AN island mum who started off making candles for her children’s teachers a year ago is now supplying bespoke candles to the international children’s charity run by Sarah Brown.
Mum-of-three Megan Macdonald was invited to create a unique scented candle for Mrs Brown’s charity, Theirworld, after the former Prime Minister’s wife became a fan of her Sandwick Bay Candles earlier in the year.
The connection came about because a friend of Megan’s works as Chief of Staff to Gordon Brown in his capacity as United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education.
He gave one of Megan’s earliest soy candles to Sarah Brown via her husband and she placed a big order in May.
That was followed by an even bigger order in June, when Mrs Brown also asked Megan, who lives in Lewis, if she would be interested in creating a festive candle for them.
The result is the mistletoe-inspired candle Promise, which is being sold exclusively though their website, www.theirworld.org. Megan supplied 250 of the candles and the white and gold packaging all bears the Sandwick Bay Candles name, as well as Theirworld.
A spokeswoman for Theirworld said: “We asked Megan to make the candle because they are beautifully made and natural. Sarah loves the mistletoe concept and thinks the candle is fresh, zesty and warm.
“Promise is our holiday message for campaigns and for everyone at this festive time.”
Theirworld is a global charity which aims to help all children fulfil their potential by carrying out research, projects and campaigns, with a particular focus on education.
The charity, originally set up by Sarah Brown as Piggybankkids, has worked in countries including Nigeria, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey and is listened to at the United Nations.
It is a world away from Lower Sandwick, where Megan, an occupational therapist in the Western Isles Hospital by day, makes her candles in the evenings and weekends.
Megan, 35, said: “It’s absolutely jaw-dropping. It’s so exciting. At the end of the day, I am an OT living in Stornoway, making candles on my kitchen table. The possibility that this could be going to UN leaders is mind-blowing.”
Mum to Neeve, seven, Marley, six, and Samuel, 18 months, Megan first experimented with the candles as gifts for her daughters’ teachers at Stornoway Primary, where they are in Gaelic Medium Education.
She said: “I started making them in September last year because I had a candle kit in my cupboard. Then I thought about Christmas for the teachers and I got the kids to make the labels. It was literally a wee tin with a plain sticker on it and a picture of a Christmas tree and I got the girls to write on them.”
Encouraged by the responses, Megan decided to try a proper production run in February — and immediately found herself in business. Megan had prepared 20 but rapidly had to replenish supplies and ended up selling 250 in that month alone.
Support quickly grew and Megan’s candles are now stocked in a range of places including KJ Macdonald Chemists, Uig Community Shop and Stornoway Airport.
All Megan’s candles are hand-poured and are made from 100 per cent natural soy wax, the only other ingredient being premium fragrance oil. They come in a wide variety of fragrances and in all sizes, including travel tins, refillable glass jars and reed diffusers.
Megan has also brought out three festive candles under her own label. With choices of Gaelic or English names, they are Joy, Peace and Love (Sonas, Sìth and Gràdh) and were inspired by Christmas trees, mulled wine and Christmas pudding.
Megan is originally from New Zealand and paid tribute to her homeland in her branding, which features an image of the Pohutukawa flower, a New Zealand Christmas tree.
She will be attending the Christmas Fair in Eden Court, Inverness, from Friday to Sunday this week. Visit her website at www.sandwickbaycandles.com.