Into the Spotlight, sponsored by Huddersfield-based Scriba PR, is a weekly feature which highlights some great independent businesses. Here, we introduce Ceri Virtue, of Lepton-based Virtue Inspired, who left the corporate world after 20 years to set up her own business.

After a 20-year corporate career as an accountant, mum-of-two Ceri Virtue has taken the plunge into self-employment.

Ceri, 41, of Lepton, has launched her own business, Virtue Inspired, making and selling handmade and natural soy wax candles and reed diffusers.

Like many people Ceri and husband Ryan, 43, parents to eight-year-old Jacob and Rosie, aged six, re-assessed their lives during the pandemic.

Ceri decided she wanted to re-balance family life and her passion for scented candles made for the perfect business opportunity.

“Over the last couple of years we had a pause and a chance to rethink our lives and I’d always thought I could work for myself,” said Ceri.

“We thought about it for a while and we decided it was now or never so we just went for it.”

Ceri had got into making candles after receiving a voucher as a present and she handcrafted candles as gifts for family and friends.

She quit her job last November and threw herself into setting up a business and a website – and perfecting her product range, making literally hundreds of candles until she had the formula for success.

Ceri has two ranges – the Signature Collection and the Wellbeing Collection – and all are inspired by nature.

The Signature collection promotes self-care with scents such as geranium and sandalwood, thyme and bergamot and spiced orange. The Wellbeing aromatherapy candles, meanwhile, are made from the highest grade essential oils.

Sustainability and care for the planet is at the heart of what she does. The wax is plant-based, the wicks are cotton and even the packing tape used to send out the products is made from recycled materials.

“We are learning all the time but as a start-up we wanted to do things the right way from the very beginning,” said Ceri.

“Sustainability is vitally important and, as a parent, I want to do all I can to ensure the planet is around for future generations. We are promoting re-use, recycling and reducing our carbon footprint.”

Virtue Inspired only launched last week but orders have been coming in through friends, friends of friends and word-of-mouth recommendations.

Ceri is aiming to build her social media presence and is still finding her feet in business.

“It’s been a rollercoaster but it’s been really interesting and I’ve learned so much in a short space of time,” she said.

“To finally go live has been exciting, frightening and a relief – all rolled into one. I can’t wait to see where the journey takes me.”

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