By KATIE SEMINARA
This local entrepreneur said she thinks the mission will ‘be hit hard this year.’
YOUNGSTOWN — As mom of three young boys, Leah Ifft said she knows firsthand that houses don’t always look magazine-cover quality, but at least they can smell pleasant.
Ifft, 30, of Youngstown, recently discovered a way for her house to keep a pleasurable aroma, while starting a business from the comfort of her home.
“I think a lot of people are in the same boat,” said Ifft of other stay-at-home mothers trying to add to their one-income households while not sending their children to day care.
While networking on CafeMom, an online community for mothers to share advice and stories, Ifft met the owner of Etherea Aromatics and decided to start selling the fragrance line as a new business venture.
Etherea Aromatics started as a retail store based out of Detroit and carries a line of natural-based, nonallergenic home fragrance products.
“It’s hard to have a single household income,” said Ifft of the need to find work.
Ifft’s husband, Stephen, works as a chef, so money isn’t falling off trees, she said. With three kids, three dogs and a full-time-student schedule at Youngstown State University, Ifft needed a job that would keep her close to her other obligations.
“It’s pretty crazy most of the time, as you can hear,” she said over the barks coming from the basement, chatter among the boys and the phone ringing.
“But I’m laying the groundwork for the future with [the business] and going to school,” Ifft said.
Though she just started promoting the products, in November Ifft decided to donate 50 percent of profits from designated purchases to the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley.
“I have a feeling they’re going to be hit hard this year,” she said of the Rescue Mission’s needing extra help around the holidays.
The Rescue Mission’s purpose and the fact that it is a reputable charity in the area, Ifft said, were two reasons she chose to support the organization.
“They care about the people they’re helping, and I admire that,” she said.
Holiday shoppers can put their dollars to good work by purchasing items from the specific Rescue Mission area on Ifft’s Web site, yourhousesmellsgreat.com.
Shoppers will purchase quality gifts and support a local business owner — while half of the profits from their purchase will be donated to a devoted organization, said Ifft.
After the holiday season, Ifft plans to continue supporting the Rescue Mission through the purchases of her customers.
“As a society we’re not thinking of donating in June,” she said of those who only think to give during the holidays, even though charities need year-round donations.
“Once I have success with [the business] I can help someone else.”