New factory in the Outer Hebrides for luxury candle business

Essence of Harris, which is now in new premises, started as a family business with candle pouring at the kitchen table
Essence of Harris, which is now in new premises, started as a family business with candle pouring at the kitchen table

A Highland business which specialises in the production of luxury candles has moved into a newly renovated factory in the Outer Hebrides.

The Essence of Harris has upsized its production as the company celebrates its third year in business in the UK.

The firm hopes the move will allow it to start exporting its goods to America.

Owner, Jamie McGowan, said: “The international market is huge. Based on our website sales, we know there’s a market in the USA that share a love for our candles and Scotland as an ancestry link and destination for travel.”

The new candle factory is located in a building just outside the village of Tarbert, which had been lying unused and empty for more than three years.

When the former business in the building shut down, around 25 jobs were lost, having a significant impact on the local community.

The Essence of Harris, which now employs 14 people, has doubled its production since moving into the new premises. They claim the revival of the building has also sparked conversation on the island and a number of new jobs.

As a family business, the firm started with candle pouring at the kitchen table.

Mr McGowan’s wife Deenie added: “With an uplift in production, we’re in a position where we need to increase our team and we’re looking to offer these opportunities to our local community on the Isle of Harris. It’s wonderful to be able to provide people with a reason to stay on the island and also be involved in an innovative and fresh business.”

Councillor John Graham Mitchell visited the premises before it started production.

He said: “I was impressed by the entrepreneurial energy and commitment of Jamie MacGowan who has taken the concept of producing high-quality candles locally in the Isle of Harris to a new and exciting level with Essence of Harris which is now exporting to all corners of the world. With new premises and a supportive and committed workforce, Jamie will surely succeed in turning his dream into a reality.”

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