War veteran and beauty therapist turn candle making side hustle into £15million business

Cheryl and Duncan Maclean, the founders of Candle Shack

Cheryl and Duncan Maclean, the founders of Candle Shack

Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell

Published: 22/01/2024

- 12:57

The couple started their candle making business in their spare time

A husband and wife have turned their candle making side hustle into a business enterprise which is set to turnover £15million this year.

Duncan and Cheryl Maclean from Falkirk, Scotland founded Candle Shack in 2010 after leaving their careers in the army and beauty therapy, respectively.

The business assists aspiring candle entrepreneurs with education, technology and materials, and has accumulated 10,000 customers ranging from side hustlers to major international brands, such as Paul Smith.

Originally based near London during Duncan’s two decade-long career in the forces, Cheryl started a candle making business in her spare time while her husband was on operational tours in Bosnia and Iraq.

Cheryl and Duncan Maclean, the founders of Candle Shack 2

The pair are expected to exceed a £15million turnover this year


With Duncan wanting a career change and the side hustle taking off, the couple decided to take the business to the next level while stopping off at a service station on the M4.

He explained: “I’d reached an age and stage where I was looking to leave the forces, and came up with the concept for what would become Candle Shack while studying for an MBA.

“While her salon was doing well, Cheryl’s candle business was really catching fire, so we had to decide whether or not to press the button.

“It certainly wasn't the most glamorous of locations for launching a lifestyle brand, but that service station is where we decided to go ‘all in’ and Candle Shack was born.”

Turnover for the business is expected to exceed £15billion in 2024 with sights set on £50million within six years.

In the immediate future, the pair want to double their existing customer base of 9,600 within the next three years or so.

Candle Shack saw its sales explode particularly during and immediately following the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Much of this growth came from sales in mainland Europe, which Cheryl and Duncan want to continue to pursue.

A candle

Sales for the candle making business skyrocketed during the pandemic


Mrs Maclean said: “By 2030, we believe Candle Shack will achieve more than £50million in revenue, predominantly from European operations.

“We are focused on growing our core customers, serious crafters who are running a business, and there is massive appetite for that on the continent.

“Germany has shown us what’s possible in Europe. It’s been a runaway success, growing by 400 per cent in the last year.

“We’re a mature company going into an emerging market and we will roll out a bespoke strategy country-by-country – we’ve quickly learned that Europe isn’t a single nation. It’s an exciting prospect.”

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