypes. “I wanted to be different. I also wanted to showcase the realistic body form with all the standard cellulite and wrinkles that normal human bodies get.”

The reaction to her creations has been positive. One customer told Morgan she wished this type of art was available when she was growing up. Another person wrote a review on her website saying, “I love being able to have art in my home that looks like me.” Her Instagram page currently has over 44,000 followers and is filled with positive comments and numerous views of her reels.

One reel displays the lighting of Chanukah candles (that are her designs), and it received over 94,000 views and almost 7,000 likes. Some of her reels give a glimpse behind the scenes of her candle-making process. Morgan creates the candle molds, and her planters are printed by a local company using a 3D printer.

Seeing the world in color in her new role 

Besides body positivity, Morgan loves using vibrant colors to create her candles and planters. “Working in security for so long, I wasn’t able to express myself in terms of my colors, because we were always wearing a uniform,” she says. “I want to be able to showcase how much I love colors through my company, and I try to change colors for each collection.”

Morgan says the most important aspect of her company is, “to give back.” She donates a portion of her profits to nonprofits and mutual aid. “My company’s been around for over two years now, and we’ve been able to donate $10,000 to mutual aid and nonprofits,” she says. Morgan has selected different organizations to donate to, whose focus is on people of color, the queer community, the transgender law project and other similar causes.

Embracing the unknown to take a chance on yourself

If you are hoping to turn your hobby into a business, Morgan suggests that you should “be ready for people to say no to you.” She also says, “If you can accept the unknown, then you could go far.” She then adds that the process of starting a business will most likely be challenging, and similar to a roller coaster ride—so it’s important to have a good support system.

The main message she hopes people receive from her products is to love yourself. “At the end of the day, it’s all about self-love and self-determination. Really, we just want people to love themselves and feel like they have a community to support them,” she says.

Photo by Kelly McKenna Patterson.