We spoke with Natasha, founder of the scent-sational, award-winning NOA. Read on to find out how fragrance helped her mental health, and what got her on the journey to becoming one of our gift makers.
Hi! I’m Natasha, the founder behind NOA. We’re a luxury, vegan friendly, and eco-conscious home fragrance brand based in Manchester. I’ve struggled with my mental health since the age of 15, and at 18 I developed severe anxiety. It was one of the hardest times of my life and I tried everything: read self help books, various medications and therapy, but nothing ever seemed to stick. I discovered the practice of mindfulness and meditation, which completely changed my perspective and calmed those anxious thoughts that were controlling my life.
I became interested in aromatherapy and how essential oils carry the power to alter your mood and mind. I’d make different blends for my aroma diffuser and read into the purpose of different oils. Candles soon followed as I always loved their glow while I was working, especially on those not so great mental health days. I found certain scents would evoke happy memories from the past, like when my mum would pop lavender oil on my pillow to help me sleep.
You’ve done an incredible job of turning your hobby into a successful business. Can you tell us more about how you got here?
I started NOA in February 2019 during my second year of university, mainly because I was having a particularly difficult time with my mental health; I found myself spending a lot of time on my own and began to feel quite isolated.
I mentioned that I was thinking of starting my own business and my partner’s mum gave me a small loan of £200 to kick start things off. With that money I ordered materials to make around twenty candles and began researching. For the first year or so I ran the business from my spare room, and in January 2021 we took on our first ever industrial space (since the boxes had taken over the house!)
NOA has grown to be something I could only dream of. I didn’t start the business to grow it to be like other big candle brands, I started it for my own wellbeing and because making candles brought me so much joy. I still find it hard to believe that all of this started with £200. We are now a six figure company, stocked all over the UK, and have shipped thousands of orders! Everything continues to be hand poured, labelled and packed by me, and we continue to create our unique blends in-house. We plant a tree for every order that comes our way and our mission is to be an entirely carbon neutral business by 2023. We even offset the emissions our website produces!
Partnering with thortful has been one of the most incredible experiences to date and I don’t really know where to begin on how much they have helped my business grow. We’ve come a long way from the spare room at home, and I’m so excited to see what the future holds for us!
What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own business?
My advice is to do it! I know so many wonderful small business owners who make it work everyday, whether it’s a side hustle or full-time hustle they all feel the same amount of joy, even on those tough days – it’s always worth taking a shot at it as you never know where it might lead you.
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