UAH nursing alumnus living a retail business adventure

The Dream Factory

Inside The Dream Factory are, from left, business partners Tannon Hedges, Chasen Uptain and Jonathan Phillips.

Courtesy The Dream Factory

Nursing alumnus Chasen Uptain says he’s living a new retail adventure with two business partners at The Dream Factory, located in Clinton Row in downtown Huntsville.

Uptain got his masters degree in acute care nursing from The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) in 2016 after getting his bachelors in nursing from UAH in 2012. He created The Dream Factory as the retail home for custom soap maker Artsy Bars and Burning Guy, a wood burnt art company he founded.

"Just like anything in life, you have to work for it," Uptain says of the business. "Obtaining my two degrees was not easy and going into business is not easy, either. I learned that with determination and discipline, you can achieve anything you set out to do. Anything."

The business at 115 Clinton Ave. initially evolved as a retail space for Artsy Bars, which was started five years ago by partner Jonathan Phillips, who now runs the shop. Prior to the store opening, Phillips had been marketing his soaps online only.

"By obtaining retail space, I have helped him expand production and make the soap right in the shop," Uptain says. "His company just needed more organization and a financial push."

Uptain started Burning Guy after he saw artwork done in his spare time by Tannon Hedges, who currently attends UAH and plays for the Ultimate flying disc team. Uptain owns the business and Hedges is its artist.

"I kind of feel like a talent scout," Uptain says.

Artsy Bars uses handmade or 3D printed molds to make custom soaps. Customers choose the colors, graphic and scents. A full bar of soap is $10, with discounts dependent on order size. The company also offers CBD oil custom soaps.

Burning Guy does custom burnt wood signs, coasters, art or anything on any piece of wood a customer desires. The consumer describes the project, either in person or online, and Burning Guy designs the end product. Artwork ranges from $10 to $150, depending on size and complexity.

Uptain was born in Decatur but he considers Huntsville his hometown.

"I am really prideful when it comes to my school and town," he says. "I believe this is the best city in the world and I want to make my mark on it. With all the growth the city is seeing, I believe now is the perfect time for any entrepreneurs out there to start a business in this great city. On the back end it’s tough with all the legal hurdles, but I just think it's awesome to have a business in my hometown in the heart of downtown Huntsville."

He’s thankful for the help of his business partners and excited about the future.

"None of this could be possible without the hard work from Tannon and Jonathan," Uptain says. "I'm just happy I could help bring this whole thing together. I can't wait to see what the future holds for our business and city."


Mallie Hale

Jim Steele


Popular Stories