Cleaner from Leeds who founded a soap and candle shop in her kitchen, backed by Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis
Michelle Haigh, who works in a nursing home, started her business in 2017 after struggling to find soaps that didn’t irritate her skin.
Kitchen Witch Aromatherapy, an online soap and candle store, continued to thrive and orders jumped thanks to retail mogul Theo Paphitis.
Michelle was chosen as one of six weekly winners of her Small Business Sunday initiative, which invites business owners to showcase their brand on Twitter for a chance to join her network.
“Theo loves that you put your heart and soul into the tweet to convey your passion. I was honest and said that even though I didn’t win, I was so grateful to have the opportunity to be noticed.
“I think that resonated with him.”
Michelle’s business was born out of frustration with mass-produced aromatherapy products, which she said left her skin parched.
“I wanted to create a perfume that I would like to use myself, using natural ingredients,” she said.
“I started it on the side just to get some extra cash – times are tough for everyone.
“If I had tried and it didn’t work, I wouldn’t have lost much but I would have gained knowledge and experience.”
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Kitchen Witch stocks Michelle’s artisan soaps, melted waxes, lip balms, massage bars and candles, as well as decorative items such as flower pots and wax burners.
Her gift sets can be personalized for loved ones, and Michelle can give recommendations on the perfect scent – even creating new scents to order.
“Customers are included every step of the way,” Michelle said.
“What inspires me to keep doing it is the amazing feedback I get from them.
“They realize how much heart and soul we put into our business – they’re not just a number to us. Every time someone buys from us, we do a happy little dance.
“Massage bars pamper your skin after a bath or shower to lock in extra moisture and give your skin what it desperately needs.
“It helps you calm down and relax after a long day.”
In February, Michelle had the chance to thank Theo in person at a Small Business Sunday winners event in Birmingham.
She was able to mingle with other small business owners and hear the inspiring stories of entrepreneurs who had built businesses from the ground up.
“If they can do it, so can we,” Michelle added.
“It gave me that encouragement to keep going.”
Michelle said it’s more important than ever for small businesses to stick together as the cost of living crisis grips the country.
She added: “People can’t afford to spend a lot because of what’s going on with the bills.
“I will always work with clients, if I can’t do it for the price they need – maybe I know someone who can and I’ll guide them to another small business.
“That could stick in their minds then and they could come back.”