In June, Amanda Heibel and Becky Jones opened Farm Charm, their own store stocked with a wide variety of gifts and home items, at 35 1st Street NW in Harmony’s downtown area. The store was aptly named Farm Charm because both of the women live on hobby farms. The duo create and offer custom t-shirts, tumblers, charcuterie boards, jewelry, totes, and aprons along with a wide assortment of scented home and body products, such as soy candles, room sprays, reed diffusers, wax tarts, shower scrubs, and hand soaps. A few purchased items are sprinkled about the store as well. Amanda and Becky make a charming pair of owners, immediately making their customers feel welcomed and at home in their cozy store.
Becky makes the scented items adding fragrances and oils to a purchased base. Doing this she is able to create an entire line of products with the same scent. Some of the favored scents include butterscotch bourbon, lemon pound cake, and Macintosh apple. The mahogany and teakwood scent with its more musky scent is popular with men. Seasonal scents such as the summery floral and fruity scents, the autumnal pumpkin and spice scents and the Christmasy/wintery scents will follow. The display cubicles will change seasonally with other gift items included. A specialty of Becky’s is a wooden dough bowl filled with a scented soy wax candle which customers can return to have the bowl refilled with another candle or repurpose for home decor.
Amanda’s specialty is working with epoxies on tumblers and charcuterie boards. Her first tumbler project was a simple design of rose gold vinyl on a stainless steel tumbler. As the duo looked for something more permanent for business decals, Amanda began her journey on the resin art path. Using YouTube as an inspiration, Amanda now creates toppers for her resin tumblers. A hot seller is the Bloody Mary tumbler, which has a topper of ice, cheese, olives, meat sticks, and pickles handmade from clay and painted. The topper attaches to the tumbler cover with a magnet.
Recently Amanda made a tumbler for an Etsy contact who had saved flowers from her sister’s funeral. Amanda used the dried flowers and also a copy of the sister’s signature in the resin to create a lasting memorial for the customer. You can submit a picture of what you want and Amanda can create one of her resin masterpieces for you. She also includes photographs in her work.
Currently, Amanda has 12 turners for her tumblers, but may soon be adding more. The tumblers need to turn for four hours and then dry for another four hours. In all, it takes about a week from start to finish to make a resin tumbler. Amanda uses a high heat rating epoxy and gets the best quality glitter to create a quality product; she’s a perfectionist with great attention to detail.
Becky and Amanda started out in their crafting with furniture and farmhouse rustic decor in 2018. They repurposed furniture purchased from flea markets and made wooden signs, taking them to craft shows. Later they sold items on Etsy and consigned items to Urban Artifacts in Preston, Gold Street Hair Studio in Wykoff, and Bee Balm in Harmony.
Amanda went full-time into their business in 2019. During the pandemic in 2020 they went all in online and were busier than ever. Becky went full-time in January 2020. This past spring the duo sold at an event at Countryview Crafts in Peterson and a pop up event in Preston — “It was crazy!” they declared.
The duo decided it was time to open a store and eliminate packing and setting up their displays. They had been in their store when it was a hair salon and knew it was cute; when it became available for rent, they knew they had their location. Their goal is to continue to slowly grow; they are trying to be self-sufficient. To this point they have not taken out any loans, but reinvest as much as possible in their business.
Amanda and Becky have found Harmony to be an ideal location for their store. Since both had public jobs before (Amanda worked in cosmetology and was a preschool aide while Becky was a therapist in a nursing home), they personally know many of their customers. Harmony with lots of new businesses in town has provided great community support and collaboration among the businesses.
They were surprised at the cost of shipping as well as price increases for soy supplies. Amanda commented that they were also surprised by how much chemistry was involved in both candlemaking and resin. With candles, the appropriate wick size needs to be determined as well as melting temperatures. With resin, different epoxies react differently to air temperature and humidity. Through trial and error, she has found the one that works in Harmony. She controls the temperature and humidity, provides proper ventilation, and uses PPE when she works with the resin in her home workshop.
Becky hopes to add car fresheners and laundry beads to her scented line. She’s also considering holding candle making classes similar to the painting events that are so popular; maybe even collaborating with a local eatery.
Challenges to the duo have been good challenges; they are looking for additional parking for customers, and trying to keep up with producing stock for the store. The store is open Thursday-Saturday; they intend to be open extended hours over the Fourth of July weekend. A ribbon cutting will be held on July 2.
As I was leaving, a customer entered the store and declared, “Well, I heard you’re really smelly!” Becky and Amanda chortled as they went to greet their new customer. Yes, Farm Charm is indeed aptly named, a charming store with touches of homey farm design and charming owners as well! Be sure to stop in and check it out!