Woman who lost Leeds business in the pandemic now reaping rewards of skincare range Dalia Botanique
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Former masseuse Dalia Hawley, 40, lost all her work overnight when the first lockdown was enforced.
“The work just went,” Dalia told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“I felt incredibly anxious. I remember not being able to get my head around what was going on - kind of in denial and shock. I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
A keen outdoor enthusiast, Dalia got stuck into gardening while she had more time on her hands. But her skin would suffer if she didn’t look after it.
This inspired the idea for a business and she decided to take a gamble and study skincare formulation.
Skilled with the knowledge she needed, she launched Dalia Botanique at the end of 2020.
Her skincare range is designed to help repair and protect gardeners' skin from the outdoor elements, inspired by the wildflower meadows she has on her doorstep.
“It really took off,” Dalia said.
“Especially during the pandemic, people were very supportive of small businesses."
Dalia has crafted a botanical serum with UK-grown borage, white poppy, lunaria and a powerful antioxidant, as well cleansing oils, body oils and balms.
Her range is inspired by the wildflower meadows on her doorstep and she always works with bee-friendly producers.
Dalia said: “I didn’t want a 12-step routine, just something easy and gentle.
“All my inspiration came from botanicals; there’s so many wild flowers and things that we grow that we can utilise.
“My business is formulated for gardening and people who spend time outdoors, people whose skin might be impacted by the elements and want to use gentle skin care to help restore that.”
As well as an online store and Etsy page, Dalia Botanique is now stocked in Fabrication Crafts in Leeds and York, as well as the Arthouse in Wakefield.
She’s tapped into a growing market of gardening influencers, as younger people turn their hands to their garden.
“I’ve had really good feedback from customers and that motivates me,” Dalia added.
“People are questioning their skincare products a lot more - they want to know who is making them, they want to know about the ingredients and they want to know where things are from.
“They want to understand the journey from production to packaging to formulating to going out onto the market.
“People are a lot more conscious about what they’re consuming.”
Although Dalia admits it’s a “scary time” for small business owners, with costs spiralling, she encourages those wanting to start a business to take the plunge and look for courses to build from.
She added: “Running your own business teaches you a lot. It’s a real rollercoaster and you learn a lot about resilience and growth.
“And I’ve met some really wonderful small business owners, you get to meet so many interesting people who inspire you.”