Tricia Davison is a lovely, bubbly lady.
She also happens to be one of our craft collective and performs many important functions behind the scenes at LHF. Yet she would argue that her greatest skill is communication with the customers and stallholders on our fair days. There’s nothing she loves more than a good chat with a customer, and if she’s away from her stall you can guarantee that she will be off checking that everyone’s ok, be they the mum of the group, the child or even the slightly bewildered husband!
I got together with Tricia over a cup of coffee in my garden to find out how she came to be at this point in her life with a successful, gorgeously scented business that is well known in the local area for its amazing fragrances, fast and efficient service, all under the Truly Lovely Candles banner.
It all started at a very early age with her love of different smells; some of her earliest memories are of making perfumes with the petals from roses and other flowers by mixing them with water. I remember doing this at least once as a child, but it sounds as though Tricia found her affinity with fragrances to be a strong one, as she used to visit Selfridges and Liberty in London, and spend all her time in fragrance halls immersed in the many different aromas.
“I’m always smelling things” she says to me with a grin on her face, as if she’s had some funny looks when she’s mentioned this in the past. Yet I know exactly where she’s coming from. I think we all have a particular smell we love, whether it’s fresh coffee, newly printed magazines or a just-extinguished match.
Tricia was taught the importance of skin and hair care from an early age by her mother who had a skin condition, so it was always going to be a natural progression into her teens and early adult life to work in the cosmetics and fragrance industries. She completed her work experience at Fenwick department store, progressing to a Saturday job once the work experience had ended. A job in Selfridges in Oxford followed. At 19 she went on to work for Helena Rubenstein as one of their youngest ever consultants, for which Tricia was a brilliant fit at the time. There followed some other impressive fragrance and cosmetics buying jobs for various companies including a string of independent chemists; Estee Lauder and Clinique, to name but a few.
“I have always loved the luxurious side of things” she tells me. “I’m also always trying the latest new brands, such as a new mascara, and this helps me keep up with the latest trends” She goes on to mention how she’s always loved candles and bought many over the years.
I want to find out what it was that made her decide to go for it; that special ‘spark’ that enables us to go from a cracking idea, to the reality of running your own business.
“It was five or six years ago and I was working for another business at the time. I had been making my own candles for a while; just for me really, and some of my friends and family. Then one day, I just made the decision to hand my notice in and go for it. The next week I was making my candles and selling them at local events.”
Her love of fragrances exploded from there, and Truly Lovely Candles was created.
She has some simply stunning scents in her repertoire, including Lime, Basil and Mandarin, English Pear and Freesia, and White Mulberry, to name but a few. She bridges traditional and modern perfectly and each fragrance has a very pure quality to it. Nothing smells over-manufactured or fake.
Each soya wax candle is hand poured into various different mediums including glass votives, tins and tea lights. She even does special orders for various customers in tea cups, which she assures me creates their very own set of challenges: The art of candle pouring and the science behind a ‘good wick’ and the diameter of the teacup changes from cup to cup. “This always keeps me on the ball and concentrating” she laughs.
Recently she’s gone on to produce extremely high quality reed diffusers with her signature scents. (I can actually attest to this personally-I’m rather obsessed with her White Mulberry reeds, which are still going strong months and months later!)
When asked about her plans for the future, she nods contentedly and grins. “More of the same, really. I love creating new scents for special orders, and working closely with people such as brides to create something special for them.”
She’s very happy with her lot. She loves working from her kitchen with her ‘pots and pans’ as she calls them! She’s perfected juggling a husband and children with ‘test burns’ and pootling around the county delivering her products to a select few independent shops. “The most important thing to me is to keep it personal. I will always want to be interacting with my customers. I love the whole ‘people’ side of the business.”
So there you have it. A small insight into the Truly Lovely Candle story. Tricia is a driven, talented lady with an infectious laugh. After a few minutes in her company it’s clearly obvious that the TLC acronym wasn’t a fluke. She really does create her candles with Tender Loving Care.