Lockdown success stories: Gloriously Good header image

"Throughout school and university, I was told that the best path was the corporate world. That you should climb the ladder. And I started to do that after university, I spent eight years in the corporate world. But I wasn’t happy or fulfilled," says Florinela Cooke (featured above), founder of wellbeing and candle company Gloriously Good. "I had my own ideas - I wanted to pursue my own interests and start a business."

Florinela launched her wellbeing blog, Gloriously Good, in 2016. "I wrote about what brightened my day if I’d had a bad time at work or was feeling down," she says. "Through blogging, I discovered the thing I am truly passionate about: providing people with natural aromatherapy products that make their time spent at home more enjoyable." Aromatherapy is the practice of using scent to help boost wellbeing.

In 2020, during the first national lockdown, Florinela and her husband Jason began to transform Gloriously Good from a blog into a business selling products. The couple make and sell natural aromatherapy candles, wax melts, body scrubs and pulse-point roll-on oils. They use Starling to manage their business finance.

"The extra time we had available during lockdown, at least two hours a day from not having to commute, gave us the opportunity to do all the research and background work necessary to launch our business," she says.

The mover, the shaker, and the candle maker

Florinela, 32, moved on from her corporate marketing role to focus on the business full-time at the end of 2020. Jason, 32, works as a software engineer and spends evenings and weekends helping make and package products.

"We put our love into every candle, wax melt, body scrub and roll-on oil we make. Everything is handmade and we only use natural ingredients," says Florinela, a self-taught candle maker.

"The lavender we use is grown at high altitude in the foothills of the Alps and is more fragrant than normal lavender. Ylang ylang is a flower that grows in countries near the Indian Ocean and is also very aromatic. The two flowers combined make a very grounding, very relaxing scent which forms the basis of our Spa collection. Whereas the peppermint and eucalyptus scents, which are at the heart of our Revive collection, are more energising and restorative," she says.

Handmade aromatherapy products
Gloriously Good sells handmade aromatherapy products

"We’ve received such amazing feedback from people who’ve said that, since the first lockdown, they’ve turned to aromatherapy to improve their sense of wellness whilst being quarantined at home."

Advice for bloggers and business owners

For anyone looking to start a blog, Florinela’s advice is to persevere and let your passion shine through. "That’s when you’ll get the most engagement from your audience," she says.

Audience engagement continues to be a key focus for her. "When you’re developing a product, you can get so caught up in making and testing, that you can get sidetracked from planning how you’re going to tell people about it. Product development and marketing need to run in tandem."

Gloriously Good reaches its audience through social media, influencers, PR, paid search, partnerships with other brands and blog posts. Florinela also has a podcast, which explores various wellbeing practices, such as yoga, skincare and art therapy.

A bank for everyone

Florinela first heard about Starling in 2019 when she went to an event run by Red Magazine. "Starling had a stand there and I picked up a copy of Anne Boden’s book about money management," she says.

When it came to choosing a business bank, she looked into Starling in more detail and decided to apply for an account. "It’s so simple to set up and use. There are no branches, no paperwork - we were really impressed by how seamless the process was," she says. "We use the app all the time."

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