When Dianna Allen returned from Southeast Asia and Europe in 2019, she was eager to celebrate the lands she had just exhilaratingly explored.
“I had been away for about almost three years at that point, and I just had this itch to start making something with my hands,” Allen says. “Previously I had dabbled into bath bombs and soap-making as a hobby, but when I came back I was like, ‘I’ve always wanted to make candles’ – and that was the initial push for it.”
Allen says she started with research before pouring two candles that, essentially, ignited her artisanal candle shop: TERRA.
“I was like, ‘Wow, these are amazing,’” Allen recalls. “I just felt like I had all this exposure to the world and nature in particular. So that was kind of the mission of TERRA from the start, was getting people in touch with scents inspired by nature and being able to bring these experiences from the outside world into your home.”
It was also important to Allen that her products be created without the harsh chemicals commonly used in commercial candles.
“I often hear people say, ‘Oh, I can’t burn candles because they make me sneeze, or I feel like I get an allergic reaction to them,’” Allen says. “I feel like a lot of the time, the candles that are available these days in stores are mass-produced with poor ingredients. … I really double-down on trying to make things as simply as possible, so not using any toxic or unnecessary ingredients.”
For example, her candles are made from a custom soy-and-vegetable-wax blend, a lead-free cotton wick and a phthalate-free essential oil-infused fragrance, and TERRA’s linen sprays are made with only three ingredients (water, witch hazel and fragrance). Most fragrances are seasonally focused.
“I do have some classic scents that I offer year-round, but I really try to focus on the concept of living seasonally,” Allen says. “So basically, living seasonally is like living in the moment, paying attention to what’s available to you at this time and bringing that into your home by offering seasonal collections.”
TERRA’s summer collection, for example, includes scents such as South Pacific, Indian Coconut and Summer Rain, while she says fall will feature pumpkin and apple scents.
“I try to just keep it simple,” Allen says. “TERRA really hit off from the beginning. I mean, I was able to take it as my full-time job. Now I’m kind of on a mission to spread TERRA throughout all of Missouri … and just kind of being the Missouri home fragrance brand.”