This week’s iMeet is Anita Vowell who has taken the reins at Happy Acres Essentials. She’s in the locally sourced, organic, “smells really good on me” business. You can catch Anita at the Paducah Farmers’ Market most weekends, except when she is vacationing in Gatlinburg with her family in July. iMeet this soap-making, essential oil-toting, mother and businesswoman.
Her mother originally started the business, and Anita became involved because she wanted to spend time with her mother.
Welcome to iMeet, Anita. Tell us a little about yourself and your family...
I was born in Mayfield, but have lived in Paducah almost my entire life. I am married to Ryan Vowell and I have a 2-year-old boy, Drake, who I love more than anything. One of the best parts about my job is it allows me to be home with him during the day.
And you own a business, Happy Acres Essentials…
Yes, our business started almost three years now. My mother, Christy Strohkirch, originally began making a few soaps out of the goats’ milk that came from her goats. She had a small booth at the Paducah Farmers’ Market, and that’s when I decided I would start going down there - just to spend time with her. I haven’t lived at home for quite some time and I thought this would give us some quality time together.
As I started helping her sell the soap I became more and more interested in it. Mom began teaching me about all of the positive effects that goats’ milk, pure essential oils and organic ingredients had on the skin, and why she chose to do all natural soaps.
As time went on she started to teach me how to make the soaps, as well as expanding into other products. We expanded into herbal salves, coconut wax candles, coconut wax melts, bath soaks, and the most recent new product that I worked on, and designed myself, is the goats’ milk lotions. As time continues I hope to be able to continue to develop more new things and grow the selection we offer.
It's almost officially summer! Is this a busy time for you?
Summertime is a good time of the year for us. I set up at the Farmers’ Market every Saturday, and also attend handcrafted events as well. (We participate in craft fairs year round.) However, Christmas time always seems to be the busiest time of year for us. All of our products make excellent gifts for friends and family.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to spend my free time with my family, especially my son. Our favorite thing to do is go camping together, or always getting together for cookouts.
Any travel plans this summer?
We do plan to travel this summer and actually have a vacation booked in July for Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It’s our favorite place to travel. We would choose the mountains over the beach any day. We love the scenic views of the mountains and how there are so many things to do in Gatlinburg.
It's a rainy day. What might we find you doing?
On rainy days you will usually find me inside working trying to get ahead on products - so that on sunny days I can relax and have a little more fun outside with my son.
Are you a risk-taker or do you normally play it safe? What is the biggest risk you've ever taken?
With risk taking it depends on the situation, and if it’s more in my favor or not. I’m pragmatic about risk. If it’s more in my favor, I will definitely take the risk, but if there is a good chance it will not have a good outcome, I may not take the risk!
Would you rather read the book or watch the movie?
I always rather watch a movie. I used to love and enjoy books, but I hardly have the time for them anymore. Maybe I’ll get to read more when my son gets bigger!