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Chantell Keane and Danielle Kenneally from Ennis used their time on lockdown to start their own business.

Sweet smell of success for childhood friends

TWO enterprising Ennis ladies put the long weeks of the lockdown to good use when they learned news skills and started their own business.

Danielle Kenneally and Chantell Keane, who are long-time friends, and hail from Waterpark Heights and Hermitage respectively, both have day jobs that they love, but recently found that a shared passion for candle-making has inspired them to work towards building their own business.

“We go back a long way,” said Chantell. “We spend a lot of time together and during lockdown, we decided that we would do some online training. We were interested in scented candles because we both love them and saw a gap in the market in terms of providing a great customer service.”

The girls were soon putting their training and creativity to good use with the production of a special line of wax melts. “A wax melt is basically a wickless candle,” Danielle explained. “They’re fragranced and you melt them by putting them into the well of an oil burner. A lot of people might not have come across these before and we’re getting a lot of interest in them.”

Developing a range of products has involved a lot of research, enlisting the advice and support of family and friends. “We test the products on ourselves,” said Chantell. “Everything we use and source is cruelty-free, and packaging is recyclable in so far as possible, that’s very important to us. We try out different scents, but we don’t always agree! Sent is a very individual thing. Lots of people love our Thai Lime and Mango scent, that’s really popular. What did surprise us, too, was the level of interest in scents for men.”

After a lot of practice, the company Wix and Wax was born. To-date, sales are done online (wixandwaxireland.com), with social media providing an invaluable shop window. “We are fairly handy on Instagram,” Danielle explained. “We built a website ourselves and then we started to get bloggers on board by sending them samples. What was amazing for us was when CJ Stander’s wife Jean-Marie posted to say that she loved what we were doing. That was a huge honour.”

At the moment, the girls work from Danielle’s home and are about to undertake further training with support from Clare’s Local Enterprise Office (LEO). “We’re really excited about branching out a bit,” said Danielle. “We have had businesses, locally, get in touch with us about stocking our products, so that’s amazing.”

Right now, once the day jobs are done, Danielle and Chantell are working 5pm to 1am to make their business dreams a reality. “We love what we are doing,” Chantell said. “The goal would be to go full time at some stage.”

About Fiona McGarry

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Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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