Interview with Daniela Grant, founder of Grant + Blossom
Find out how Daniela Grant combined her love of interiors and art with her candle making hobby to launch her business, Grant + Blossom.
What’s your career background?
I spent a large part of 10 years working for in corporate responsibility for different organisations and not for profits. It was great (if not slightly stressful trying to convince organisations to give up their cash for the community!) and I worked with some fantastic charities, not for profits and organisations over the course of the years.
How did your career change after having children?
After having my first baby it was business as usual after nine months of maternity leave. I went back to work full -time and my husband and I juggled the nursery drop offs/ pick- ups, sleepless nights and coffee fuelled weekdays, and we lived for the weekends. When I became pregnant for the second time and my son was three years old, I wanted to slow down a little, so I went down to a four-day week and the pandemic hit shortly after – I suddenly went from working in a very busy job, to home schooling!
Spending more time with my son made me realise that I’d not spent this much time with him since he was a baby- and I loved having my little sidekick around. But whilst a break from work was a welcome relief at six months pregnant, after a month of mummy day care I realised how much I loved having a career.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Grant + Blossom had been percolating for a couple of years – or rather the idea of having my own business had been running around my mind. I hadn’t quite decided what I wanted to do. I poured candles as a hobby, and I thought about taking an interior design course because I love my home and decorating.
I suppose having the space and time whilst being furloughed to really think about what I wanted for my life was what I needed to finally decide – and I decided to combine my love of interiors and art with my candle making hobby! Always with the plan that I would grow the business and develop different home and living products down the line. Not to let my CSR experience go to waste, my products would be sustainable and support the local community through charity support.
How did you move from idea to actual business?
I sent out lots of questionnaires to friends and family and set up a focus group of friends to really understand who my products would appeal to/ how to market them and what designs and fragrances to launch with. I hear lots of stories about people just jumping in and becoming so successful – I think I took a tentative bound!
I was very worried about looking ‘home-made’ as opposed to ‘hand crafted’ so I took some time to set up a website/ business plan/ financial plan and marketing. None of these were set in stone – I knew with the climate as it was, I had to be agile, but having a rough idea of where I was headed and how I was going to get there made me feel less daunted by everything – though nothing quite prepares you for the nerves of launching a business!
What’s your USP?
I work with independent artists to create bold and quirky designs for each hand poured candle fragrance. Each candle comes with an artist card so my customers can find the artist that designed their candle art. They are vegan, made from rapeseed and coconut wax (which is more sustainable than other waxes) and paraben free fragrances. For every large and small candle sold, £1 and 50p is donated to charity via work for good.
Who’s your target audience?
My target audience is the home lover that embraces colour and bold choices in their home. Those that are looking for quirky over classic and bold over subtle. I target conscious consumers that fit into the above; those that are happy to pay slightly extra in order to support the sustainable and charitable elements of my products.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
I started the business on Instagram and it has been the perfect platform to reach my target market so far. But I have also taken the time to build up my wholesale offering and am currently in over 10 independent retailers across the county – as an online business the retailers that stock my products on their shelves are marketing my product for me. I have also recently been featured in Stylist magazine and am focussing on PR at the moment to build my brand reputation.
What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?
For me a few different things have worked. Working with designers and independent retailers who stock my products has definitely helped me gain more followers on social media, as well as email campaigns – not just for my new customers but to look after my existing ones. I also invested in working with PR Dispatch when I was ready to start focussing on more PR.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
The sheer amount of candle companies out there! The competition is so fierce in the candle market! Particularly in lock down when lots of people started their own businesses! But I just kept going and focussed on my own business rather than comparing myself to others.
And your proudest moment so far?
Seeing one of my candles in Stylist magazine has to be right up there! And raising over £1000 for charity in my first year through candle sales.
Why is work so important to you?
I don’t know who I would be if I didn’t work. I can honestly say I love working and I am particularly in my element working in an environment where I am able to give back to the community through the work that I do.
When I was furloughed and staying at home I felt like I lost my mojo a bit, which is why I decided to finally take the plunge with Grant + Blossom and do something. I’m a working mum, and whilst before I had the mum guilt because of it, I’ve finally found a way of that working for me.
Who inspires you?
I listen to the Holly Tucker podcast ‘conversations of inspiration’ so I feel like I am inspired on a daily basis by lots of different people! But Holly Tucker the founder of Not on the Highstreet is definitely on my list as well as other small business owners who inspired me to take the plunge with Grant + Blossom
How do you balance your work with your family?
I feel incredibly lucky that I am able to work hard at Grant + Blossom, but still do the school pick ups and drop offs! Believe it or not, as a small business owner I have made the decision not to work at the weekends. I don’t really do fairs or markets and it’s one of the reasons I’ve invested in the wholesale side of my business so I don’t have to. Weekends still remain our family time.
And because I work for myself, I can take time out of my day and pick up my laptop or head to the workshop (my garage) at night when the kids are in bed because I only answer to me – for the first time ever I feel so content because I’m able to juggle so much more.
What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
- Research – There are so many amazing businesses out there – research before starting and find your niche
- Followers don’t mean sales – I think as a small business, social media is a fantastic marketing platform. However, it is really easy to look at vanity metrics and think you aren’t doing as well because you don’t have lots of followers. But thousands of followers does not mean you are a successful business, remember to focus on the right numbers – your actual customers!
- Know who you are and where you want to be – Think about what type of values you have and what type of business you see yourself being in three or five years’ time. Do your decisions now help you get to that point, or do they take you further away from it? I think this has kept me grounded. When I’ve tried doing something that takes me further away from my vision it eventually fails because I’m not fully committed to it.
Find out more about Grant + Blossom.