We started off by asking Catherine a bit about herself and learning that she is a 47-year-old crafter that lives in a little village called Garboldisham in Norfolk with her “very patient” partner Jonathan and new addition to the family, Fred, who is a cute grey tabby cat!
For many years, Catherine worked at as a solicitor and partner at a law firm in Surrey. One day, she and her partner decided to sell up and move to Norfolk as they realised they “didn’t need to be living in the most expensive county in the country.”
“I had always had a desire to work for myself and try and use some of the creative ideas I had developed over the years.”
“I had been making and giving candles to family and friends for a long time and in the usual way, a friend kept saying to me ‘you should sell these.’”
nancy&nell was initially set up to sell candles but has since expanded to include lots more products, like wax melts and gift sets.
When we visited the website, one thing we noticed was the fabulous range of scents that are available. From gin and tonic to fairy dust, they really have it all!
We asked where the inspiration for the fragrances comes from and she told us that she starts from what she loves. “Luckily so far, the choices I have made have been popular with others too!”
“I also take advice from friends and customers about what they might like to see and then slowly introduce some of those too.”
And the number of scents available on the website is about to grow. Catherine said she will soon be introducing “some of my more popular scents such as Paradise Beach and Black Raspberry & Peppercorn.”
But it isn’t just the choice of scent that is important. Catherine told us that she will “only use the best quality fragrances. “I think this can make a huge difference in the end candle and wax melt products, particularly when you are trying to reproduce a particular scent.”
The current bestselling nancy&nell products are the wax melt gift sets which come with unique personalised tins. These make the perfect wedding or birthday gift, where you want to add a thoughtful touch to your gift.
Catherine told us that “everyone loves a candle” and that’s why they make great gifts. “They are a perfect addition for any event and just provide the most wonderfully relaxing atmosphere, especially when you have found a fragrance that you really love.”
One thing that really stood out to us when choosing nancy&nell for our next Spotlight was the fact that she really emphasises the handmade aspect in her products. From pouring each individual order to creating labels with silver lettering from recycled card, everything is done by hand.
We asked Catherine if she thought her customers appreciate the handmade touch and her answer was simple; “I really do,”
“I started off by selling on Etsy which in itself is a handmade site, so the handmade element was important not only to sell with them.”
“But I also wanted to produce something that you couldn’t purchase anywhere else. When you can produce something as a gift for someone and they know it will not be found anywhere else, I think the recipient always feels like a special effort has been made just for them”
Catherine loves walking, reading and gardening although she did admit to spending most of her time “in the kitchen making candles and wax melts.” Being crafters ourselves, we weren’t really surprised!
2018 has already been busy for Catherine, but she doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon! In the future, she hopes to expand her range to include other home fragrance products.
“The idea is to add to my product line with more candles, hopefully in different types of vessels.”
“I am also working on a range of liquid hand soaps to compliment the more popular fragrances in the candles and wax melts that I already supply. A lot of customers who buy for themselves have a favourite fragrance and I want to be able supply a complete set of lovely products to choose from.”
After learning lots about Catherine and nancy&nell, we had one more question to ask before we came to the end of our interview. We asked why it’s so important for craft businesses that sell online to have.
She told us that it’s an “absolute must have.”
“As a small business it is reassuring to know that I am fully covered in case of any problems.”
We’d like to say a big thank you to Catherine for taking part in our Crafter in the Spotlight. If you have any birthdays or special occasions coming up, get in touch with nancy&nell!