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35.8456°N, 86.3903°W
Murfreesboro, TN, USA

For many small business owners, a hobby turned into a profession. What started as a passion project took off and became a fully-fledged business opportunity. There is a joy in this – in making a living doing what you love. But there is a dark side to the hobby-turned-profession: When the necessary drudgery – the orders and stock taking and payroll – overwhelms the love you had for the hobby and saps the fun that drew you there in the first place.

But there is another way to do what you love without compromising what got you into it in the first place. Heather Ainsworth expertly navigates that route with her business, Southern Firefly Candle Co. The business has grown from a small operation in Heather’s home kitchen and today Heather and her team hand-pour an average of 700 candles every day in their Murfresborough, Tennessee warehouse space. But unlike other small-business origin stories, Southern Firefly didn't begin as a hobby.

“We were very purposeful about wanting to grow a business,” says Heather of Southern Firefly’s humble beginnings. “We wanted to start small – to teach our children a work ethic and how to build a brand. We were very purposeful to make a quality product that could go from our kitchen to the nicest boutique shelf.”

The high-ceilings of the Southern Firefly workshop are redolent with fragrance, and the stock shelves along the wall are a testament to Heather’s uniquely American success story. Heather is the first to say that anyone can make a candle. What makes her operation unique is the dedication to quality and attention to detail, from the formulation of fragrances to the graphic design of their packaging.

“Consistency is what’s most important to us,” she says. “That’s important when you’re dealing with something like scent – it’s the most powerful of our sense. You can smell something and it’ll remind you of home, or a vacation you went on, or some memory from childhood.”

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As Airstream travels the country in search of unique Round Trip destinations, we keep our eye out for dedicated craftspeople who are passionate about manufacturing quality products. Like like the hundreds of production associates who hand-make Airstream travel trailers and touring coaches in our Jackson Center, Ohio manufacturing facility, they are committed to their craft – and to living their dreams. These are their stories.

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