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Life's luxuries

Gina Cassidy talks to Gift Focus about launching homeware and home fragrance brand Purcell & Woodcock

Purcell & Woodcock was launched in Ireland in August 2014 and this year in the UK at Harrogate Home & Gift. It was here that we bumped into Gina and her team and breathed in the wonderful aromas of the products on offer.

Launching the company was a big step for Gina - something completely new from her past role as a HR Director. Having had her third baby, she wanted to get the work-life balance right, and thought, it's now or never. "I'd always been an avid homeware enthusiast, but three children later, my budget had decreased and I could no longer afford to buy and use expensive candles, so I figured I'd give it a shot at creating my own - the rest is history." Her past career experience have certainly helped along the way, as she explains, "The colourful world of HR teaches you a lot about dealing with people, particularly around emotional intelligence, the foundations of which are borderless. Without doubt, this has equipped me in my new world of exhibiting at tradeshows, dealing with suppliers and manufacturers and engaging with customers."

As an avid homewares enthusiast, Gina knew the market well and furthered her knowledge by conducting extensive research on the luxury, high-end market. Gina found a definite lack of high quality luxury homeware products at affordable prices and wanted to change this - and so Purcell and Woodcock was born, aiming to offer cost-savvy consumers value, quality and luxury without the price tag.

"Once I'd made the decision to go for it, it was all go. From fragrance sampling, concentration testing, wax blends, wick composition, the list was endless. I studied the top brands and mirrored the quality, introducing a candle range that was designed for living, that wouldn't sit on the mantelpiece and get lit once a year (which I was also a victim of!). Everybody deserves a little luxury in their lives and I was adamant I could create something that could offer everyone the opportunity to buy high quality luxurious products, without breaking the bank."

The initial range includes fragranced candles and reed diffusers - the latter including an everyday range and a gifting range, encompassing over 13 fragrances. The hand-made candles are a premium soy-blend with 100 per cent cotton lead-free wicks. Gina adds, "Our luxurious reed diffusers are alcohol-free, low allergen and are made in Ireland. They've been carefully blended to ensure a subtle smooth aroma will enrich your home and set a welcoming tone to all that enter. The brand is built around affordable luxury, so the price point is the differentiating factor - people are expecting the products to cost twice as much as they do, yet from a quality perspective, no element has been compromised."

With a line of homeware to complement the candles and home fragrance ranges on the way, it's all go. The collection includes patterned mugs, jugs, milk and sugar bowls, all under the banner of affordable luxury - all in classic elegant patterns. "I wanted the range to allow for everyday use - perfect for having your cuppa in each morning, but pretty enough to use when the Joneses are over" To see the line for yourselves, you can visit the company at Showcase Ireland in Dublin in January 2016.

As a busy mum of three, launching a new company was no mean feat for Gina. With stockists in garden centres, hotel spas and giftshops, the response has been phenomenal. As Gina explains, "I'm genuinely overwhelmed at how well it's been received and I constantly get lovely emails from customers congratulating me on the range and giving positive feedback on the fragrances. A simple email from a customer praising the products makes the hard work worthwhile."

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