Jen of The Cattleshed Candle Company is a chandler, who creates gorgeous ranges of candles. Here’s a peek into a day in the life of running her creative business.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business
I am quite a busy person. I have three children (30,27,16) a donkey, Shetland, dog and cat. As well being a chandler, I am chair of my son’s school PTA and run the advertising for our village magazine, both voluntary roles. I also work part time as a freelance PA for an education company. During the spring and summer, we repurposed the original cattle shed and we have organised regular craft markets. I am currently organising a large Christmas market for the end of November.
I make my unique Milk Churn Candles using eco soy, the finest fragrances and my labels are made a stones throw from us – keeping our footprint as low as possible. Our churns can be refilled by us and we actively encourage our customers to do so or to repurpose our milk churns for pen pots, make up brush storage, a small planter, etc.
Our name, The Cattleshed Candle Company is inspired from my father in law’s farmyard cattle shed, that was once on the site that our house now stands near.
The cattle shed was moved about 30 years ago, across the road, and after lockdown we saw the need for an outlet for local crafters that have missed selling during last year. So we hosted a fortnightly craft market from spring until the end of summer in the old cattle shed supporting other local makers, crafters and artists. We are delighted to have supported 40 crafters, artists and makers locally.
The Cattleshed Candle Company is a luxury home fragrance brand based in Oxfordshire, on the original site of our family farm’s old Cattleshed, producing delightfully scented soy candles inspired by things we love.
Our candles are lovingly hand poured in small batches, and we love the alchemy of blending different fragrances to find the perfect mix that we hope you enjoy too!
We are committed to producing sustainable products with minimal impact on the environment. Our candles are produced from natural soy wax, which is biodegradable, and vegan friendly, and all of our packaging is recyclable and sustainably sourced. Our Milk Churn Candle vessels can be reused or returned for a small discount off your next order.
It is so important to us to support as many local and UK based businesses as we can whilst making our products. We therefore take great care to select suppliers from within the UK for every aspect of our process. Our labels are made by a small company, literally, round the corner!
A day in the life – what does a day of running your creative business look like?
Wake up/start to the day – I make bacon sandwiches first thing! My son has an early school run into Oxford and I prepare an ‘on the run’ breakfast for him and my husband drives him in. I then check on my donkey and Shetland and, coffee in hand I take the 50 step commute to my studio.
Start work / morning – I check on any candles that are curing. Soy Wax is notorious for ‘frosting’. It doesn’t affect the scent or burn of the candle, but sometimes it can make a candle top less than perfect. Once fully cured, I then trim the wicks, label and box up the candles and package up any orders.
Lunchtime – My husband is still working from home so we generally eat lunch together and if time allows, take a quick walk around the fields.
Afternoon/finish work – I am a freelance PA for a Bespoke Tuition company based in West Oxfordshire and spend a couple of hours dealing with admin and clients before returning to the studio. Normally, popping a load in the washing machine as I pass through the boot room!
I check stock and make any candles ready for wholesale orders, online orders or craft events. I hand pour all my candles so the process can be quite time consuming and means I can’t mass produce, but it does mean each candle has a little bit of love from me in it! I order more consumables: wax, wicks and labels, do some admin and connect with my business on social media. I also do some admin work for the PTA or the village magazine, advertising volunteer roles and arranging stall holders for the fortnightly craft markets.
Evening – Some days, I am back in the studio, doing paperwork or making candles, depending if I have a craft event or pop up, or if a local shop I sell through needs more stock. I also check my website and Etsy for stock levels and update any products.
What’s your favourite:
Creative activity: Making my candles. I love the whole process from conception to completion: Deciding on the scent and creating the name to hand pouring each candle and right through to setting up the photo shoot and listing my products on my website. I am very lucky!
Snack & drink: Gin & Tonic and Coffee – so much so, I’ve made G & T and a Coffee candles!
TV series: An eclectic mix of Line of Duty, The Crown The Great British Bake Off, Strictly and Brassic (which the latter should probably be under my guilty pleasure question). I love This Morning and often its on in the background on my iPad in the Studio whilst I am working in the mornings. In the afternoons, it will be Escape to the Chateau.
Film: Love Actually and Notting Hill are my two favourites. I don’t like SciFi or gory!
Book/blog/magazine: Cara Hunter is a local Crime writer. She’s a fantastic author, with brilliant twists at the finale. All the books are set in North Oxford, so very familiar territory. The books are soon to be made into a TV Series so that will be top of my watch list. I love Good Housekeeping – a subscription is always on my Christmas list. I can’t get on with an digital magazine.
Self-care: G & T with the husband and family time. Coffee with friends. My habits have changed post Covid. Before, shopping would have been top of the list!
Guilty pleasure: Handbags… and shoes.
Thanks so much Jen – your day sounds very busy but full of variety!