A mother-of-one who launched a luxury wax melts business from her kitchen table while on maternity leave is set to turnover £2.5million this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Keely Parsons, 24, from Bristol, is the owner of Sassy Shop Wax, which was born out of a hobby she took up when she was 18.
The savvy entrepreneur began making her own candles and started selling them on Facebook – and before long amassed 10,000 fans on the social media platform.
In March 2018, Keely opted to start her maternity leave early from her full time role in recruitment, and decided it was the right time to make a go of her wax melt business.
Keely Parsons, 24, from Bristol, is the owner of Sassy Shop Wax, which was born out of a hobby she took up when she was 18. Pictured recently while pregnant with her second child
By the time she gave birth to her son Luca at the end of May that year, she was raking in £20,000 a month.
What are wax melts?
Wax melts are scented pieces of wax that are designed to be gently heated to release their fragrance.
They’re like candles but without the wick, meaning that they require a wax warmer to heat and diffuse the scent.
When in use, they melt completely to create an even fragrance distribution.
The business has gone from strength to strength and enjoyed a bumper year of sales, despite the ongoing pandemic – and now counts Gemma Collins and Kerry Katona among its fans.
It grew by 30 per cent over the national lockdown, and even with the new strict restrictions in England, which closed non-essential retail outlets, she is expecting healthy sales figures in the run-up to Christmas.
Speaking to FEMAIL, Keely said: ‘I’d always had anxiety about being the perfect mum, and wanted to feel fulfilled as a mother first of all – anything after that was a bonus.
‘I hated going to work every day, so making a success of my own business seemed like the perfect solution.
‘In October we made £195,000, selling 37,000 units – when I say that out loud I’m still like, what? I cry every time I talk about it.
The business has gone from strength to strength and enjoyed a bumper year of sales, despite the ongoing pandemic – and now counts Gemma Collins (pictured) and Kerry Katona among its fans
The business grew by 30 per cent over the national lockdown, and even with the new strict restrictions in England, which closed non-essential retail outlets, Keely is expecting healthy sales figures in the run-up to Christmas. Pictured: some of the Sassy Shop Wax products
‘For 2019/2020 we are predicted to make £2.5 million – all from wax melts. It’s incredible really.’
Speaking about the challenges she’s faced during Covid-19, Keely – who employs 20 staff – said they key to their success has been teamwork.
‘We are [like] a family,’ she explained. ‘Covid has meant furloughed employees, working from home, new rotas, distance.
In March 2018, pregnant Keely opted to start her maternity leave early from her full time role in recruitment and decided it was the right time to make a go of her wax melt business
‘Like many small businesses across the UK our culture and the way we do business was massively disrupted and there was nothing we could do about it. So we adapted, we pivoted, we planned for the future and we actually ended up killing it this quarter.
‘There have been many things that Covid-19 has taught us all but one thing it has taught our team is that in the face of a nightmare we call pull off things that wouldn’t have even been a possibility before.’
Keely first started making the waxes after thinking she’d like to have the smell of her favourite bath bomb as a household fragrance.
She did a bit of research and found a gap in the market, so she started making her own.
Despite juggling new motherhood with a burgeoning business, Keely said she was happier than she’d ever been
‘I played around with it for a year and sold a few online, but it was my hobby so it was just a bonus making any money,’ she recalled.
In 2017 Keely came across Facebook groups for fellow fans of wax melts and candles, and found that many would let her advertise her products for free. It became a pivotal moment for the business.
‘If you get the marketing right, it can be game-changing for a business and I really found my feet on Facebook,’ she said.
‘Finding groups interested in what you do can be gold – I had 10,000 people who were already interested in what I make.’
When Keely went on maternity leave she was already making £2,000 a month from her wax melts while still holding down her full-time job.
Determined to make a go of her business, she ramped up production of her waxes. She named her business after her nickname at work, where colleagues joked about her ‘sassy’ attitude on the phone.
Despite juggling new motherhood with a burgeoning business, Keely said she was happier than she’d ever been.
‘Compared to a 9-5 it was a dream,’ she said. ‘Most days I’d watch Netflix and cuddle Luca all day, soaking up every minute, but when Dad came home I would work the evening.
‘I felt like I was doing what I was supposed to do and following my purpose. My mum used to come round for two hours so I could have a long bath and sleep but I was so passionate that I would work making wax instead – because I wanted to, not because I felt I had to, or that it felt like work.
‘Being a mum and building a business allowed me to enjoy every minute of every day which is not something I’d experienced before.’
In March 2019, Keely switched from being self-employed to a limited company, taking on family members as staff and employing one further person
As the buzz around her Sassy Shop Wax products began to grow, Keely found that however much product she made, it would instantly sell out to her dedicated customers who were keen to snap up a slice of affordable luxury for their homes.
She said: ‘I was making the stock all month, I’d put it on the website once a month and it would sell out within 15 minutes. If I made £4,000 worth of stock in a month, I’d sell it; if I doubled it, that would sell out as well. It was a case of, where was the ceiling?’
By August 2018 she was selling £30,000 a month of product – still making everything in her own dining room, with her mother and sister-in-law helping out.
‘At that point I was making more money than I could ever have imagined,’ Keely admitted. ‘Any spare hours in the day I would try and make more wax.’
In March 2019, Keely switched from being self-employed to a limited company, taking on family members as staff and employing one further person.
From then on she has been steadily hiring one to two additional employees a month to keep up with demand. In July last year she moved production to an 800 sq ft workshop, and just a year later moved into an even bigger 5,300 sq ft warehouse in Vertex Park, Emersons Green, which now employs 20 staff.
In July last year Keely moved production to an 800 sq ft workshop, and just a year later moved into an even bigger 5,300 sq ft warehouse in Vertex Park, Emersons Green, which now employs 20 staff
The waxes are all still handmade from a unique fragrance blend – and Keely admitted she still can’t believe how successful her business has become.
Keen to continue investing into the company, she takes a modest salary considering what it makes, but was thrilled when she managed to purchase her first home this year – ahead of the anticipated Christmas arrival of baby number two with her fiancé Theo Mehrabi, also 24.
She said: ‘It’s my dream house, close to where I grew up, so that will do me. I’m invested in putting money back into the business and investing in staff.
‘All of my staff are really motivated and upbeat, everyone feels like we’re going to smash it this quarter.
‘Not many people are thinking about wax melts in the summer and yet we still grew by 30 per cent, but now it’s winter time we know it will really ramp up.’
But for Keely, what has been the biggest success is achieving her goal of working flexibly to be the best mother to Luca, now two, while developing her business.
For Keely, what has been the biggest success is achieving her goal of working flexibly to be the best mother to Luca, now two, while developing her business
She urges other would-be entrepreneurs to ‘dream big’, adding: ‘I think a lot of people when they start up a business, they’re thinking small, they’re scared of promoting themselves and what they want to achieve.
‘I grew up in a small village, and to tell people you’re going to do something different with your life it can feel a little scary.
‘People should be less scared to shout about it and what you’re trying to achieve. Don’t be scared about numbers – the responsibility some people can get scared of, and that’s when you put limits on yourself.
‘If I’d have told myself even a year ago I’d have a monthly turnover of £200,000 I probably wouldn’t have believed it.’
As for the future, Keely’s next ambition is to get Sassy Wax stocked on the high street – and to expand the range to come full circle by making a range of soaps and bath bombs.
For more information visit https://www.sassyshopwax.com/