How I Started a Successful
Natural Luxury Skincare and Candles Brand
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
I’m Hollie Reynolds, the founder behind the simply divine luxury skincare products and candles of Bampton House.
All of the Bampton House products are vegan, paraben and chemical (SLS) free and use 100% natural ingredients. Even the wicks in the candles are cotton. The unique blends of essential oils in all of the products give an incredible depth of fragrance and feel utterly luxurious to use.
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
As a beautician by trade and owner of Polished Hair and Beauty in Bampton, Oxfordshire, my team and I consistently suffered from dry and itchy skin, due to the repeated use of harsh chemicals found in even the most recognised luxury skincare brands used in the industry.
I thought that there must be a better option and promptly set about creating my own 100% natural luxury skincare products for use in the salon. Bampton House was born. Miraculously, within weeks of the natural products being used at Polished for treatments, my skin conditions completely disappeared.
Clients began asking if they could buy a soy-wax candle, a pot of body balm, or a sachet of bath salts and I soon needed a workshop and more employees to keep up with the demand for our products.
Bampton House is now a team of three dedicated to making sure the products are created to perfection. I have chosen to keep my team close to home as my Auntie Louise is in charge of manufacturing the products. My friend for 17 years, Emily, looks after sales and marketing, whilst I am still at the helm of product development. I created our first restorative bath salts for Emily after she gave birth a few years ago.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
The biggest challenge we face is finding the time. I run Polished Beauty and Hair Salons in Bampton, and Emily has a toddler and a part-time day job. There are a lot of options when it comes to skincare and candles, so it can be a challenge to find the right customers/partners to work with that appreciate the differences between our products and the chemical-based alternative
Who is your target market?
Our products tend to appeal to women, usually between 30-60, with an income that allows for nice-to-have items.
We appeal to eco-friendly/vegan types, but also anyone looking for a beautifully packaged and presented gift for a friend. Our customers tend to centre around the Cotswolds as that’s where our company is based, but we do have quite a few orders from London and other pockets around the UK.
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
It depends on the time of year. In November and December, we take part in lots of Christmas markets.
We try to be active on Facebook and Instagram throughout the year. We’ve been in OX Magazine, Oxfordshire Living and Wedding Ideas magazine – some of this was paid for other parts were editorial. We were chosen to take part in the Conversations of Inspiration podcast advert which was quite exciting!
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
We have a large number of customers that repeat buy because they simply love the products. From the feedback we’ve had, we think this is because of the uniqueness of our hand-blended scents – they’re very luxurious. We always try to offer our customers a nugget of information about how to use our products so they can get the most out of them.
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
We’re a small team, all with close relationships with the founder Hollie. She’s incredibly driven and fair, she’s the one with the vision. We all have high standards and want to push the company forward as best we can.
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
Working with friends and family is the best decision. You have to choose carefully, but you can’t beat it. In our opinion, hands down THE BEST decision we have made about the running of Bampton House is to do it together. Business planning meetings become life catch-ups and circuits classes become brainstorms.
With 21 years of friendship, holidays, heartbreak and happy-times under our belts, we know each other’s strengths (and weaknesses) to the core and we can be completely honest with each other, always.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Celebrating all the small wins. It’s a cliche but we genuinely do a little happy dance every time we receive a new order!
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
The uncertainty. You have to be prepared to keep going and putting effort in even when nothing seems to be going the way you planned it. Your to-do list is never finished.
What books, podcasts or other resources have inspired and influenced your business journey?
We love the Conversations of Inspiration podcasts.
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
In the current climate, it’s hard to imagine next month, let alone two years from now. However, eventually, we’d love to grow the business and widen our product range. The product development part is the most fun bit!