Alix Mulholland — creator and owner of Field Day Apothecary
I studied business management at Glasgow University and had to do a final-year project on a small business idea. That’s when I had my lightbulb moment to create a range of high-quality fragranced Irish giftware, as I felt there was a definite gap in the market.
My dad had always been in retail, so I was exposed to this world from a very young age. I started the business, then called Bog Standard, at my Mum’s kitchen table, armed only with a selection of soap moulds, oils, fragrances, and a hardback instruction book entitled The Handmade Soap Book by Melinda Coss (the Delia Smith of soap making).
Field Day now employs seven staff, mainly working mums like myself, and we have recently relocated to larger premises in the heart of the rural Irish countryside. The range is stocked in over 250 stores in the UK and Ireland.
A typical day starts with the school run when I drop off my two kids, Grace and Charlie. The day can take me anywhere from then on, from meeting suppliers, stockists or printers, to exhibiting at trade fairs, to trying to forecast buying for purchase ordering, which can be very tricky and time-consuming. My absolute favourite part of the day is when I get to work on new products.
Late afternoons involves collecting the kids from school and ferrying them to various activities, usually followed by a quick dash to Tesco, homework and bed for the kids. Then, I get back to work catching up on emails.
This summer, Field Apothecary was chosen to participate in a gift and interiors pop-up shop at Brown Thomas Dublin, as part of CREATE 2017.
Field Apothecary is a capsule collection of hand poured candles under the Field Day umbrella. To celebrate, we developed a new candle called Birch exclusively for Brown Thomas customers, which pays homage to the native Birch tree found across Ireland. A fresh green floral scent, it’s one of my favourites in the range, and is made with essential oils including cardamom, lavindin, patchouli, black pepper, lemon, mandarin, orange, and petigrain, with top notes of cassis, birch, and lavender.
Our ranges are all about celebrating the Irish countryside and our native scents with a modern, natural country look. In such a crowded market place, it’s very important for us to stay true to our roots and ethos.
I never need to look too far or too hard for inspiration, it’s all around us here at our beautiful
HQ in rural Co Down, whether it’s a bonfire smoking away, a field full of clover and daisies,
clothes drying on the line, or a wild garden full of old roses and brambles.
I love the Nordic/Scandinavian look, with its simplicity, minimalism, and functionality. Less is always more and I am constantly fighting against the tidal wave of clutter that comes with two children and a busy home.
I am not going to say my iPhone — although it does feel like it at times. Probably an antique diamond ring my Dad gave me before he died. It’s quite unusual with a gypsy setting and is very precious to me.
I love the Nordic aesthetic for everything from fashion to art and design. We holidayed in Copenhagen last year and I just loved admiring the architecture, the food culture, and the very stylish women on their bikes with skinny jeans and top knots.
Anything that involves creating scent and product is a dream project for me.
Stay true to what you like and only pursue a trend if you love it, not because the world is telling you to. Personally, I prefer to try and keep things simple and not too fussy.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved