Local entrepreneur Carla Worth began cleaning houses independently in 2008. "I've been a Memphian since I could walk and talk. I was raised near Bartlett but found every opportunity I could to be in Midtown or Downtown. The city has always been a huge part of who I am," said Worth.
In 2013 she launched her own natural cleaning business, Aunt Key's Apothecary
. "I named it after my late great-Aunt Key, who has inspired me not just to be conscious in what goes into my home but in every aspect of my life," explained Worth. "I wanted the company to be a brand, not just a service."
Aside from offering residential and business cleaning services, Aunt Key's also sells their own line of natural cleaning and personal care products. "Our best selling products are definitely our all-purpose house cleaning sprays and body butters, we sell out at almost every event we do."
Worth intends to keep adding to her product line, recently she added candles and lip balms to her selection. All of her items are organic, cruelty-free and naturally scented. "My favorite products are the Eucalyptus and Lime Bath Spray, the Lemongrass and Ginger All-Purpose Spray, and the Vanilla Rose Body Butter. I use all three daily!" said Worth. Aunt Key's products are available on their website
as well as at Midtown's Curb Market
In Aunt Key's first year they received their first award for Best Housekeeping the Commercial Appeal's Memphis Most Awards.
"We never said no to a client, we always went above and beyond, and I probably worked 80 hours every week that first year," said Worth. "The payoff has been owning a successful business with employees who care and work hard. And being able to step back a little and enjoy more time with my family and friends."
Currently Aunt Key's Apothecary employs 12 out of their Crosstown storefront on Cleveland, down the street from the soon to open Crosstown Concourse
. Worth opened the storefront in the fall of 2015. "We chose the Crosstown community because the people within Crosstown were supportive of my business, not just as clients but as friends," explained Worth. "All of the small businesses in Crosstown support each other. We're in it together."
Worth has found her own support system in Memphis comprised of other local small business owners such as Deni and Patrick Reilly of the Majestic Grille and Cassi Conyers of Pink Diva Cupcakery
. "They have inspired me to be the best boss I can be; I don't know if I would have stayed this sane and done so well without them. Other than their support, we've gone it alone."
Worth finds it important to give back to her community, so Aunt Key's team is raising money for St. Jude and participating in their 2016 Marathon this December. The business donates services for free or low cost for families with terminal or life-threatening illnesses, as well as to local non-profits such as Mid-South Peace and Justice
and Planned Parenthood of Greater Memphis
. Aunt Key's is also a sponsor of the Memphis Comedy Festival
As for advice for potential entrepreneurs, Worth urges them to go for it. "Do it! It will be hard, sometimes unbearably so, but if you have a passion for it and truly enjoy it, the benefits will outweigh the hard times."