What started as a pet project transformed into a bustling, nationally renowned family business for the McCrarys. Natasha McCrary launched 1818 Farms in 2011, and it wasn’t long before the farm was named America’s “Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year” by Amazon in 2019.
Nestled outside of Huntsville — in the historic village of Mooresville — on three acres of land is 1818 Farms: a working farm, a bath and beauty business, a flower farm, and much more.
The inspiration for the farm originated when her middle child fell in love with a Babydoll Sheep at a petting farm in 2011. Little did she know that her child’s desire for a sheep would turn into a prominent family-owned and operated farm.
She told Yellowhammer News in a recent interview that owning a Babydoll was all her son could talk about, and so she began to dream of plans for a small profitable farm where she and her husband could teach their children to appreciate the land and animals and to be good conservationists.
McCrary did much more than teach her family how to raise sheep; she taught them how to turn a passion into a career. McCrary took a gamble and left her previous career to become a farmer, but she says every farmer is a gambler.
As a farmer, business owner, wife, mother and shepherd, she wears many hats on a day-to-day basis. Those roles have exposed her to varying experiences and allowed her to not only relate to people, but also quickly adjust to situations and implement a solution for the business and the farm.
She advised, “There are so many things you can’t control, but I think it goes back to you have to have flexibility. It goes back to the plan and being able to pivot.”
She continued, “[Y]ou have to have flexibility because there are so many things out of our control.”
McCrary may not be able to plan for the weather, but she has had nothing but successful plans for 1818 Farms since its inception.
“When building a business from the ground up, realize that you must commit countless hours during the startup and growth phases,” she said. “Don’t expect success to happen overnight. Continue to think long term when building a brand and customer loyalty.”
Originally, the farm primarily grew produce and minimal flowers. As the Slow Flower movement emerged in the United States, they made the transition to a flower farm only. McCrary felt the niche flower market was a need that wasn’t being met in North Alabama and saw flower farming as a business opportunity.
She notes that flower farming is her true passion. In 2017, the farm started a “Seed to Vase” initiative to educate others on identifying, growing, harvesting and arranging seasonally grown flowers. At the peak of their first season, the farm had over 11,000 flowers growing in their fields. Their bath and beauty products quickly became the largest source of revenue.
The farm sells its artisan products locally and via Amazon Handmade. The Amazon Handmade Community provides brand credibility to their product line. Since joining in March of 2017, Amazon has played an essential role in the farm’s growth as a company.
McCrary outlined that when it comes to your career, “be authentic.” She added, “[I]f you aren’t authentic, then you probably aren’t passionate about what you do. So, find your passion and go from there.”
Her passion for flower farming has blossomed into an award-winning farm that provides for her family as well as quality products for millions around the nation.
Yellowhammer News is proud to name Natasha McCrary a 2020 Woman of Impact.
Editor’s note: Yellowhammer Multimedia recently announced the third annual Women of Impact Awards. Honorees are being featured on Yellowhammer News each weekday through September 30. We will tell their stories one-by-one, utilizing written and video formats. Check back daily for more of Alabama’s best and brightest.
Lenze Morris, a native of Southeast Alabama, is a special contributing writer to Yellowhammer News for the 2020 Women of Impact series