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Conversations with the Inspiring Evelina “Eva” Hatch

Today we’d like to introduce you to Evelina “Eva” Hatch.

Eva, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My story starts long before I decided to start Mountain Made. Shortly before I was born, my parents moved from the sunny beaches of Pacific Beach to the small San Diego mountain town of Julian, CA. Growing up here allowed for my siblings and me to have lots of room to run around, explore, and be creative.

Inside the classroom, though, I struggled academically. No matter how much extra help I received at school or from my parents, spelling, and reading just didn’t seem to click. Everywhere I turned, it felt like someone was saying, “You need to get good grades so you can go to college and get a good job after you graduate.” In my mind, I feared that if I didn’t get a college degree then I’d be unsuccessful my whole life. I was determined to find a way to be able to continue to live in my home town, make a decent living, and not have to commute off the mountain for work.

When I was 12, my dad encouraged me to join our local Fire Explorer program put on by the Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District. To my surprise, I fell in love with it. For the first time, I got to experience the saying, “What you put into it you get out of it.” I realized that I didn’t want an economically “successful” life that lacked meaning. I wanted a life that was full of purpose and would make an impact, that would be a success in my mind.

Fast forward a few years to the end of 2016 when I was finishing up my first semester at San Diego Mesa College working part-time as a soda jerk at our local, old fashioned soda fountain when I found myself drained of energy. There had to be a better way to do this work-life-commuter college student balance. At 19, I decided to quit my job and start a candle business called Mountain Made. The joke was on me because within a couple of months, I went back to my part-time job to pay for my education and my new business. But it’s all good! I’ve found appreciation in my side job and this stage of my life.

Has it been a smooth road?
Deffinalty not. LOL, but that’s okay with me. Every little challenge I have faced on the bumpy road has helped me get to where I am today. The first year, I spent a good portion of my savings trying to decide what my product would be. Once I settled on candles, the rest of my savings went into developing the candle recipe I use today. Without a plan and a budget, it’s really easy to spend all your startup money quickly. Thankfully, with the help of the google search bar, I have been able to find the answer to just about any business question I had. That being said, there are still things I’m trying to figure out on my entrepreneur journey. Managing inventory has been my biggest challenge as an entrepreneur with a product-based business.

To all the ladies (and gents), don’t wait for someone to give you permission before you start working on your passion. It’s probably not going to happen, nor do you need permission. You are the one who can use your passion and perseverance to make your ambitions a reality. Your hard work and authenticity are what will make your business successful.

The moment you decide to start a business, you will have a never-ending to-do list made up of things you have to do and want to do. From the start, make sure to set work hour boundaries so your business doesn’t consume your life. There are a ton of Youtubers, bloggers, podcasts, Facebook groups, and online educators on the web that is full of advice to help you along your entrepreneurial journey. You’re not alone.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Mountain Made story. Tell us more about it.
Mountain Made is all about embracing everything about the mountain community that has made me and so many others. In addition to manufacturing and selling our own product line of Julian made merchandise, we are celebrating all that Julian has to offer and smalltown living.

Currently, I make and wholesale my candle line to six local business. The candles are available in a variety of mountain aromas you may find in the surrounding area of Julian, CA such as the lilacs at Fort Cross, first, in the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, and of course, the smell of Julian apple pie. These candles are made of all American soy wax, American made containers, have a zinc & lead-free cotton-paper wick, and they are hand poured by me with care in Julian, CA. With a little hard work, hopefully, in a few years, I’ll be expanding into other products as well.

On the Mountain Made Blog, you can find guides and all the local insights you need to know for your next trip to our little mountain town. In addition, you can find my experiences more in-depth to, hopefully, inspire others to embrace their authentic self.

Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
Without my parent’s unfailing support, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They have never once tried to discourage me from whatever crazy adventure I decide to pursue: organizing a fundraiser, entrepreneurship, running for and holding a public office, higher education… you name it, they have supported me.

Pricing:

  • Soy Wax Candle Tins: $8 + tax on our website
  • Soy Wax Candle Tins: $8 to $12 available at a variety of retailers in Julian, CA

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kierstin Rowell, Courtney Gainor

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