Erin van buren

Owner, Lead Maker

Erin Van Buren is the owner and lead candle maker of Grit + Grace Candles, LLC located in Middletown, Virginia. She founded the company in 2021 while healing from her childhood trauma. Read more of Erin's story here.

Her vision is to provide healthy and safe candles that inpsire hope and encourage healing for those seeking refuge from sexual abuse. Grit + Grace is now a thriving company offering high quality candles and community for those healing from sexual trauma. 

Erin has an education background with over 7 years experience teaching students with special needs. She is now a homeschool mom of three children who keep her days busy and joy filled. Erin is married to her highschool sweetheart, Scott. She is actively involved in her local church and enjoys serving in the children’s ministry there.  When she's not pouring candles you can find Erin enjoying the outdoors with a good book and a cup of tea.

Mariah Golde

Digital Marketing Manager

Mariah Golde joined the Grit + Grace team in the spring of 2022. Through helping out with social media during Erin’s observation of lent, she sought healing from her own sexual trauma in the mission and direction of Grit + Grace, and simply wanted to be involved more.

Mariah graduated from Gardner-Webb University where she studied American Sign Language and Psychology. Since then she has worn many hats while working within the deaf community. Mariah is married to her college sweetheart, Robbie, and together they have lived in Japan, Colorado, Texas, and Hawaii, thanks to the Marine Corps!

She is embracing being a mama to four beautiful girls. Her heart right now is to be home with her babies, for her greatest joy in life, is simply being a mom. When she is not chasing toddlers and babies around, she is usually outdoors, enoying a glass of wine, or dabbing in her new-found hobby of sketching wildflowers.

Kaitlyn Steel


Kaitlyn joined the Grit + Grace team in the spring of 2022 as a Therapist and Stories of Hope contributor. Kaitlyn graduated from Christopher Newport University where she majored in Psychology. She went on to obtain her Master’s of Marriage and Family Therapy from Capella University. She now works as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and oversees our Resources for Healing in her spare time. Kaitlyn is also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and was inspired through Grit + Grace to reflect on her past experiences and share her story of healing. Read more of Kaitlyn’s story here.

Kaitlyn has called Colorado, Georgia, New York, Germany, Virginia, and Kansas home thanks to her husband Brian’s career in the Army. She is a proud mama of two sons Caleb and Noah. When she’s not working with clients she enjoys working out, spending time with friends and family and writing.  



Dannielle joined the Grit + Grace team in the fall of 2021 snapping some of the first photos for our seasonal collection. A survivor of childhood sexual abuse herself, she jumped at the opportunity to get invovled with the company as the mission aligns closely with her healing journey.

Dannielle is a Virginia native but now resides in North Carolina where she works as a Nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Dannielle is happily married to Tyler and together they have a daughter and precious golden retriver pup, Thatcher. When shes not taking care of NICU babies or snapping photos you can find her outside adventuring with her daughter or spending quality time with friends and family.