An Ayrshire candle company has bounced back after a “devastating” fire almost destroyed the business.
Darceys Candles lost its full operation in a fire three years ago, but has since reversed it fortunes and now boasts a 5,000-strong team of sales representatives across the UK. Its staff numbers have also jumped from five to 32.
The Kilmarnock company produces handmade scented candles, wax melts and other perfume-based products, which it sells directly using a representative-led sales force, similar to the Avon model.
CEO Jackie Dalziel said: “We lost our full operation due to the fire which was devastating, but it also gave us the motivation and drive to make Darceys even more successful.
“We have a fantastic customer base and our sales representatives were all committed to helping us get back on our feet, which was pivotal in our survival.”
Dalziel founded the business in 2011 after making soy wax melts as a hobby while working for the NHS, but she had no experience in direct selling. She met former Avon sales leader Clare Cameron in 2012 and the pair now front a high-growth team of 5,000 independent sales representatives.
With help from support service Business Gateway, Darceys is now looking to expand into the Irish market.
Dalziel said: “I’m a firm believer in the direct selling model and my vision is to continue our growth and stay one step ahead of our competitors.
“In the last six years we have gained from Business Gateway’s support which has been great, in both the good times and bad. We’ve met lots of other businesses through working with Business Gateway which has been a big help as we’re all going through the same journey.”
John Strachan, business adviser at Business Gateway Ayrshire, said: “Jackie accessed our pre and start-up service, attended our fully funded workshops and benefited from our one-to-one advisory support. This allowed Jackie to get tailored help that was relevant to whichever stage her business was at.
“This was particularly important in the months after the fire as we all worked together to ensure Darceys retained its customers and became successful again.”