Ash Moorehead’s love affair with candles began when she was on maternity leave with her first child, Buddy.
“I started to make candles as a hobby when it was just Buddy and I at home,” Ash says. “Friends and family wanted to buy them and I began to see that there was a demand, so I started selling candles at the local markets. It all went from there.”
Ash founded Buddy & Me in 2013, selling candles from a showroom at her home, where she regularly hosted ‘local’s nights’ for the public to sample her products. The business grew to encompass homewares and an offshoot enterprise, Custom Corporate Candles, allowing Ash to expand her market by creating an online store.
It’s been a steep learning curve for Ash, who credits hard work and “the backing of a great community” for her success.
“I had no business experience, I just fell into it by accident and kept going because of the support I received,” she says. “I had such great feedback that I just never went back to my real job! Then our daughter, Scout, came along in 2014 and it made sense to stay in the business because of the flexibility it affords me as a mother.”
After growing up in Harrington, Ash and her partner, Tim, moved to Kempsey when Ash obtained work as an occupational therapist with Kempsey Community Health six years ago.
“We loved it from the start and knew it was a great place to have kids,” she says. “The beaches and hinterland are amazing – this region truly has the best of everything.”
Since starting her business, the savvy entrepreneur has been heavily involved in the local community, volunteering with the Macleay Valley Business Chamber to promote the region and assist new businesses.
“I found the business chamber really helpful when I was just starting out,” she says. “It’s a great place to network and ask for advice. The success of one business can help raise the profile of other local businesses so it’s in our interest to work together.”
“There’s so much potential in this valley – it’s not only a beautiful place to live, but it’s affordable and there are so many untapped opportunities. Business owners should be getting excited about what’s to come!”