Exactly one year – 365 days – ago, my sister and I sat at our family dining table and nervously hit ‘Open shop’ on the & Chai Etsy. It’s pretty hard to consider just how much has changed over these 12 months. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d still be up and running now, never mind thriving and making plans for 2022.

For those new to Daisybutter, I run a small business alongside my sister. & Chai is our home and lifestyle brand, and we’ve been hand-making and selling soy candles since November 2020. We learned the art of candle-making during the first lockdown and the rest is history. I’m thrilled that it’s now one of my main career focuses and I’m SO excited to share where we’re headed next. For now, I thought I’d share five of my personal highlights from our first year in business…

1. Our bumper first day!

Our launch day is easily one of the most memorable for me. After we hit ‘Open shop’, I popped out to distract myself with a grocery shop. (I was so anxious that nothing would sell and we’d just have embarrassed ourselves…) And by the time I arrived at Sainsbury’s, our entire inventory had sold out!! It was the most out-of-body experience, and I can still remember us packing up every candle exclaiming: ‘Did that really happen?!’

2. Launching our own website

A big goal of ours was to open our own website once we’d established ourselves on Etsy and retained a good base of customers. Thanks to our sell-out launch, Black Friday and Christmas gifting season, we were able to return from the holidays with a beautiful shiny website. It’s one of the best decisions we’ve made for the business and it also gives us so much creative freedom. I absolutely LOVE working on the & Chai website.

3. Being featured in Stylist

As a journalism graduate (almost 10 years ago…), Stylist has been a faithful favourite magazine of mine for years. I studied it, read it and still read it. Imagine the utter joy when, on my 30th birthday, one of the team reached out to us asking if we’d provide some hi-res imagery so that we could feature in an upcoming issue!! Of course we collected several copies of that issue. It’s one of the best things that’s happened to us all year.

4. Sending out international orders

Although international orders are now part and parcel of our everyday small biz life, it still thrills me to think that our candles are sitting happily in homes in the US, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada and beyond. It really blows my mind to consider that our candles have gone global and that we’re even stocked in a real shop over in Indiana.

5. The collaborative collections

A really big part of & Chai is the community feel, and we’ve planned that from the beginning. We knew that we wanted to partner with fellow creators and small business owners (‘Their Name’ & Chai), and I am so proud of the products we released with Winnie, Daphne and Jaye. While we have a very clear vision for the future of & Chai, it’s even better when that vision and values align with our fellow artists. There’s even more in store for us next year, and we can’t wait to get started.

Thank you so much for the support you’ve shown & Chai this year, whether that’s with a purchase, share, like or follow. I am endlessly grateful for you.

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