Nikkie Strahan works over a stove much of the day and her home always smells good. So do the homes of Terry Barrett Green and Michelle Egan. All three women work together in a scented candle business. Green said, "Locally we're the only ones that do the soy based candles. Other ones do the paraffin and the paraffin is a lot easier to pour. The soy is like a three step process, so it takes longer."
It's well worth the effort, according to these ladies, who join over 20,000 entrepreneurs making money at home. They market their candles from Tyler to Hemphill, and they're among the 150 million in the U.S. with Internet sites. Terry Barrett Green's Barn Boutique site is www.thebarnboutique.com, and Michelle Egan's Southern Made Candles site is www.southernmadecandles.com "It's starting more and more everyday to open up doors that has [sic] not been opened before, and that we're getting growth and, hopefully, in the next year-and-a-half, we will be at Dallas market," said Green.
Working from home is a trend that's growing in popularity. A top national research firm reports home-based business is a 427-billion-dollar industry. Green's Barn Boutique partnered with Egan's Southern Made Candles, a simple merger that allows business growth, but doesn't interfere with an important goal. "I can stay home with my kids," said Egan.
Nikki is good at balancing work with motherhood too. She stands at the stove while holding her one year old son on her hip. Flexible hours are nice, but at-home workers often experience long hours. Nikki was up until one this morning pouring candles for a large weekend show. They can melt 700 pounds of wax in a week. Egan said, "Sometimes, you can pour in your sleep as much as we do."