In this week’s Meet the Maker we have a real treat in store, as we get to know Kindness & Co, Helpmeorganics and The Candle Bothy better. Each of these stallholders creates products for self care and relaxation, something we all need at the moment. Each business also has a great ethos, with kindness at the heart of their work.
With so much despair and uncertainty in the air, we’re definitely in need of a little pick-me-up this week. Read our Q&A below to find out more.
Pedddle: Hello all! Tell us a little more about your business…
Kindness & Co: Kindness & Co is a Social Enterprise based in Sundrum, Ayrshire. We sell hand-poured soy candles, wax melts, soaps, room diffusers, lotions and more, each created in small batches.
I am a trustee for South Ayrshire School Clothing Bank, which provide new school uniforms to children and families that are struggling financially. Fundraising is a huge challenge… and a time consuming one too! I also work full time in our family business, so decided to combine my passion for candles and fundraising. Kindness & Co is the perfect solution!
I also support other charities and organisations, both financially and through donations of candles. This year alone, Kindness & Co has donated to Whiteleys Retreat, who offer free therapeutic short breaks for children, young people and their families with cancer and life altering illnesses, Beautiful Inside & Out, a charity supporting bereaved parents and siblings of suicide victims, the NHS (where I supplied soaps, lotions and room diffusers for staff wellness rooms), Unity Grill (a social enterprise in Ayr) and South Ayrshire School Clothing Bank.
Helpmeorganics: We are a family run business based in the heart of Cheshire, completely surrounded by nature. I think that is probably why we are so passionate about preserving our planet and refusing to put anything harmful into our products.
We hand make in small batches to ensure that everything is as fresh as possible. We feel as though this means that we can raise our bar much higher as we can maintain the highest of qualities. All of our products are organic, 100% vegan and cruelty free. There are no parabens, microbeads or any other ingredients that can cause any damage to our planet.
I have been an aromatherapist for over 25 years and have created and trusted these blends for the majority of my career, therefore I know they work. My dream has always been to create my own line of products that use my essential oil blends and now that dream has become a reality! We launched Helpmeorganics back in December 2016 and it has been a crazy whirlwind since then.
The Candle Bothy: I am a candle maker based in Dundee, Scotland. My products include natural soy wax candles, wax melts, reed diffusers and car scents, again hand poured in small batches with long-lasting scents.
I am involved in a lot of charity work and have been running fundraising events for the local Maggie’s Centre in Dundee since I recovered from cancer in 2008. I started making candles for their Christmas events a few years ago and my business took off from there.
In non-pandemic times I run candle making workshops, but I am not sure yet when they will resume. Watch this space!
Pedddle: We decided to focus on businesses that promote wellbeing products to soothe the mind in this blog, as we all need to relax this week! What is your favourite way to relax?
Kindness & Co: I think my candle hut is my little sanctuary. After a day at work I love nothing better than pottering about in there with my radio on. If I’m not in the hut I’m out walking with my dogs – we’re really lucky to have gorgeous walks on our doorstep so just getting out into the woods with the dogs is an instant mood booster. I’m also an avid reader, I love nothing better than being curled up in front of fire with a good book!
Helpmeorganics: My favourite way to relax is gardening or generally being out in the fresh air, surrounded by nature. I find a walk in the woods very relaxing but I also find solace in pottering around my garden, deadheading or moving plants about. I am an organic gardener and my garden is for the birds, bees, badgers and other wildlife that visits, so its not too tidy and there are plenty of places for them to hide. If I’m not in my garden then you can find me in my workshop, playing with essential oils and listening to music.
The Candle Bothy: Heading into the busiest season for candle makers, there is not much time to relax! And with lockdown restrictions in place, the best way to relax for me is in front of the wood burning stove with candle light, and I love a glass of Baileys at Christmas time. Also, you can’t beat a good walk along the coast.
Pedddle: When did you first become interested in the skills it takes to make your products?
Kindness & Co: I’ve always loved candles, and started this journey probably 3 years ago now – firstly making candles for myself then family and neighbours. I run a School Clothing Bank charity and fundraising is always a huge challenge, so combining the two seemed like the perfect solution.
Helpmeorganics: I used to work in my Dad’s business as a coach driver. The seats are well known for not being that good for your posture and I hurt my back. I went for a massage, and the scents and the atmosphere were wonderful. I was so intrigued that I signed up for a basic massage course and was hooked – in fact I am still hooked now, nearly 30 years later!
I went on lots of courses over the next few years, with a mindset to open my own holistic therapy business. Back then, having a massage was deemed only for the “better off”, but I was determined to open up holistic therapies for everyone to enjoy. I spent the next 20 odd years educating my customers on the benefits of using aromatherapy and one day decided that I wanted to produce products using my own recipes for my clients to use at home. Helpmeorganics was then born in 2016.
The Candle Bothy: I am involved in a lot of charity work and have been running fundraising events for the local Maggie’s Centre in Dundee since I recovered from cancer in 2008. I started making candles for their Christmas events a few years ago and my business took off from there.
Pedddle: It’s definitely time to celebrate our successes – we need some good news right now. What has been your proudest moment in running your business?
