When did you set up your business and why?

I set up my business two years ago during COVID lockdown, at home in my kitchen.

It started as a hobby, making candles for myself and friends, but quickly turned into a small business after lots of encouragement from my family and friends.

I have always loved lighting beautiful smelling candles in my home. To me, a fragrance is the first thing I notice when I walk into someone's home, a shop, boutique or hotel.

It stays with you as a reminder of a place you had once been and evokes so many memories.

Can you explain your process?

I get a lot of inspiration from so many successful business owners, but I am most inspired by Jo Malone - the business she set up and the brand she has created.

I wanted to create a luxury brand, as good as any of the top candle brands, but at affordable prices.

I choose to use glass candle vessels, as these are highly recyclable and sustainable and have a luxurious feel to them.

Anna Naessens started her business during COVID lockdown.

My choice of wax was always going to be soy wax; this is a natural and renewable plant-based wax. It is clean-burning and has no toxins in it.

My goal is to try to be as sustainable as possible and that's why all my packaging is recyclable, down to my packing peanuts and paper tape.

I have also discontinued my smaller 120ml reed diffusers and have chosen instead to go with a 500ml glass bottle, which will last five times longer and is refillable, so it's a diffuser for life.

What is your best seller?

At the minute, I stock 30cl candles and I tend to stick to four or five fragrances at any one time. This gives me better control over the quality of my candles, shelf life and waste. It also keeps people interested as to what's coming out next.

My XL three-wick candles sell really well around Christmas time, as these are your perfect centrepiece candle and look beautiful styled on a coffee table or hall console table.

Again, I had sustainability in mind and I wanted these vessels to be reusable, so once the candle has burned completely, you can simply rinse out the vessel and it can be used in so many ways - as a vase for flowers; you can put a pillar candle into it; or it can be refilled with your favourite candle wax.

Anna Naessens of A.N Candle Co.

I also make room sprays, hand soap and body lotions, plus wax melt bars. Wax melt burner gift sets are also a big hit around the festive period and I can make up personalised gift sets to suit any budget.

What is it about your business that brings you joy?

Being able to work from home has to be the best part about my business. I can be home for my family and still get to work my business.

I recently had a purpose-built studio created in my back garden. This has been a gamechanger for me, as I now have a dedicated space that I can use to create all my beautiful products and fragrances.

I also love when I see repeat customers coming back time and time again and getting their lovely feedback and compliments. It honestly is the best feeling.

What are your hopes for the next year?

My hope is to continue growing my business. I am in the process of getting my website launched, so that's very exciting and I feel this will only bring on my business even more.

I would like to increase my brand awareness and to continue building relations with other business owners. My business is still in its infancy stage and I am excited for the future and what's ahead.

What advice would you give to another start-up business?

My advice would be to go for it. Trust your instinct and don't listen to the naysayers. Have a plan in place and seek advice from others who are in business already.

I recently joined a local women in business networking group (Network Ireland Meath) and the support I am getting is invaluable. It can be a lonely game working for yourself, so to have this network of other women in business has been such a support to me and my business.

It's also a great way to network, build relations and raise your brand profile.

Lean into the support of your Local Enterprise Office. There are so many courses and grants available to start-ups. Have fun and enjoy the process.

Follow on Instagram @ancandleco.

Read more

Land-based horticulture apprenticeship takes off

Editorial: all roads lead to Lyrath Hotel for the Women & Agriculture conference