We are now stocking a beautiful range of candles and diffusers by Hutwoods and today we take a look behind the brand and meet the founder Becky Hutley. We find out what inspires and drives her and also look at the challenges faced by running your own business plus take a sneak peak into what Hutwoods has on the cards for 2018.
Hi Becky, lovely to meet you. What made you decide to start your own business and where did the name Hutwoods come from?
I’ve definitely had an entrepreneurial spirit from a very early age and had always dreamt of working for myself. I had been working in sales for a number of years but I was never truly settled, knowing deep down that one day I’d love to launch my own business. I first started learning the art of making candles as a hobby, but my interest quickly grew. I knew I’d found something that was not only a viable business, but also something I was truly passionate about. I decided very quickly that it was something I wanted to put my heart and soul into and within 6 months of starting the business, I’d quit my day job to focus on Hutwoods full-time.
Not many people know this but the name Hutwoods is actually a combination our surnames “Hutley” & “Lockwood”, as my husband and I run the business together.
How long has your business been open?
We launched Hutwoods back in late 2013, so around 4.5 years ago. We first started with our online website but in February 2017 we opened our first shop in Caringbah, Sydney.
What did you do before you had your business?
I had been working in sales for the majority of my career, which has thankfully given me many of the skills required for growing the business today. I was always confident in the quality of our products and luckily my sales background helps with many aspects of the business.
What do you find the most rewarding and the most challenging?
There are many rewarding aspects of Hutwoods but I’d have to say that one that really stands out is the wonderful feedback we receive regarding our products. Running a business can be so stressful, but receiving a complimentary email on our products from a customer or stockist makes all the hard work so worthwhile!
In terms of the challenges, there are lots of these every day! Although, one of our main challenges keeping me up at night at the moment, is a lack of space. It’s very difficult to plan ahead as you don’t quite know how fast or slow your business is going to scale. When we moved into our current shop and production space 12 months ago, we thought this would be perfect for the next 3 years. Unfortunately, we’ve already taken up every inch and need something bigger. The cost of moving and the extra investment in a larger premise can be really scary, so needs a lot of planning to ensure it can be done sustainably.
Is there anything that you would do differently now?
There have been many lessons along the way but I wouldn’t say we’d do anything differently. As my Mum always says, “any mistakes are happy mistakes” and the learnings we have taken from these have been invaluable and helped elevate our business.
Mums always have excellent advice! Do you have a favourite fragrance from your range?
I don’t have a clear favourite as I enjoy different fragrances depending on what time of day it is or how I’m feeling at that moment. Although saying that, you’ll often find me burning our Wild Jasmine & Sandalwood fragrance. It’s the perfect blend of floral jasmine combined with woody base notes. It is also one of the most popular fragrances with our customers.
Do you have a favourite design style?
I currently love the minimalist Scandinavian style, often less is so much more! A lot has to be said for simplicity and not overcomplicating things and I’m generally a fan of classic, simple and timeless design.
I’m also currently obsessed with plants at the moment – they are dotted all over the shop and our home is full of them! They add so much character to a space.
I love this style too and agree that less is more! What is your favourite season?
I’m originally from the UK and moved here 10 years ago to escape the cold weather, so I’d have to say that summer is my favourite season! I love the long balmy summer days and the opportunity to enjoy Australia’s beautiful beaches.
When it comes to burning candles though, I don’t think you can beat a cold winters day. There’s something very reassuring about being cosied up in a warm home with a candle flickering away. This is one of the reasons why we launched using wood wicks in our candles, the soft crackling noise they make sounds like a fireplace, which is very relaxing.
I also find the crackle of the wood wick so relaxing. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
We’ve just bought our first home in Engadine in the Sutherland Shire, just south of Sydney. We’re absolutely loving the community feel of this area. It’s great being so close to stunning beaches but also the sheer beauty of the Royal National Park. We feel very lucky.
That said, it’s a bit of a long-term dream to live somewhere close to our favourite holiday spot, Byron Bay. There’s just something so special about that place! I think for now though, we’ll be here in Sydney for a while, as it’s such a beautiful and diverse place to live.
What inspires you?
I’m constantly inspired by seeing successful women in business. I follow many of the women I admire on their social channels and I love to watch their entrepreneurial journeys. Each has a fascinating story and I love learning from them.
It’s so empowering to see women living life to the absolute full, disrupting old age industries and achieving their goals. This is always so varied, which makes it even more interesting. I love seeing success and happiness in all its forms and this is what truly inspires me.
What's on the cards for the rest of 2018?
Hutwoods has so much more growth planned and that will be our focus over the next year. It’s been a big 18 months of planning but we’re really excited to announce that we have released a new bath & body range. It has been a long-term goal of ours to expand our product offering and we’re always looking at new ways we can bring to life our brand mission of, ‘encouraging everyone to enjoy a daily dose of calmness and relaxation.’ A lot has to be said for taking a few minutes out of your day to focus on yourself and we hope to continue making products that help to have a positive impact on wellbeing.
What a lovely way to relax and focus on yourself. How can we stay in contact with you?
Thank you so much Becky. It's been great to learn more about the woman behind the brand.