Meet the owners
Beginning at the kitchen table making wax melts, mum and son Tara and Noah Carlile-Swift now head up Freckleface Home Fragrance, which has three shops and over 600 stockists. Tara tells us the story, including why she chose Cambridge for her second store…
How did Freckleface begin?
My son is dyslexic and struggled to learn in school but is super intelligent and had always wanted to be an entrepreneur. He tried to sell us his pictures for 50p when he came out of nursery aged two, so he was like a little Arthur Daley!
When he was 12, we decided to make candles as Christmas gifts because we were fostering so had lots of kids and no money. Turns out candles are really hard to make, so we thought we’d try wax melts and added botanical bits from the garden.
They turned out really well, so we took our wax melts to Noah’s school Christmas fair and he made £600 in one afternoon!
After that we did local craft fairs, got invited to do Burghley Horse Trials – which went really well – and went to about 60 shows all around the country.
When it became clear it was taking on a life of its own, my husband (Noah’s dad) joined the company full-time and we moved into a tiny unit and took on my nephew.
We’ve moved workshops every year since as it’s grown so quickly. In three years, we’ve gone from kitchen table to three high street stores, being stocked in 600 garden centres and gift shops, a successful website and 48 staff.
It’s been insane!
You’ve got stores in Stamford and York – and opened Cambridge in February 2021. What made you choose our fair city?
Cambridge is our flagship store; it’s our biggest and most beautiful. Cambridge was the natural next choice after Stamford as it’s only one hour away from where we manufacture our products.
We just adore Cambridge – it’s full of independent stores, it’s a tourist destination and has a very supportive retail community, as well as wonderful customers, who have really embraced us.
What inspired the quirky company name?
I was called Freckleface at school as a derogatory term and then growing up I called Noah Freckleface because I wanted it to be a nice term if he was called it at school as we’re both very freckly.
So, we called each other Freckleface as a joke for years – and now we laugh that it’s the name above our stores!
Can you tell us about your gorgeous product range?
Our biggest selling product is our pick and mix soya wax melts; we do 36 varieties of fragrances. Each wax melt is only £1.25 and the fragrance lasts for 20 hours. They are really clean and high quality, based on flowers, leaves, herbs, and nature, which is where I get my inspiration. A lot of them have stories behind them too!
We’d love to hear some of the stories please!
Our popular Lemon and Pine is really good at odour neutralising and we created that because we like to cook a lot of curries. We’ve got Clean Laundry which is based on the scent of going home and getting in to clean bedding in my mum’s house. It just shows how our memories are linked to fragrance.
What other products do you sell?
We make reed diffusers, candles, and we’re just launching a bath and body range – so we create 100 per cent natural botanical bath bombs. They are packed with active ingredients so contain moisturisers, clays for cleansing and Epsom salts to eliminate toxins in your body as your soak. We have eight varieties, each with a different purpose, from aiding sleep to calming.
Is being eco-conscious important to you?
Yes, our whole business is plastic free and vegan. We try to source everything as close to home as possible, so our packaging is made in Peterborough which is half an hour away from us.
What’s next for Freckleface?
Our long-term aim is to create a sustainable family business that will be handed down the generations. We hope to continue our rapid growth globally, moving into Europe on the wholesale side this year, whilst still keeping our ethics. We’re also looking to open more shops in the UK.
We hear you’ve had some rather lovely customer feedback?
Yes, we have the most incredible customers who go out of their way to write to us or to phone us to tell us how much they appreciate what we are doing. I can’t tell you how much that has meant!
Freckleface is at 16 Rose Crescent, Cambridge. Visit frecklefacehomefragrance.com
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