Jackie Dalziel
Jackie Dalziel

Ayrshire candle company hits 5000 sales reps three years after a devastating fire

An Ayrshire candle company now has 5000 sales representatives across the country selling directly to its customer base, just three years after a devastating fire almost destroyed the business.

Darceys Candles was set up by Jackie Dalziel in 2012 and manufactures handmade scented candles, wax melts and other perfume based products.

The company focuses on direct selling via a representative led sales force, similar to the Avon model, and since the fire Jackie and her team have increased the reps from 200 to 5000 and grown the staff from five to 32.

With support from Business Gateway, Darceys is now looking to move into the Irish market and become a leader in the home fragrance industry.

Jackie said: “We lost our full operation due to the fire which was devastating, but it also gave us the motivation and drive to make Darceys even more successful. We have a fantastic customer base and our sales representatives were all committed to helping us get back on our feet, which was pivotal in our survival. In the last 18 months our growth has been phenomenal as we’ve increased our reps tenfold, added new products to our range and we’re now expanding into different regions and countries. I’m a firm believer in the direct selling model and my vision is to continue our growth and stay one step ahead of our competitors.

“In the last six years we have gained from Business Gateway’s support which has been great, in both the good times and bad. We’ve met lots of other businesses through working with Business Gateway which has been a big help as we’re all going through the same journey.”

John Strachan, Business Adviser, Business Gateway Ayrshire said: “We have supported Jackie throughout her business journey offering her expert advice. Jackie accessed our pre and start-up service, attended our fully funded workshops and benefitted from our 1:1 advisory support. This allowed Jackie to get tailored help that was relevant to whichever stage her business was at. This was particularly important in the months after the fire as we all worked together to ensure Darceys retained its customers and become successful again.”

Jackie first became interested in candles while working for the NHS and bringing up her two children. She took up making soy wax melts as a hobby and after experimenting with scents realised her products had big potential.

With no experience in direct selling, Jackie met Clare Cameron, a former sales leader for Avon and now the pair front a high growth team of independent representatives spread across the UK.

Jackie added: “I worked for the NHS for 17 years and with two young children I couldn’t get to town much to go shopping so having a local Avon seller dropping a book off at my home was ideal. That’s when I realised there could be more direct selling businesses. I looked into how popular the home fragrance market was and set about matching my products with direct selling to see how viable an idea it was. After a rollercoaster few years I’m delighted with the position we’re now in and I’m really excited about the future.”