Kindness & Co: Kindness & Co was registered in Sept 2019 and in the first year, we donated £9422.84, which was an incredible feeling. It just felt like everything was falling into place just as I’d hoped. Kindness & Co supporting the School Clothing Bank was always the dream, so to be able to do that and also reach out to help other charities was amazing.
Helpmeorganics: The proudest moment so far was when Helpmeorganics was chosen to be a SmallBiz100 in 2018. My daughter, Claire, helped me with the design of the labels, packaging and general look of our brand as she is a graphic designer and has a degree in marketing, so her input into Helpmeorganics has been huge. Together we filmed our entry video and it was the best surprise that we were selected.
The Candle Bothy: Some of the customer feedback makes me so happy. There are repeat customers that say my diffusers are the best they have ever come across. Over this year I’ve been approached by several shops that want to stock my products – I never expected that in a year with lockdowns. Both small and larger businesses are ordering personalised candles from me, to go into hampers and holiday accommodation, and that means so much.
Pedddle: What is your favourite product that you make and why?
Kindness & Co: That’s a tricky one! One morning during lockdown, I woke about 4am and an idea that had been brewing just kept whirring around my head… I wanted my candles to have motivational / meaningful / kind words on them. So, that morning at 4am, I woke up, got my pen and paper and wrote down about 40 label ideas – that very day I started the process of my new labels. Every candle (except gingerbread… it’s not come to me yet!) has a new label. My girls are aged 17 and 14 so they really were geared toward them. I created Wintertime, aka “Kind Heart, Fierce Mind, Brave Spirit”, for our Emily, who has had lots of health challenges and epitomises those words! And Black Pomegranate – “She’s a little sass and a lot of Badass” for our little Jess, who blasted into the world 9 weeks early and is a fiesty badass with a beautiful heart! Those are my faves.
Helpmeorganics: How could I choose! It’s like choosing your favourite child! I love hearing from customers that our products have helped them sleep better, eased feelings of anxiety and things like that. That’s why I started Helpmeorganics in the first place. But that moment when my workshop smells of Christmas cannot be bettered.
The Candle Bothy: My favourite products are the candles. The glow and soft light just makes everything so cosy. Having grown up in Germany I have always been surrounded by candles, particularly during Christmas time. I love Christmas time in Germany. And yes, we do have real candles on our Christmas tree!
Pedddle: Small businesses need support more than ever right now, as a second lockdown hits just before the busiest season of the year. What are your thoughts on shopping small?
Kindness & Co: I’ve done all my Christmas shopping this year already, with small retailers and makers. I love hearing the stories behind the businesses – people buy from people and that’s where social media can be great, as it lets us see who is behind the business.
Helpmeorganics: I come from a long line of self employed small business people. My grandfather was an electrician along with my uncle, and my father owned his own minicoach company. I grew up understanding the demands, pleasures and rollercoaster of running your own business, so I am very passionate that small business is the back bone of this country’s economy.
We must support every creative, maker, shop keeper, minicoach owner, electrician, hairdresser, holistic therapist and countless others. Even more so now, as non-essential shops and businesses have to close. My own salon has to close this Wednesday, which I find truly upsetting, so I will promote shopping small, shopping locally and searching to buy from independent businesses at every opportunity I have.
The Candle Bothy: I think it’s important to shop small all year round, not just at Christmas. Small businesses tend to spend their money on other small businesses and collaborate with other small businesses too. For example, my candle boxes are custom-made in the UK and foil-printed by a local female printer. My labels are printed by a female stationary business in Nottingham and my product pictures are done by yet another local female photographer. I buy a lot of my food at farmers markets, where I have a stall. My customers buy from me, but at the same time I support other small local businesses in return.
Pedddle: What’s next for you this Christmas?
Kindness & Co: I’m working on my Christmas Trio. My Christmas Trio is a boxed set with 3 mini candles; the Christmas favourites of Christmas Spice, Spiced Orange and Gingerbread. It also comes with a set of scented angel wings which I love!
Helpmeorganics: This year, I decided to create seasonal products. We are still in autumn and we have a wonderful soy candle which celebrates all the vibrant colours and scents of autumn. We have blended pimento, sweet orange and rose geranium in a soy wax, sprinkled the top with dried rose petals and poured it into a green glass candle jar, and it smells delicious.
We also have a winter collection, “help me say hello to winter”, which we also promote as our Christmas range. This year we have used our own blend (clove, sweet orange, ginger, lemon and fir needle) in a reed diffuser, soy candle and room spray. Do you remember as children pushing cloves into oranges and lemons to make pomanders? We’ve taken that memory and put it into our blend, along with fir needle and ginger to add that cosy festive feeling.
The Candle Bothy: I have a choice of three Christmas scents this year, which will make your home smell all Christmassy; Spiced Apple Strudel, Cranberry Orange & Cinnamon, and Frankincense & Myrrh. One of my most popular products are little car scents, which also make great scented Christmas tree decorations. I have a selection of gift sets which I can send directly to a recipient – personal message included – which is really convenient with lockdown happening now.