My name is Laura and I am the owner of this new business-baby. I set up the company in November 2020 and signed the lease on my unit two hours before the lockdown was announced (doh). I have been told that if my business can survive starting up in a global pandemic then it will thrive, I am truly hoping that is going to be the case! I have put all my monetary and hopeful eggs into this one business basket, and have to cross everything that can be crossed that customers will find my business, like what they see, and try my products. Hope is not supposed to be a business strategy, but the pandemic effectively shredded my business plan and let it rain down as laughing confetti over my budget, I found that hope and perseverance were what I had left, and that is what I use each day to get me through. You may well have glimpsed that I am perhaps a drily sarcastic sort of person, it has helped me a lot though and kept me going. In this pandemic, I lost my career, work family and reason to get up each day, it knocked my health and I was a 37 year old woman living with her parents, all things that are not great for self-esteem.  I took a look around and said I’m alive when many are not, I get a second career opportunity when others do not, I need to get on with this. I turned my form of survivor’s guilt into the driving force behind getting up each day to work on my new business, between March and October 2020 I worked on my recipes, got everything certified, sourced packaging and realized I had to have a clean commercial environment that wasn’t my sister’s garage to make my products. This was possibly more straightforward for me than for others as it is not the first time I have had to reassess, so here’s a little about my journey over the last decade leading up to Covid.

Back in 2010 I had made my first bath bombs and bath salts as a hobby for myself, I already loved gardening, herbs, botanicals and scents, I then got my hands on piles of books about scent creation, oils, aromatherapy, soap and various benefits of different salts. I was working in Hotels and loved the pace and work ethic. In March 2013 I was on my way to go paintballing when my car slid on mud, and I rolled my car twice at 60mph having to be cut out of it by the fire brigade. I was extremely fortunate and was able to be assisted in walking out of the hospital hours later. The pain locked me rigid and I had physiotherapy to get mobilized plus tablets for a week to get through the worst of the flashbacks. I was back behind a wheel of a car after 10 days (once I could turn my neck), and although I shook and had a few tears after driving, I knew I could and would drive again so I did. I was back at work after 14 days and thought I was doing ok, flashbacks occurred but only infrequently, and I had some soreness still but thought that would fade. The pain in my left hip only intensified so it was looked into for almost a year and after a period of time thinking it was psychosomatic from the crash it turned out I had bursitis. Injections failed so in the Autumn of 2014 I had major surgery to remove the bursar from my leg providing me with a scar that ruled out shorts in the Summer. Two weeks into my recovery it became very clear that my right leg had the same issue, re-learning to walk properly then injections followed with the same outcome so major surgery round two happened in Autumn 2015. I thought that the recovery after this would be the last one and I would finally be ‘normal’ and able to do the things I wanted to do without crutches or sticks. Recovery was slower than hoped for and I got referred to a rheumatologist in 2016 who diagnosed me with fibromyalgia and said ‘you will be in pain every day for the rest of your life, some days will be better than others’. It took a while for me to process and accept this, to make my own version of normal and to be ok with who I am. I had allowed myself a 24 hour window of self-pity each time my hopes were dashed with news of an injection failing, findings of an x-ray, news of surgery etc, and that was it, after that I had to get on with the life I had, and I was a Wedding & Events Manager making couple’s big-day dreams come true, so I threw myself into my job and it was my rock, the thing that kept me going. Throughout this time, I kept my hobby alive on my time off with reading and then making my own items and batch after batch, continually changing things in the quest for what I wanted to achieve. I wanted great scented items that would be good for as many skin types as possible, not greasy feeling and without chemical preservatives. I thought I could have this as a secondary income to help me afford the deposit for a house so was at the point of looking to get my recipes certified. Then the pandemic happened.

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