Sakura Spotlight Series: Michelle Myers
Michelle of Dirt Road Candle Co. had always dreamed of being her own boss. She had a wonderful experience growing up on her family’s farm and learning the ins and outs of owning and operating a business from her father. Her business started as a side hustle, as many businesses do, and quickly turned into her passion. And we all know there’s nothing more special in life than finding that passion and making it into a career!
1. Tell us a little bit about your business and what you do.
Dirt Road Candle Co. is a candle (and more) company whose mission is to bring a smile to customers’ faces and a little more love into their homes. I use all-natural products like cotton wicks, paraben and phthalate free fragrances and 100% USA raised soy wax in my candles. It is important to me that the candles are made with soy wax that was grown and harvested in the USA. My husband and I farm with my family and we raise soybeans on our land, so I wanted to bring that full circle and be able to support the industry that we are invested in. I also wanted a Mom to be able to enjoy her candle without feeling anxious that she was putting toxins into her home, so I use paraben and phthalate free fragrances and a cotton wick as well. I have also branched out into making hand soap, countertop cleaner, body wash, room sprays, car freshies and more!
2. What made you aspire to be an entrepreneur?
It’s always been a dream of mine to work for myself. I graduated from Iowa State University with a minor in Entrepreneurial Studies, and I loved coming up with business ideas and ways to make them work. My Dad is a farmer and has worked for himself his whole life, and I would say I’m similar to my Dad in a lot of ways. The older I get the more apparent that becomes, good and bad! 🙂 We both have a drive and passion for what we do. When I started DRCC, I never intended for it to become a full-time job, it was truly something that I was doing to occupy my free time. But, after launching this business online, investing in branding, and working hard to grow a following, I was able to leave my corporate job after spending 10 years in the Ag industry serving farmers. While I don’t have it all figured out, being my own boss has proved to be very rewarding so far!
3. What is the one thing you wish you had known before starting your own business?
It is hard to take time off when you’re the one in charge. I’m finding that I have to hold myself accountable to taking time away from my business and recharging, because this is usually when the best inspiration hits! When I’m tired and worn out, I don’t do my best work and creating feels hard. It’s a delicate balance and some days I do ok at this and others I don’t!
4. What has been the most successful avenue for building and growing your brand/business (social media, ads, word of mouth, referrals, etc.)?
The best thing that I have found is to be authentic to who you are and show my audience my life. A huge part of my life is the love I have for our farm operation and I love taking my audience to our farm and showing them soybean harvest and baby calves frolicking in the pastures. I also show up without makeup on and my hair in a top knot because that is how I look most days! I would say those things help my audience trust me, and get to know me on a personal level. People want to buy from and support people they like, so you have to show them who you really are in order for them to stay connected with you.
5. What are the aspects of your business that you enjoy the most?
I love getting to create things that bring people joy and make them smile. Maybe it’s that the scent reminds them of their late Grandma’s cooking, or maybe a candle burning after a long day is able to bring them some peace. It’s a joy to be able to create something to add more love into my customers’ homes!
6. What do you love doing in your free time to refuel and have fun?
I spend most of my free time on the farm. My husband and I love our cows, and it’s usually where you can find us “filling our cup” at the end of the day! It’s also the place where most of my inspiration comes from, whether that be content I want to share, or new scents and candle names.