The chilling impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the events business spurred three enterprising founders to pivot with a new eco-conscious candle brand The Home Moment.
It was 12 March 2020 and the Irish Government’s Covid-19 restrictions were just announced. Deirdre Young and Sinead Bailey Kelly, who owned their own business in experiential events and branding called H&G Creations, were doing site visits and making bookings for events to happen all year round up until that week. Eileen Denham, who was working for a separate events company, was taking bookings for large scale conferences and corporate events throughout the year and was doing the same.
Deirdre remembers: “When we received the news everyone was flooded with booking cancellations, postponements, arranging refunds, reviewing booking contracts, and within a couple of weeks all real-life events were cancelled, 12 months of bookings gone just like that.”
“I do think the consumer is just starting to realise that every euro spent is a personal vote towards the future they want to see. There is a kind of environmental activism being instigated through where one spends their money”
Sinead, Deirdre and Eileen knew each other through the events sector and had worked together on several events in the past. They had kept in close contact through the collapse of the events industry and they were brainstorming ways to keep doing what they all loved best, “making people happy.”
The question on everyone’s mind was, “how to keep bringing experiences, and joy to people while we all have to isolate”. That is when The Home Moment was created, The Home Moment is an earth conscious, luxury candle brand focused on creating exceptional product-based experiences to elevate our customer’s quality of life.
The feel-good factor
Sinead says: “We collectively understood the struggles that people were experiencing as a result of the pandemic. How the home had now become the one stop shop for everything, and how important mental, physical and emotional health had become. Our solution was to create an experience-based product that would help encourage customers to create more peace in their homes, create space for self-care and feeling good.”
Speaking about their products, Eileen says: “It’s important to us that our products are manufactured in Ireland using earth conscious components including GMO-free soy wax, sustainable packaging, premium fragrance based on moments of joy through the psychology of scent and wellness.”
The founders have a collective 48 years of experience in the events and experience-based industry, and they were looking for innovative ways to integrate this vast knowledge into their new line of products. They have created unique natural soundscape recordings to accompany each candle, this QR code is printed on a seeded paper card enclosed in the box of each candle.
Encouraging customers to slip into a bath or sit down for meditation and scan the QR code to be transported into nature. When the candle is burned out, you can then clean out the amber glass candle jar and put the seeded paper card with a handful of soil and let wildflowers grow from your jar at home.
Not only are The Home Moment offering these experience-based products to the public they are also using their knowledge and contacts in the events industry to offer their corporate clients therapeutic wellness care packages with corresponding digital offerings to keep the morale and mental health of their teams up while they continue to work from home.
Since launching in November 2020, the company has made an impressive entry into an entirely new market for the collective. They have been accepted into the New Frontiers, a business accelerator course offered by Enterprise Ireland. With the launch of their e-commerce shop, they are quickly expanding and now have stockists in Dublin and soon to be nationwide, and aim to export within the next 18 months.
ThinkBusiness caught up with The Home Experience co-founder Sinead Bailey Kelly to discuss the challenges of pivoting and beginning a new brand in the teeth of a pandemic.
If you were to sum up the steps involved in making the pivot, what were the key lessons you learned and what would you say to other businesses?
It’s not easy making the decision to pivot your business, especially when you have years of experience in a particular industry. You have spent a lot of time and energy creating formulas and procedures that work, building up a client list, building relationships with staff and suppliers. But, when something as drastic as a pandemic hits, something that directly affects your industry and subsequent livelihood. You do need to be quick and calculated in the direction you take next.
I think the key lessons we learned as a collective has been to be open to change, to not get too attached to anything, because it could all change tomorrow. Do your best to manage your emotions, so you can create enough clear headspace to make the right decisions in moving forward. Keep looking around you at all times, online, in shops, through the news and on socials to spot trends, and to see opportunities and gaps in the market where you might be able to position yourself. And above all keep checking in with yourself, each other, and your loved ones to make sure you’re looking after your mental health, it’s a challenge trying to navigate your way through business on an average day never mind in the middle of a global health crisis. Take it day by day and mind your mind.
Do you ever think the events business will return to the way it was and do you plan to re-engage if it does?
