Business in profile: The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers

Candice English, 35, The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers.

Originally, English is from a ranch between Cut Bank and Browning. She lived in Whitefish, went to high school in Missoula. Her husband was in the Air Guard and that brought her to Great Falls.

What made you stay here?

“Even though my husband left the Guard to join Farmer’s Daughter Fibers, we love the community here and I feel like we can make a positive impact in Great Falls.”

Why did you open/acquire a business here?

“Great Falls is a great place to raise a family. We have one of the most diverse communities in the state with the hardest working people I have ever met.”

What are the top 3 advantages to operating a business in Great Falls?

“Well first, commercial space prices are lower compared to some of the bigger towns in Montana like Missoula, Bozeman and Kalispell. Our community is very hungry for creative small businesses and you’ll see support in an unsaturated market. Plus, Great Falls serves a lot of outlying communities. If you can market it right, you have access to many more customers than just in Great Falls.”

What are the top 3 challenges?

“The largest challenge for us is people supporting box stores instead of looking to see if they can support local first. Our yarn definitely costs more than box store yarn, but what you get it so much more. Not only are the materials more environmentally friendly, they are better quality. You are also supporting a family here in Great Falls. We give back to the community as much as we possibly can, even starting a 501c3 nonprofit, Sisters United. The other challenge I see here is a lack of open mindedness to women and indigenous owned businesses. Not everyone is aware of their biases and you can see the confusion on their faces and the small comments they make as you become successful.”

If there was one thing you could change to existing regulations to remove barriers to business, what would it be?

“In my experience, the City of Great Falls makes it very easy and affordable to start a business here. One thing that would be nice to see is the parking meter situation downtown changed. We need to support and build up those downtown businesses every way we can.”

What advice would you give to someone considering starting a business in Great Falls?

“First, I highly recommend the Great Falls Development Authority, they have lots of resources for you. For us, we wouldn’t be able to survive without our online sales and especially during this pandemic. Take advantage of technology whenever you can. The other thing would be focus on how you want to build a community and culture that is unique to your business.”