Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Adrienne McElwain, Founder of Crystal Festival, located in Ogden, UT, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

The Crystal Festival is a happy place for Rockhounds. A show that celebrates the many ways there are to enjoy rocks, minerals, gems, and crystals. I created this show to share the incredible rockhounding community, stone art community, and crystal healing community with those interested in rocks. There are currently 7 Crystal Festival Shows in Utah and 1 in Colorado.

Tell us about yourself

I grew up in a rock shop in Salt Lake City. I spent weekends rockhounding with my dad and learned to love all aspects of rocks, minerals, gems, and crystals. My favorite part of my childhood, job, and eventually my life were networking and traveling! Now I travel the world to make videos about rockhounding and bring back the most incredible things to showcase at The Crystal Festival. When I was younger, most rock shows were segregated into minerals or lapidary, and the healing arts had very little, if any, presence at rock shows. I wanted a place everyone who loved crystals could come together and network, share, celebrate, and learn!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

The Crystal Festival started out as a trunk show in 2009, with two artists sharing their work. In 2010 I had seven artists and mineral dealers come. By 2019 I rented the Davis Conference Center for 24 of us, but due to Covid, the show almost didn’t happen. The next year we filled the Ballroom at The Davis Conference Center with 48 vendors and 12,000 attendees, and I realized my goal of allowing people to celebrate their lives their way had come to fruition. After that show, I started looking for more venues, dates, artists, mine owners, and ways to celebrate! Now we have created educational displays, backdrops, workshops, and an entire network of Rockhounds.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Having the same things to do over and over and over some weeks, and other weeks dropping everything on its head to get in muddy booths and go rockhounding. Your job can feel so repetitive and yet be so absolutely unpredictable at the same time.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Don’t start a business unless it is absolutely something you are ready to fight for. Because there are days you won’t know why you are doing this.
  2. Get comfortable with people not liking you. While 99% of the people in your industry will probably welcome you with open arms, some will not, and that’s just how it is.
  3. Stop trying to do everything perfectly, and just do it!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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