Kitchen table startup: I drew up the business plan for Bog Standard as part of my final-year project in uni. I’d say I wore the same clothes for a year as I tried to get it off the ground, and a friend who was living with me ended up moving out because there was literally soap stacked everywhere, including the bath. You even had to squeeze up the stairs because there was a fax machine teetering on the bottom step.

Ditching the day job: At the start I also worked full-time, but when I got an order from TK Maxx in America for 5,000 units at Showcase, my then-boyfriend, now-husband said: “I think you can give up the day job.” The order had to be delivered within a month and I remember roping in friends and family and literally working day and night around the kitchen table. Today, Bog Standard is based in a converted mushroom factory in Carryduff, Co Down, and we have up to 200 stockists, such as Kilkenny and Clerys, as well as customers in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia.

Made in Ireland: All Bog Standard products are made by suppliers north and south; I’m very fussy about it being made in Ireland. We’ve growing at 10% every year. When the recession hit, for example, I introduced scented fresheners because retailers were looking for something under €5. I’ve never taken a business loan, and being married to an accountant has kept me right from day one ... though when he is looking through the books on a Friday night, it can feel like you are in the headmaster’s office.

My father’s footsteps: My father, Stanley Reid, was a shoe retailer in Belfast right through the Troubles, which was a tough time to be in business, but he was a very fair and generous boss. Unfortunately, he died almost 20 years ago. I feel I never knew my dad as a businessman and that’s something I really do miss now. I would love to be able to pick his brain on so many things.

Inspiration is all around: It is a crowded market and you have to reinvent yourself. This year, we re-branded Bog Standard and I’m planning to introduce textiles and ceramics, but I continue to be inspired by what’s around me. Take the Forget Me Not range of candles: Emily’s Parlour is named after my dad’s great-aunt, and as children we used to visit her on a Sunday afternoon and eat fruitcake; Kitty’s Cottage is inspired by a woman who lived near our holiday home in the Mourne Mountains, whose washing line was always full of fresh laundry; and of course Baby Grace is named after my daughter. But my best-selling scent is still Irish Linen.

Mum’s the word: Our childminder lives at the end of the road and I try to fit a week’s work into three days, but I’d be lying if I said it was easy being a working mum. I was actually in the bank when I was in labour with Grace. I just remember thinking: “If I don’t do this lodgement, the wages won’t come out.” I literally stood doubled over in the bank ... and then went straight to the hospital. But that’s the reality of being a working mum with your own business. CL