Ever wondered how we turned our love of making scented candles into a business? Cheryl Hook, the founder of Melt, was kind enough to share her story.
Cheryl has always had a passion for fine fragrances. Prior to starting her business, she was spending a huge amount of money on luxury-scented candles – so she decided to make her own.
However, Cheryl’s first few attempts weren’t perfect. With sheer determination, creativity and passion, she was able to perfect the fine art of candle making and sold her entire stock at her first Christmas Fair – result!
Manufacturing was moved from her kitchen to a friend’s garage. Melt soon outgrew the kitchen and acquired Backridge in Waddington (an old milking shed for which they had planning permission).
“While it’s not the kind of place you’d expect to find a company producing up to 5,000 candles a week, it is extremely efficient and ultra eco friendly”, said Cheryl.
Twelve months later, Cheryl and her husband Trevor, who works alongside her, exhibited their gorgeous range of scented candles at a trade fair in Harrogate. The fair was a huge success, which allowed Melt to expand and offer a stunning range of fragrances in a variety of shapes and sizes.
After operating in a small kitchen with just two employees, Melt steadily grew into the thriving business it is today.
The luxury candle company now supplies to over 650 retailers including leading fashion house, Liberty, in London.
Melt was not left untouched by the recession explains Cheryl. “Thank goodness we were able to hang on,” she said. “We had to make changes and adjust to the situation. It made us take a good look at what we were doing, which wasn’t a bad thing.”
Cheryl and the team introduced a website which gave them the opportunity to acquire a number of international clients in Canada, South Korea and Sweden. She also began importing packaging from China.
“It was a big mistake, we ordered rigid cylindrical packaging, which took up a lot of storage space – and we couldn’t use 20 per cent as they weren’t up to scratch,” said Cheryl.
A lesson well and truly learnt! Both the glass containers and flat-pack packaging are now sourced from local, British suppliers – just how we like it.
All fragrances are developed in-house, with a little help from the finest fragrance houses in the country. The wax used is specially blended and all dye is eco-friendly.
“Using specialist suppliers and top quality ingredients ensures a first class product,” Cheryl added.
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