A Newtownards couple have turned a hobby into a business that’s burning brightly after sales of their homemade candles business Four Little Flowers took off in England and Scotland during lockdown.
Four Little Flowers, run by Heather and Neil Mawhinney, grew so quickly that they both left their full-time jobs and moved the company to premises in Ards Business Hub to keep up with demand for their growing range of candles, wax melts, bath bombs, soap sponges, linen sprays, and other fragranced products.
Neil had worked in the customer care team of a telecom company while Heather was a classroom assistant in a secondary school but they found true joy in running their own small family business.
Heather explained: “I tried to do both jobs but it was too much and I decided to make the commitment to build the business. We work really well as a team; Neil looks after the orders while I develop the scents and pour the candles.”
Four Little Flowers
However, this business was started under the most tragic of circumstances after the death of the couple’s very premature baby son Joshua, who passed away after just two days.
“I had a candle burning in the house when we were able to bring him home. I wanted to recreate that fragrance because it brought back memories of Joshua. I tried in vain to make that scent and spent hours and hours learning to make candles and wax melts,” Heather explained.
She continued to develop her skills and then tried other fragrances, which she then shared with a group of mums on Instagram. They loved the candles and the business grew from there with the candles and melts quickly taking over their utility room, then the kitchen and playroom.
“We had been working from home and got to the point where the products were everywhere and there was no separation between work and home life. Moving to the unit at Ards Business Hub is the best thing we have done,” Neil said.
“We decided to go to Ards Business Hub because of the way they support small businesses and the experience that they have. The team at Ards offered us so much help, it was essential to our continued growth. We can just lift the phone and ask any of the team a question; they have been a huge help,” Heather added.
Nichola Lockhart, Chief Executive of Ards Business Hub, said: “Four Little Flowers is just the type of business that we at Ards are dedicated to supporting. Heather and Neil are a fantastic couple and their products are an inspiration.”
The business has now diversified into a self-care range including, bath bombs, bath rocks, soap sponges, and paint your own bath bomb kits. Everything is created in small batches in their unit at Ards and all products comply with CLP and CPSR guidelines.
“We are so grateful for the support we’ve had from friends and family and everyone at Ards. Running our own business has been a steep learning curve but we are loving every minute of it,” Heather said.