the journal




fresh 48



I am so excited to start sharing with everyone some of our local Iowa City small business treasures. When I thought about this monthly blog, I wanted to highlight specifically woman-owned Iowa City area businesses or services. These are businesses that I personally love as a mom, and want to share with my fellow IC mamas. These woman are nothing short of amazing. Fellow creatives, inspirational woman, some also carry the title of mom. If you haven’t already checked out these amazing businesses, I can’t wait for you to. Each month I will feature a quick interview with the business owner that hopefully illustrates how special each of these woman are and how unique + amazing each of these services/businesses are within our community.

Erika Christiansen, owner of Tura Lura Co

I met Erika at one of her candle pouring classes at the Green House. She is just the sweetest soul and a very talented candle- maker/educator/mama/entrepreneur (I think I could keep going, but I am running out of space..). If you step inside one of her workshops or private events you will feel how she pours into your crafting. The aromas of her candles are to-die for (when I was there last I fell in love with agave aloe). The dried floral bar (that includes seasonal offerings) is just beautiful. I am so excited to share my conversation with her today.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

A: I’m Erika of Tura Lura Co, a studio for creative hearts located in historic West Branch. Folks may know me for hosting Candle Pour Bars in Iowa City and around eastern Iowa the last few years. I just opened my studio in spring 2024 offering candle pouring as well as dried florals and reed diffusers. I am an artist and educator, and I love to help people create events for celebrations, recognitions and team building. I’m in the stage of life where I’m either with my family, working at the University (of Iowa), working on my business, or trying to carve out some time for myself and my friendships. I really enjoy this stage of life. It’s a little wild sometimes, and I am so grateful to be able to have these different facets.

Tura Lura, a small business in Iowa City area

Q: How did you get started with your business venture? Tell us all about your story.

A: I started this accidentally, from an artist grant! And began to grow it purposefully, learning and growing each step of the way. The biggest hurdle was after the artist grant wrapped up, stepping past my own insecurities of this idea becoming a business and building the confidence to keep going. Things look very different from when I first started, and I anticipate it’ll continue to grow and change.

Q: What do you draw inspiration from?

A: Inspiration comes from slowing down and truly listening to myself. Sometimes that looks like carving out space and creating something beautiful, or maybe just appreciating the quiet of nature and flowers growing. For so long I tuned out my own voice because other things were so noisy. Tapping back into my own intuition has been really grounding-which I think has unlocked more creativity.

Q: What do you love about the Iowa City Community?

A: I love that we live in a big, small town! There are so many fun things to engage in, local businesses to support, and always something to do. For example, running to the farmer’s market I know we’ll bump into friends and have our familiar favorite stands to visit. But we also see folks we haven’t yet met and get to try some new things! There is comfort and familiarity with expansion and growth. It’s a beautiful blend.

Q: What are you favorite other local businesses to support?

A: I love that so many of my favorite local places and businesses are locally woman owned! Shout out to some of my favorite places to frequent like Barre3, Green House, Revivals, Molly’s Cupcakes, and Yotopia. There are local women owned businesses I tune into weekly like Tend Her Wild, and incredible makers and artist s like a {made} community and Pure Luxe Apothecary that I love to buy from.

Q: What would surprise most people about being a small business owner?

A: Running a small business, you have to quickly learn how to navigate areas you may not have expertise in-from finances and taxes to marketing and communications-especially if you are a solopreneur (someone who runs the business by themselves). I am so grateful to the many mentors and people who have poured into me as I learned. I am really fortunate to have access to resources to learn. I encourage inspiring entrepreneurs to check out Merge in Iowa City, because that was a game changer for me.

Q: If you have a weekend in which you could do anything in Iowa City (all expenses paid), what would your local dream weekend consist of?

A: Since I work a lot of weekends at this stage of business, I would soak up the time! I would start it off by hitting up a lot of family-friendly things during Saturday like the parks, a free outdoor concert, grab some good food and treats. Maybe have a fancy dinner out at the Webster, stay the night downtown at hotelVetro, and catch a show at Hancher.

Q: What are you biggest aspirations (business and/or life)?

A: Our family goal is to create a daily life that we really love, so building in daily and weekly rituals that matter to us. Each year looks a little different, but the aspiration stays the same. It’s cheesy, but a way this shows up is that we love having dinner together and talking about our days. The first few years of starting my business I worked a lot of hours, in addition to my other job and volunteer responsibilities. I have really started to intentionally build out what I want life to look like in this season-and dinner together multiple times a week has been achievable.

Want to learn more about Erika’s private events, walk-in hours or visit her store?! You can connect with her +/or find her here:



Visit her store! 109 N. Downey St. Suite 3, West Branch, Iowa.


Iowa City Area Small Business Spotlight: Tura Lura Co.