This week, Pedddle chatted to two of our featured stallholders, Natisha of Anarah Home, an eco-conscios luxury fragrance business, and Hannah of Bloom by Han, who offers floral-inspired artwork in the form of prints, cards and stationery.
These small businesses were both born in a pandemic, so we discussed selling online as well as at in-person markets and the backgrounds behind their creativity. Read their Meet the Maker Q&A below to get to know them a little better!
Pedddle: Tell us a bit about how you started making your products!
Bloom by Han: I’ve always worked in a creative job, but hadn’t done any creative work outside of work in so long! During the pandemic, I started drawing for myself again after going through a tough personal time and it really helped me gain confidence, and allowed me to manage anxiety in a more-healthy way. This is why my designs tend to be ink drawings as the concentration required for the detail means I have to focus on something and can’t be distracted. I started having friends and family ask for commissions, and it grew from there!
Anarah Home: I first fell in love with the relationship between scent and mood when I was pregnant with my daughter. From here, my love for making my own home smell amazing flourished. It was mid pandemic that I took the plunge and started reading and researching Candle Science. I started by making little travel tin candles to experiment with scents and fragrances and then slowly moved in to making full sized candles as testers. I loved learning the process so much, perfecting all of the combinations of tools and ingredients as well as developing my brand. Now, the thought of my hand made products being in all of my lovely customers home’s fills me with so much excitement and pride. I love that we can all experience luxury home fragrance that will trigger emotions, thought and feelings, whilst making our homes stand out to our friends and family, all without breaking the bank.
Pedddle: We’d love to know more about your process, the materials you use and what you’re inspired by.
Anarah Home: After months of testing and trialling different product combinations, I have my go to formula for all of the home fragrance products I create. I have three main collections as well as a couple of Limited Edition collections, that all aim to enhance your mood and the ambience around you – I want our fragrances to be an extension of life’s pleasures. I truly believe you can take steps to look after and invest in your mental wellness by filling your homes with blends of enchanting and inviting scents of luxurious fragrance. The power of scent is massively underestimated and overlooked, as are the benefits of fragrance oils. Fragrance oils have the power to entice feelings and emotions within us, igniting thoughts, feelings and moments of calm, happiness and even euphoria.
We try to be eco-conscious with the products we use and always use sustainably sourced ingredients. We use two different waxes, a beautiful blend of vegan Soy & Coconut Wax for our candles and an equally beautiful Rapeseed & Coconut Wax for our Wax Melts. We use organic cotton wicks that help to provide an optimum burn with minimal tunnelling and incredible scent throw. All of the fragrance oils we use are paraben free and cruelty free, as well as also being vegan. Our packaging is fully recyclable and we love how versatile it is, making it perfect for an upcycle, whether that be for mini plant pots or make-up brush holders!
Bloom by Han: Obviously, I’m very inspired by florals and nature! But also largely by colour. Normally, I will start with colour combinations that are inspiring me, and I’ll pair these with my ink drawings. Then I’ll decide what sort of product the design would suit and start editing and altering.
Pedddle: Have you had chance to get back out to market yet?
Bloom by Han: As I only started my small biz during the pandemic, this summer was the first change I’ve had to do an in-person market. I have always loved shopping at markets and buying directly from makers and artists, so I’m very excited to get to be on the other side of it now and selling to people!
Anarah Home: I absolutely love doing markets. When I first launched Anarah Home, I never imagined I would be so lucky to do so many. I love being able to meet people in person, talk them through our scents and understand the journey they want to go on with home fragrance. It helps me to get an understanding of what people want to experience in their homes and what’s important to them. My very first market was with Olivia at London Makers Market. I was so nervous and out of my comfort zone but I had the time of my life. Olivia taught me so much! She is amazing and I am so grateful to her for the opportunity I loved it and cannot wait to hopefully do her next markets. It is so nice to meet other traders too, I have definitely made friends along the way and I love watching their successes. I was lucky enough to be successful in my application to The Pop-Up Club at Seven Dials Market, it was so surreal to be in such an iconic space, it was an amazing opportunity. We are also often at Old Spitalfields Market with Urban Makers, another amazing iconic market. We have so many things happening in the background that we can’t wait to share with everyone including a couple of pop ups with some amazing British retailers.
Pedddle: What has been your experience of running a small business in the middle of a pandemic?
Anarah Home: As my business is a pandemic baby, our foundations were built around this. I think my main focus was trying to make sure that all of my orders were able to be fulfilled in a safe covid-compliment way with minimal delays. I think, like a lot of businesses that started in the pandemic, the biggest challenge was trying to not be forgotten about once all the shops opened up again.
Bloom by Han: My business didn’t exist until we were in the pandemic, so it was probably easier to adapt to online selling. Coming from a retail background, I would’ve chosen to start online anyway. I have had to seriously develop social media skills though! Promoting myself and my work has never come naturally to me, and with online being the only place to have build a community and have my business discovered, it meant I had to learn and develop all those self-promotion, digital marketing and social media skills.
Pedddle: Is there anything you’re looking forward to next for your business?
Bloom by Han: I’m really excited to start doing more in-person markets! I love the online community I’ve become part (especially Instagram), but because a lot of the time I spend on these platforms is for marketing and promoting purposes, I find myself being drained by it, so I’m very excited to get out and to meet other makers and customers in person! I’m currently working on Christmas so I’m hoping to be able to share this year’s colourful Christmas range of cards and gift wrap at physical events.
Anarah Home: We are super excited for Autumn and Winter. We have some amazing markets lined up as well as some brilliant opportunities with UK retailers. We can’t wait to share more! We are just finalising our Autumn and Winter scents and can’t wait to launch these in October. There are other secret squirrels in the pipeline, including a couple of collaborations.
Pedddle: Finally, why should we encourage shopping small?
Anarah Home: If you could have me connected to a heart rate monitor every time I get an order I feel like it would be the perfect answer to this question. By shopping small, you support dreams and in return you get a service that is tailored. I love that I know everything and more about my business and every interaction I have with all my amazing customers is individual and tailored to them. So much goes in to every thought, decision and product I make with Anarah Home. It is all done with personal intentions – to fill your homes with the most luxurious fragrances, to nurture your soul through your sense of smell and to make your home stand out. That will never change, I don’t think you can underestimate the love and care that is put into a product made by a small business that larger businesses simply can’t. It is my passion and dream and I can’t wait to pass on my special business to my daughter in years to come. Nothing beats the personal touches that come from a small business.
Bloom by Han: So many reasons! I have worked, and continue to work in the fashion and retail industry for over 12 years, and most of the time, shopping small allows you to make wise shopping decisions for the environment and our planet. By shopping small, you are also ensuring that creators and artists are paid for their work fairly and responsibly.