Meet the Maker: Alexandria Austin
I'm overjoyed to have the amazing Alexandria here on the blog today from Midland Candle Company. Alex recently began Midland Candle Company, and I am thrilled to be one of the first to carry her beautiful, hand-poured soy candles! In the few conversations we've had via email and social media, I can tell what a beautiful soul this lady is. I have her here today with an all new Meet the Maker series. Read on to learn more of her story.
Your name? Alexandria Austin
Location? Springfield, MO
Occupation? Candle maker & freelance business developer
Please describe yourself, your business and the story of how your business came about.
Hey there! I'm Alexandria Austin from Springfield, Missouri. I'm married to my hilarious and sweet husband, Eli, a filmmaker. Our days are spent creating, catching up on shows and movies, and spending time with friends and family. I work as a freelance business developer and own my candle shop, so it's a variety of work.
Midland Candle Co started while looking for a creative outlet. I've always loved the idea of owning my own shop and selling goods that would go in someone's home and hopefully bring a little extra joy to them. I also wanted to put some of what I learned/am still learning about business to good.
The other part of my inspiration for Midland was to give notes of encouragement and amusement to those shopping. I've always loved notes and letters, and as someone that deals with depression, I've found that kind words can really turn any day around. I wanted to give all of that back to others in some way.
This all came together after my dad taught me how to make candles and then spending a few months experimenting and trying to get them right on my own. It was an interesting process and frustrating at times, but I'm happy with all of it.
What are you working on right now?
My shop just opened up so I've been working through a lot of processes and systems when it comes to filling orders and shipping. So nailing those parts of the business down and trying to market the shop. I have a small following so any growth and new followers are helpful!
Please describe your workspace.
Right now my workspace is mainly my kitchen. I use the stove and our table to make the candles and let them cure. We also have a spare room that acts as an office, guest bedroom, and craft room (it's a mess!) where I do the packaging. The workspace isn't the most convenient right now, but hopefully as I figure out those processes I can minimize materials and space needed for each part.
Please share a little bit about your creative process.
I feel like my creative process is very random. I usually look for a lot of visual inspiration, then try to take time away to let it sink in and think of my own ideas, and then I do a lot of sketching, list-making, and dreaming of what will work best. I always try to jot down any ideas/designs that I love or could expound upon later. I have a couple notebooks full of my ideas and hope to eventually use and combine more of them.
How do you begin your mornings?
Oh mornings! I'm not a morning person at all, but I have found that if I get up and work during the day, I'm way more productive than saving all my work for night. One thing that has helped me is making a list the day before of what I need to do the next day. So I usually get up and read or check my phone, then take my husband to work, and after that I'll look at my list and just start digging in!
What does a typical day look like for you?
After the usual morning routine, I work through as much as I can until lunch and then I take an hour to eat and relax my mind and try to stay away from my phone or computer. Then I work the rest of the afternoon until I pick my husband up, usually I'll make candles during this time or work on packaging and shipping. Once I pick Eli up, I try to take a break for the rest of the evening but every once in a while I'll have a couple things to do before I can be done. Nights are usually spent relaxing and just hanging out, honestly some of my favorite things to do.
What inspires you on the daily?
Pinterest, of course! But like most, I need time away from the computer and house, so any traveling helps with inspiration or simple things, like taking a walk or visiting a friend. I feel like almost anything that gets my mind off work, makes me excited to come back to it. I also really enjoy writing and reading with the windows open or sitting outside. It's so relaxing.
Where do you hope your business is ten years down the road?
That's so crazy to think about! Ten years from now... my biggest hope right now is that I create a decent following and "tribe" to have a consistent, steady income to support my family. That would be a dream. I also wnat to expand the shop products. I want to include vintage and refurbished finds to give them a new home. I always find thousands of things at thrift stores that I love but have no place for in my own home, so it would be fun to send those to others that can use them! I hope I can incorporate the concept of sending notes and letters to customers in more ways, I haven’t figured out an answer to that yet but I’m definitely thinking about it daily.
I personally always want the shop to stay small, that’s part of the dream for me - being involved in the day to day work and business.
Thank you so much for allowing me to have your special work as a part of TSC, Alex!