At Like A Voss, we’re highlighting local female entrepreneurs who are killing the online game. This week’s spotlight is on Emily Prout, the owner of Arrow It Forward!
For many entrepreneurs and small businesses, social media can be an absolute game-changer! All it takes is one viral post and a business can suddenly take off. But there is a lot more to social media than just ONE viral post, and we wanted to talk to some female entrepreneurs about how they use it if it’s helped, and ask them to share advice for other business owners using social media.
The name Arrow It Forward is a nod to both the “pay it forward” concept and the well-known quote that “An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming. Essentially, Emily followed her arrow and wants to inspire others to follow theirs!
Arrow It Forward offers a line of handmade home fragrance products that include soy candles, wax melts, room sprays, and reusable car air fresheners. Emily makes all of her products at home and puts a lot of love into each and every item. She’s already stocked in many shops across Canada, and also sells her products on her website. Mandi interviewed Emily about her secret to success in business and in life, with being a mother, working AND running a very significant side hustle (that Mandi thought was her only job for a long time).
We also got some awesome insights into why Emily thinks social media is such an effective tool in business.
A Little Bit About Being a Female Entrepreneur
1: How long have you been in business for?
I started making candles a little over two years ago and never thought it would take off like it has. It quickly changed from a hobby to a hustle!
2: What made you decide to break away from the 9-5 and start Arrow It Forward?
Well, I haven’t broken away from my 9-5 yet, I work full-time for the federal government. However, that is the ultimate goal. The goal is NOT to have two full-time jobs, which is pretty much how it’s felt lately. The goal is to swap out, have a flexible work-life balance and be my own boss is something I absolutely love working on!
3: What do you love most about being a female entrepreneur?
Building friendships with other like-minded women and watching each other grow and gain confidence.
4: What is the hardest thing you have had to overcome as a female entrepreneur? Something you did not foresee when you decided to start Arrow it Forward?
It certainly is a vulnerable position to be in. You find yourself questioning things like why aren’t that many people liking that post I just did or replying to an email I sent out. I don’t know if those feelings ever truly go away, but they get easier to deal with when you try to focus on all of the people that are LOVING what you do!
5: What is one thing about working in the candle industry that people would be surprised to learn? Do you call it “the candle industry” or is there another term? I was about to say “Hygge Industry” LOL!
Hygge industry would definitely be fitting….and my Hygge scent is my bestseller! Candles are definitely all about creating a warm and inviting vibe. I think people would be surprised to learn just how many different wicks there are! Before I made candles, I figured it was just one type of string, put it in the middle, light it and you’re set! There are different sizes of wicks, ones you should use in different types of wax, etc. A lot of testing is involved!
And Now Onto The Social Media Questions!
6: Do you have a favorite social media platform? Why?
I am in love with Instagram. It truly is the reason I have been able to have the success I have had over the past two years.
7: What made you decide to start using social media as a way to promote your company?
I can’t even imagine trying to build a business without social media. I’m picturing myself like a traveling salesperson, roaming the country with a suitcase of candles….NOPE! Using Instagram and Facebook, I’m able to connect with customers and potential stockists everywhere, build relationships, sustain relationships. It truly is the most valuable tool.
8: How has social media impacted your business? Would you say that it’s an effective marketing tool?
I am a firm believer in letting people get to know the business owner, to peek “behind the brand.” Let’s be honest, there are a zillion different candles out there. Now let’s say they are all equal quality and same price even. What would make someone choose MY candles over others? People love to support a company with a vibe they like, maybe with a hardworking Mom, they feel they connect with.
9: What advice would you give to other businesses and entrepreneurs who want to use social media as a way to connect with customers?
Don’t put it off one minute longer! I swear three years ago I didn’t even really “get” the purpose of a hashtag! But one week into using Instagram I was tagging like a pro and loving it. And that first time you see a sale come through from someone in another province that ONLY found out about your company because of social media? Well let’s just say, there won’t be any turning back.
A Little More About Emily
In Emily’s words:
My journey began with blogging, which lead to me featuring women entrepreneurs who had boldly followed their dreams. I felt like I was finally on the right path, that I was following my arrow, and I wanted to inspire others to do the same. My business morphed into making products that mean something to me, I have so much fun coming up with names and descriptions and seeing people get a chuckle out of my sarcastic sense of humour.
I get asked ‘how do you do it all’ often because I currently still have a “day job”….though, through the success of Arrow It Forward, I was able to take 3 months off the past two summers and am getting a taste of the true entrepreneurial life! I am a mom of two (ages 9 and 6), a wife of a shift-working husband, and a full-time employee…add on candlemaker and things can get a bit cray cray at times! I still feel like I read a book when I want to, enjoy time out with friends etc, but I certainly don’t binge-watch HGTV anymore!! It’s all about prioritizing and fitting it in when you can. My business is a true passion, so I just get it done!
Know Any Voss Babes?
Do you know a female entrepreneur who loves social media as much as we do? Contact us today – we’d love to tell her story!