Meet Tyrone CarrekerAmplify
This Amplify interview is a really special one. We’re featuring Tyrone Carreker, the founder and CEO of 27.9 Fragrance – the candle company that creates Happily Grey’s signature and seasonal candles. He initially moved from Detroit, Michigan to Nashville to pursue music and along the way found a passion for fragrances. He has made a way to turn both his passions into careers and when he’s not making candles he is touring, playing guitar with Sam Hunt.
We’ve been able to dream up some really exciting changes to elevate our candles and Tyrone has been such a pivotal part in bringing our vision to life. I can’t wait to share what Happily Grey and 27.9 Fragrance have been working on =) This partnership has been such a fun one to develop. I’m excited to share more about our conversation and hope you’re inspired by his work and story as well!
How did you get started in the music business?
I was finishing my degree in mathematics and statistics at the University of Michigan when I decided to take a leap of faith and move to Nashville to pursue my love of music. I moved to Nashville in 2008 and met Sam Hunt in 2009. We began touring together in 2013 and have worked together ever since!
How did you begin making candles?
We were in and out of green rooms and backstage while touring and they were not the best smelling. I started buying candles to keep the rooms smelling good. Once we started touring on a bus with 6 dudes we really needed something to make it smell better. In 2018, our assistant tour manager had a friend whose dad made her a candle in his kitchen. I was so curious about the process and immediately told my brother about it. That Christmas my brother bought me a candle making kit and it took off from there. I started mixing scents together trying to create something cool. I ended up buying another kit with more fragrances and continued to get better at the craft. Once people continued to ask me for candles, it just made sense to sell after that.
What is your favorite way to recharge and reset?
I love going on Spotify and listening to the playlist “New Music”. At least one point during the week I go through the entire list to find hidden gems.
What is the meaning behind “27.9”?
Proverbs 27.9 – “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel”
When people say the name of my company I wanted them to unintentionally be speaking positive things about us. Speaking life into things.
What inspires you most to create?
For fragrances I get my ideas visually and from aesthetics. I relate each scent to a place and envision what it would smell like. For example, if I walked into a dimly lit loft and to my left was a bar with subtle neon lights and to my right was a leather couch, in front of me was a view of the city. To me most people would envision what that would smell like. When working with clients I always ask them to send visuals of company aesthetics so I can bring it to life and figure out what that would smell like.
How do you hope your work evolves and where do you see yourself going next with the business?
Between touring and candle making, I like the pace we are at right now but eventually would love to get bigger. I love making fragrances for brands that are unique to them. I would like to be the go-to guy that people would come to for designing their fragrances. Eventually I will look into distribution and wholesale for 27.9 and maybe branch into colognes and perfumes one day!
Who are some of your favorite creators to follow?
I have been following a studio out of New York – Joya Studio. They create all vessels in house and make and paint them for each buyer. When you get a Joya Studio candle it really feels like you have a piece of art but you also can tell the fragrance is so unique. Their major selling point is being a wholesaler and making them for hotels and boutiques.
Another brand I’m inspired by is the iconic, Tom Ford. You can tell smelling his product that it was intentional. When he releases a new fragrance, the scent is like nothing I’ve smelled before. I come across dupes all the time in fragrance lines, and eventually if you smell it long enough it mimics other brands’ scents. When Tom Ford comes out with something new nothing smells quite like it.
2020 and 2021 were hard years for small businesses. What gave you the drive to keep moving forward?
I was a part of the fortunate group of people during the pandemic that could still keep working. I had a product that could be used at home so when the shutdown happened we didn’t do too bad. Coming out of the pandemic everyone was looking for that specialty piece, so we sold out of candles within our own line pretty quick. What gives me the drive is boredom. I always want to create something new and work to perfect scents so that keeps me motivated.
What is your advice for any other creators that want to be successful, start a small business or expand their business?
Always be looking to move forward. You only lose when you stop moving. The universe will come together once you start taking the first steps. Even if it’s scary, just do it. If you work hard enough at anything I think you will have a chance at success. More importantly, you have a better chance if you just keep going. Everyday just try to say “what did I do today to move 2 steps forward or a half step forward?” Some days you will make big leaps or someday it will be small but at least you can calculate it and it adds up.