Program: New York
Intake: January 2000
Current Roles: Founder of Essence of Hartland
In 2019 I launched Essence of Hartland, a home fragrance business made with essentials oils. It was my first venture after leaving my job in London. I started trading online and wholesale from that September and had begun making big plans for 2020 to exhibit at large trade shows and agricultural shows across the South West of England as well as London. Leading up to January 2021 I had managed to get to the final stage to become a supplier for a national hotel chain, creating a bespoke product for each location. I was also in discussions with a men’s skin care company with the intention to launch my first white labelled product for their range. Then along came COVID and everything stopped.
During the first lockdown of 2020 I continued with my product development and utilised the time to experiment and rethink how to get my products out to the end consumer. I had already launched a website in 2019 and had started building up a loyal customer base, so my first plan of action was to tap in to my social media and marketing knowledge and offered local offers online, competitions to build awareness, as well as connected with the local community by running an art competition for the artwork of one the packaging of my new products.
To help fund my product development I was successful in securing a small business grant as well as a start-up loan based on my business plan and revised financial forecast. During the weeks and months of the first lockdown I had managed to gain momentum with my online sales through the use of social media, and the local community. I revised my plans for big events and looked closer to home for local markets and shows which were due to commence once lockdown was over.
From June 2020 to the present day I have since built up a strong customer base from the many local markets and shows I have attended as well as increased my wholesale offering. 2 years since launching my business I have increased my product range and now have almost 20 stockists. I have completed a large-scale pop-up shop in John Lewis and now have plans to hold something similar in Fenwick, Brent Cross.
The pandemic was a chance to take a step back and really think about how I wanted to grow my business, but also allowed me to focus on key strategies. I now feel confident with the direction my business is going and excited about the opportunities for next year and beyond.
Essence of Hartland
Alumni can checkout Joe’s products on the links below: