Family business sells bespoke candles to support mental health of frontline workers

Ruth Mastenbroek Perfumer designed bespoke candles to raise money for mental health charity. Credit: Ruth Mastenbroek Perfumer

A family run business in Buckinghamshire is selling bespoke, limited edition candles to raise money for a charity that supports the mental health of frontline workers during the pandemic.

All profits from the sale of the candles will help towards the work of 'Our Frontline' charity.

Ruth Mastenbroek Perfumer is a family run business. Ruth has worked in parfumerie for 40 plus year. Credit: Ruth Mastenbroek Perfumer

Claire van Groeningen, who works with her mum, and brother at Ruth Mastenbroek perfumer like many small businesses have struggled in the last couple of months.

But Claire and her family wanted to distract themselves from the negatives and focus on doing something positive, which could help make a difference.

It is easy to get swept up into the negatives as a business. This gave us something to focus on and feel like we were doing something to help beyond our business.

Claire van Groeningen, Director of Ruth Mastenbroek Perfumer

Claire said the response to the candles has been "overwhelming." In just a couple of weeks the candles have raised more than 3,000 pounds.

People have really wanted to get behind a small family business that are doing something good – that’s what we keep hearing from customers.

Claire van Groeningen, Director of Ruth Mastenbroek Perfumer
The candles were inspired by the messages of gratitude and hope during this pandemic. Credit: Ruth Mastenbroek Perfumer

Claire and her family created two bespoke candles, each one carrying a poignant message. One candle labelled ‘gratitude’ and the other ‘hope’.

We wanted to create one candle and we were going to call it thank you. But actually, it was more than that. It was a feeling you could just have yourself, a sense of feeling grateful.

Claire van Groeningen, Director of Ruth Mastenbroek Perfumer

“Even though we are in this now, and there’s going to be a lot of challenges and possibly negative feelings – having a feeling of hope can really help." she added.

Alongside thoughtful messaging behind the candles – a lot of work also went into choosing the right fragrance.

For the Gratitude candle, amber and tuberose scent was used. For Hope, ginger and lemon grass was the chosen fragrance.

Claire and the rest of the family felt very strongly that 100% of the profits from the sale of the candles would support the mental health of all frontline workers during this pandemic.

She said "It is probably right in saying that everyone has had a challenging time going through all this whether you’re a key worker or not."

Ruth Mastenbroek Perfumer business has been running for 17 years. Credit: Ruth Mastenbroek Perfumer

Ruth Mastenbroek Perfumer is a family business that has been running for 17 years.

Just before the pandemic they had opened its first lab space. But this came with fixed costs.

Since coronavirus, like for many small businesses, there has been a lot of uncertainty.

But Claire said that despite the challenges, she has been "lucky enough to work with her family to support one another through it."

This pandemic is throwing many challenges at small businesses and it is leaving many with no other option but to adapt.

For the perfume industry, Claire and the business are trying to find a way that customers can interact with their fragrance online.

Claire said it is proving quite tricky.

“The thing for us is how people can experience and understand their fragrances online without going into a shop. We can sample people, but sending out samples as a business is expensive. People try on in store and then come to our website. If that interaction doesn’t happen in store, we need to make that happen via our website and social media."

Claire van Groeningen, Director of Ruth Mastenbroek Perfumer

Claire said the business is already adapting, but there isn't going to be "sudden changes overnight."

She said she is keen to continue selling her bespoke candles for as long as people want to buy them.

She hopes to raise at least £5,000 pounds for Our Frontline charity.