I am a big fan of scenting your home with candles. They add a sense of coziness to our house and to be honest I find them so relaxing. I always buy candles everywhere that we travel to but there are certain Irish Brands that I always go back to. And Bog Standard was one of those brands – well they rebranded as Field Day and they are just as amazing and I love the new name! 🙂
You have probably seen the Field Day range in stores around Ireland and the UK – they are in over 250 stores and I love that this is such an accessible Irish Brand. Personally, I love to smell scents before I purchase (call me weird like that!) so I do love that I can buy Field Day in stores like Kilkenny, Arnotts and Blarney Woollen Mills as well as online, as it makes them so accessible.
Well, I was fascinated about the business. There is so much information out there about designers and their stories – but what about candle makers and what brought them along their journey. So, I am delighted to share today an exciting interview with Alix Mulholland, Creator of Field Day and Field Apothecary. I loved hearing about her journey and the development of the brand.
How did your love of candle making get started?
I started the product range with soaps initially, and soaps are still a really important part of our ‘Field Day ‘range. Although the scented candle market had yet to explode and competitors were few and far between, I could see the massive potential for scented candles and home fragrance.
Candle trends have changed so much in the past ten years, but we still have many of the fragrances that we started out with, several of which remain our bestsellers. I am so proud of the high quality that we have become known for, and that same quality is now available in a much larger range of candles and other home fragrance products such as diffusers, scented sachets and drawer liners.
Where did the inspiration come from to create Bog Standard/Field Day?
I was at University quite a few years ago when I had my lightbulb moment to create a business that would marry my love of fragrances with my love of our Irish countryside. I was convinced there was a niche in the market for authentic, locally made fragranced giftware.
What is your favourite part of the candle making process?
I really enjoy choosing fragrances. It’s a very long process and can take many months of tweaking and test burning to get a fragrance right – but it’s so worth it when you release a new candle scent and you get great feedback from customers. It can also be frustrating as often fragrances just don’t work.
Recently we were tweaking some of the notes in our ‘Sea’ fragrance – we had added in some salty notes, but it just didn’t burn well. The salty notes in the scent ‘throw’ just smelt wrong, we went back to the drawing board and increased the bergamot notes. I am pleased to say it’s totally fab! Wick testing in the candles can also be a time-consuming affair. Most people don’t know that in a range of candles a variety of different wicks are used, depending on the fragrance and amount of essential oils it contains.
The scents that you have captured are stunning and really bring the outdoors indoors which is quite uplifting. How do you decide the scents to create?
I love celebrating the simple scents that are part of my everyday life, whether it’s the smell of freshly cut grass, windblown coastlines or freshly laundered linen. I work with a small number of fragrance houses who help me to finalise the scents and modify them so they are suitable all the various products that we have. For example, the Linen fragrance that we use in our candles is slightly different to the linen fragrance we use for our soaps – the same fragrance but modified for a wax base and a soap base.
I fell in love with the brand when it was Bog Standard due to the high quality, why did you move to Field Day?
It was a really big decision for us but we felt we had outgrown Bog Standard. It had been our name for many years and when we started in the early days, our products and packaging were rustic and crafty and the name really suited the range. Over time the range evolved, and we felt that we needed a new identity that still reflected our roots and love of the Irish countryside.
What is your favourite scent from the collection?
That’s like asking me to pick a favourite child! At the moment I am really enjoying our new scents in the range, in particular, the Gorse candle with notes of gorse, orange flower and mimosa – it’s a lovely one to burn over the summer months. We also modified our Sea fragrance and increased the notes of bergamot and orange. It’s beautiful and is now becoming one of the bestsellers in the range.
Would you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Employ staff as soon as you are able to. I spent too long at the beginning feeling like I had to do everything in the business when I should have been concentrating my time and efforts on sales and product development. Good staff will free you up to spend time on the things you are best at in order to grow your business.
You will need to have a lot of perseverance as it’s a long game setting up and running a business. You will face many challenges and barriers but it’s very important to remain positive and keep at it. My husband often tells me I am like a dog with a bone – in the best possible way of course!
What does the future hold for Field Day?
Who knows? I really enjoy what I do, and although it’s a really competitive industry, I love bringing out beautiful fragrances and candles, and as long as I can continue to do this I will.
Fragrances are very evocative for people and fragrances can bring back so many memories. I just love hearing stories from our customers about how one of our fragrances are meaningful to them, or that it reminds them of a special person or place – those stories are wonderful to hear.
A massive thank you to Alix for the interview, I simply loved learning more about Field Day and also her tips for future entrepreneurs are invaluable. I would 100% recommend checking out both the Field Day website – they do amazing items for the gifts and also your own home, and also Field Apothecary website – their essential oil-based candles are simply luxurious and the scents enticing.
Images kindly provided for use.