As a collective, we have over 48+ years of experience in entertainment, events and hospitality. It’s been a journey and I know we are all very grateful for all of the experience we have gathered over the years creating bespoke experiences and brand launches for some of the biggest international clients such as Facebook, Google, Hubspot, Airbnb, Indeed, Hendricks and Moet just to name a few. It has been really interesting to see events companies nationally and internationally respond to the devastation of in real life events. A lot have gone virtual and I have huge respect for their resiliency and innovation navigating these unchartered waters.
From what I have seen within the sector I think it will still be quite some time before we can get back to anywhere near where we were before, even the concept of bringing a couple of thousand people together for a festival will be a monumental challenge with unprecedented amounts of health and safety procedures to ensure the safety of all guests going forward.
Bringing people together will be a challenge and it’s something I feel as a collective we wouldn’t be in a position to explore going forward, we are all in agreement that we are now in a growth stage of a new chapter in our collective career paths to explore a new industry altogether. And we are all very excited at the possibilities of being able to use all of the knowledge we have gathered over the years working with the best of the best, and with the most high-end companies. To distil this knowledge into an experience-based product for our customers. Our mission was always to bring people moments of joy through experience, and we will now be bringing these joyful experiences directly to people’s homes through our beautiful products. And the journey continues with many more exciting avenues of exploration to be had merging experience and products together.
There’s a lot of focus on sustainability and ESG (environmental and social governance) in the business world today, from the perspective of consumers how best can an eco-conscious brand resonate?
I do think the consumer is just starting to realise that every euro spent is a personal vote towards the future they want to see. There is a kind of environmental activism being instigated through where one spends their money. Being able to find innovative ways to research and develop our products, the components we use, our packaging and how we deliver, has given us so much food for thought on how we can keep making incremental changes to do more to be concise of our impact, be savvy with recourses. While also creating a high end, thoughtful product for our consumers. I feel the consumer is putting the pressure on companies to be more conscious about their impact and they are vocalising this through where they are investing their money, and where and how they are engaging with brands. To be honest after spending many years in events, which at times can be a very wasteful industry this is a movement I know are collectively so excited and relieved to see.
Companies need to take responsibility for themselves, it seems like the only true way forward. To be an eco-conscious brand you also need to walk the talk. Be authentic, be heartfelt, care and communicate this not just through words, but through your research, what suppliers you decide to work with, what materials you decide to use, how you inform your consumer on how to interact with your product once they are finished with it. For example, we are create high-quality candles in glass jar vessels that we encourage our customers to repurpose afterwards. We use vegan waxes, all paper and wood packaging. And we are currently developing an initiative that we hope to roll out in 2022 to plant a tree with every purchase to neutralise our companies carbon footprint.
How well/easily do digital offerings meld with physical experience products that you are creating?
I think as a result of the pandemic everyone has become very much used to integrating real life with virtual life. It’s been exciting to see how innovative groups of people have become to be able to create connection and authenticity by merging real and virtual together. Because we collectively have so much experience in the events and creating experiences, it only seemed natural that whatever products we developed we would look to build meaningful stories into them, and use digital to elevate the overall customer journey while experiencing our new brand.
As a result, we imagined an opportunity to celebrate nature by bringing nature to people’s homes, inspired by the fact that we were all spending so much time at home and less time outside with restrictions. Creating beautiful moments for customers to reconnect with nature through our sensory based products, our in house sound artist dark scapes has been creating a collection of soundscapes from across the sounds of the rainforest to the water washing on the shores of greystones. These sound scares are available through a scannable QR code that is included in the box of every candle purchase. Every fragrance gives you access to a complimentary and new soundscape. Over time we will build this library to a number of relaxing nature soundscapes that tell a story about the beauty of our one and only home, the planet!
On top of this in an effort to encourage our customers to reuse our beautiful candle vessels the QR soundscape is printed on a seeded paper card, which you can plant in the jar once the candle has been burnt and the residual wax cleaned out. So, our customers can plant their seed cards and watch wildflowers grow at home, and perhaps leave on their balconies, back yards or windowsills for the bees.
By John Kennedy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published: 24 May 2021