#IAMNICHE-Justen Murray of Ovella Wool

January 31, 2018





Q: Please tell us a great story about your business, your experiences and the gritty back-story of your journey and why your business or products are your passion.


A: I have always loved creating things. Whether it be something for my home, for my kids, for a gift to give, or for myself, handmade items always mean the most. My business started by accident really. I had never planned to own a business but working for myself was something that I have dreamed about doing, I have a problem with "authority". My son had very sensitive skin as a baby and seemed to be allergic to most disposable diapers. So we switched to cloth diapers. We also had to adjust our laundry routine and eliminating fabric softener was the top of the list. I had read about wool dryer balls and decided that I could just make my own. So I did. Then I started making them for friends. One happened to work for our local wellness store. The owner saw them and immediately wanted to carry them in her store. So that was the beginning of Ovella Wool. It has since blossomed into a full time work from home journey and I couldn't be happier.



Q: What has been your biggest success?

I went into this business with the idea that everything should be 100% natural. I even started with natural dyes, which I still offer. While they aren't my best sellers, they are something I am proud of. The colors are amazing and to think they are made from sticks, berries, and bugs isn't something everyone can do. A ton of research went into dyes and mordants and wool. I strive to be unique. When I first started Ovella Wool there seemed to be two types of dryer balls, solid colors and intricate designs. I wanted something that wasn't out there, something that was classic yet modern at the same time. The two toned swirl was born. I have since added a couple more original designs that I am pretty proud of.


Q: What has been your biggest struggle?

A:My biggest struggle is time management. When you work from home all of your work is at home, just sitting there, begging to be made into something amazing. Its hard to turn the creative juices off just because its 5 pm or a Saturday. There is always something to do and being a one person business, there is only one person to do it. If I don't do it, it doesn't get done. Its as simple as that. I have learned to be way more productive during the day so I don't have to stress as much in the evenings and on the weekends. Until I get some studio space I think this will just be the way it is.


Q: What's your niche?

A: Natural products are such a thing of the past they are becoming a big part of the present and future. More and more people are wanting to go chemical free in their homes. It really only takes one quality product for people to believe that you don't need all the synthetic stuff to make your house clean. I love being able to offer my customers products that I know work because I use them myself. I can tell you what is in every product I make because most have two or three basic ingredients. I even make the soap that is the base ingredient for all of our cleaning products. Chemical free truly is possible with Ovella Wool and Verde products.


Q: Where do you see the retail industry in ten years?

A: The retail industry is changing. I can tell just from when I was younger. Everyone, including myself, buys things online. It is so easy and nice to get it done while you are thinking about it. I have noticed that small boutiques that offer unique items and outdoor vintage markets are gaining popularity. This comes back to the handmade industry. Handmade items truly are one of a kind. You give a person so much more than just a gift when its something handmade. Etsy has given a huge platform to small handmade businesses. It has boosted my business in such a way that I don't have to work outside of the house for a steady income anymore.

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