Gillian Halpin scents success with Jane Darcy brand

Gillian Halpin, founder of the Jane Darcy brand, talks to ThinkBusiness about starting the company and the challenges that go with running a business during Covid-19.

While the world continues to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, looking after your wellbeing has never been more important.

Just like our lives over the last four months, our homes have changed dramatically. Once a place for relaxing after work, our homes became offices, classrooms and places to work out as schools and businesses were forced to close their doors.

But it is vital to ensure the home remains your safe place, and to not allow everything else to take over.

One such way to relax and improve both your physical and mental wellbeing is by lighting scented candles, which offer “huge benefits” to your health, claims Gillian Halpin, founder of Jane Darcy.

“In the past, I, like so many other people, have suffered from anxiety and depression and I know the difference they (candles) can make”

The company, named after Gillian’s daughter’s middle names, Jane and Darcy, launched in September 2018 and is a luxury home fragrance brand specialising in beautifully scented 100 per cent natural soy wax candles and reed diffusers.

“When I started Jane Darcy, everyone would ask me, ‘Why candles?’ In the past, I, like so many other people, have suffered from anxiety and depression and I know the difference they can make.

“We have a zesty lemongrass and bergamasco candle, and most people don’t know that lemongrass is amazing for any kind of anxiety or depression. It’s very uplifting and I would always light it in the morning,” she said.

Inspired by her entrepreneur father, Gillian decided to leave her secure role in marketing to pursue Jane Darcy, but says it took two years of deliberating before taking the plunge.

“At first, I just didn’t have the courage to take that leap. It was definitely a big step for me, and it’s a very difficult journey. I get a lot of people saying to me ‘God, you’re so brave’, but I don’t know if it was down to being brave, or the fact that I had come to a point in my life where I knew I needed a change.”

The idea came about when Gillian started to realise she wasn’t spending as much time with her family as she would have liked.

“I spoke to my family and friends when I finally started to admit it to myself that I needed a change,and it just so happened that they felt the exact same way. It was at that moment that I decided to make that change.

“Most people don’t know that lemongrass is amazing for any kind of anxiety or depression”

“I wanted to encourage others to treasure the simple moments in life. The big moments in life aren’t always the most important. Usually, when you look back, it’s those little moments like having a cup of tea with your mom, catching up with your friend, building Lego with your kids. They’re the moments that you look back on and treasure forever, as opposed to the big birthday parties,” she explained.

Covid concerns

Jane Darcy candles are stocked in a number of retail outlets across Ireland, and Gillian admitted she feared the worst when the country went into lockdown in March, however, the brand saw huge growth online.  

“All of our stockists were forced to close their doors and that was very worrying. But we saw an increase in online sales which was amazing, because I didn’t really expect it to be honest.

“When the orders started coming in, I was working from home and I had my girls helping me pack boxes on the ground. The was a pile of paper scattered across the kitchen as we tried to get out the orders every day.

“We had many people ordering for frontline workers, we had people ordering for Garda stations, for hospitals and nursing homes, and it was wonderful to see. We personalise all our gift cards within the candles and fuses, and some of the messages were so inspiring, and it makes the job so worthwhile.”

Running a business from home over the last four months has come with its fair share of challenges, but Gillian says the pandemic has given her a new perspective on life. 

“It was difficult balancing the business with home-schooling and looking after the girls, but by the same token, it was amazing to be able to have that quality time at home. Despite it being such a difficult time for everyone around the world, it’s a time I will look back on and treasure.”

Looking to the future, Jane Darcy is launching a new range of products in September, which Gillian says she is really excited about, and has encouraged her customers to keep an eye on the company’s Instagram page for updates.

“Despite it being such a difficult time for everyone around the world, it’s a time I will look back on and treasure”

“We haven’t actually released details yet, but there’ll be some new scents coming. We have new gift sets as well, which are hugely popular. It’s been something that people have been asking for a long time, but it took me a little bit longer with the coronavirus to get it all together.”

Having showcased the brand at Maison&Objet, the world-renowned Paris trade show which features some of the world’s leading brands, last January, Gillian plans to use that experience to support the company’s growth in the coming years.

“We’re still a very young company and we have more work to do within the Irish market, but we have some new stockists coming on board within Europe, with our latest one in Belgium. After that, we will continue to expand within the UK and Europe over the next two to five years. I’m confident we can go far with Jane Darcy,” she finished.

Jane Darcy products are available online at JaneDarcy.ie and in a range of stockists nationwide.

By Stephen Larkin

Published: 5 August, 2020