Today on Makerlog Stories we interview Dianna Allen, founder of Terra – a rising, indie company that makes eco-friendly, hand-poured candles.
Hi Dianna! Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi! I’m Dianna and I’m based in St. Louis, Missouri. I have a background in graphic design, marketing, and recently spent a few years abroad traveling around. I have a passion for creating physical products and am currently working towards my dream of being able to do that (and only that) full-time.
What are you making?
I make candles! Eco-friendly, hand-poured, soy candles. As I continue working on growing TERRA, I’m expanding more into home fragrance and also make linen sprays and wax melts.
How did the idea for TERRA come to mind?
Candle making has been a skill I’ve always wanted to teach myself. Before I began traveling, I used to make bath bombs and other soap related products for fun. I tried to make a business out of it but cut it short real quick in order to pursue other things (like going to Thailand instead, haha). Anyways, I was away for about 2.5 years and while I loved my life and everything I was doing and able to do… there was one thing I couldn’t. I could not run a handmade business while traveling. The logistics of it all is far more complicated than if I were to do this out of my own apartment and not being on the move constantly.
When I returned home this past November, I spent a couple of weeks getting reacquainted with life, but I made sure not to make the same mistakes again. I still had the desire to learn candle making from years ago, so I went full force towards it!
What inspired you to make candles?
I’m not sure there was an inspiration to make candles, rather just the curiosity of being able to make them. And make them great. My inspiration for scents, however, comes from all the places I’ve traveled to and nature in general. The word ‘terra’ itself is Latin for ‘Earth’ and I chose that name with all the intentions of representing this world.
Why embark on the indie maker journey?
Having my own business, with me, myself, and I is extremely fulfilling.
To be blunt: I just don’t like working for others. I’ve never been the person who liked group projects in school or relying on others. Having my own business, with me, myself, and I is extremely fulfilling. I’m sure one day I will employ others and have to work as a team, but at least then I will be leading it all. And there’s no better feeling than growing this lil’ baby of mine!
How do you see the future of your product?
HUGE. It’s going to be a long journey, and I’m completely happy about that. I don’t see any ‘end goals’, but a huge milestone would be having my line of candles available in a store like Anthropologie someday. I will work endlessly to make that happen.
As of today, what are your revenue stats?
In revenue, I’ve gained over $25,000 in the past 9 months of being in business. I have been month over month since March –– although I expect that coming to halt this month.
How do you use Makerlog?
Makerlog serves as a community for me. I joined it in 2018, I think because I was new to the tech-scene and just wanted to find others trying to make things of their own. And while I have since transitioned from being in tech to being in candles (CaaS / Candles as a Service, anyone?) the support from Makerlog’s community has carried on with me. Which I’m thankful for! I never thought the two fields could cross, but they seem to for me!
If you want to do something, just do it. You don’t need to overthink it; you don’t need to start on a grand scale.
What are the biggest challenges of being an indie business?
Every single day. I don’t mean this in a bad way or that I’m suffering, but every day is a challenge. I want to make sales every single day. I want to find new customers every single day. I want to grow a little more each and every day. Whether that’s in numbers or enhancing my products and packaging. I think the challenge is that of itself… having a successful business. That’s the challenge.
As a tradition, we ask makers to share the music genre that motivates them.
I’m a big time new-country girl, which comes as a surprise to a lot of people. But, generally, I find myself listening to everything. Some days it’s rap and R&B, some days I’m in my emo phase, and other days it’s Avicii and Kygo.
Closing question: What advice would you give to other makers out there?
You don’t need to overthink it; you don’t need to start on a grand scale. Growing is all part of the process and if you’re not excited or happy about that, and are looking for immediate success, then this isn’t for you. People think there’s a magic strategy that works every time, there’s not. But the one thing that every successful person has done, is start.
Alright, that's it for today! Thanks for reading this edition of Maker Spotlight. This was a fantastic interview and we wish Dianna the best in her maker journeys!
Find TERRA on social media:
P.S., go buy her Autumn collection! It just launched and it's pretty fire.