Charlotte's Boutique Horsforth: Leeds mum opens first candle boutique after business booms during lockdown

A Leeds mum who started making candles on her kitchen table has opened her first boutique, after her business boomed during lockdown.

By Abbey Maclure
Sunday, 24th April 2022, 4:39 pm

Charlotte Russell, 36, was studying a degree in English Literature while looking after her two young boys prior to the pandemic.

In September 2019, she started to handcraft candles as a hobby, wanting to replicate high-end brands at a fraction of the price.

She sold a few candles to mums at her children's school, before the first lockdown put an end to the venture.

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A Leeds mum who started making candles on her kitchen table has opened her first boutique, after her business boomed during lockdown.

But after dozens of requests on her Facebook page, in June 2020 she started to create wax melts - and was soon inundated with orders.

"That’s when the business went from one level to the next," Charlotte told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

"It was insane; people loved the wax melts. I pride myself on making everything really strong and pretty, presenting it all well with uniform branding that fits into a look.

“My dining room got taken over, my kids were eating on my lap.”

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Although she launched her business "completely by accident", Charlotte is now making calculated steps to grow the brand into one of the biggest candle and wax melt retailers in the country.

She opened her first shop Charlotte's Boutique in Horsforth last month, giving her the chance to connect with her customers in person for the first time.

"It was the next logical step," Charlotte added.

"I pride myself on taking a good photograph, which is so important when it’s internet-based, but I also wanted people to be able to smell the products, to know they’re as good as what they look like.

“The service is very professional but it’s also fun.

"I’ve deliberately designed the shop to be welcoming, bright and pink. And it smells beautiful, all the different fragrances intertwine together.

“In the future, I want it to be like a chocolatiers - where you can see me making wax melts in the window, so it’s immersive and people can see that I hand-make them.”

Although she now has a shop of her own, Charlotte's online store is busier than ever - with orders flying out for her new 'fully-loaded' wax melts decorated with seashells, mermaid tales and other quirky designs.

She launched a TikTok page last month and has already had a viral post which has more than 250,000 views and counting.

It's a big task for a one-woman business and Charlotte still handmakes all her products from her kitchen table.

“It’s so important to me that the products we make are sustainable," Charlotte said.

"We’re in a huge crisis with plastics and as a small company, or any business, we should be paying extra money for products that are cruelty-free."

Charlotte hopes to move into a bigger unit in the future, as well as employing a team of staff, before rolling out her boutiques across the country.

"When I was a writer, I used to submit things and get instant rejection," she added.

"I love that people love my products. I love that once they’ve been in and try them once, they come back - and tell their friends about it.

“It’s humbling to know that people are so enamoured with them and that they want to support local."