As the author of this blog this feels a little strange to be here writing about myself for this months Meet Our Makers. But here goes...
Hello, I'm Sharon Lomas founder of FERN+FELL and part of the team at Hesta Scene. If you visit the Caldbeck shop on Wednesdays or Thursdays you will find me working behind the shop counter.
I’ve always been artistic and creative but some bad advice from school careers advisors saw me taking an academic course at University rather than following my heart. Instead of studying Fine Art or Interior Design, I was persuaded that studying Politics & English would give me a better education and lead to a more fruitful career. It didn't. Whilst I enjoyed my degree I have spent the best part of the last 3 decades trying to fill my life with creative pursuits to make up for not taking a creative path.
After seventeen years working in advertising & publishing, I quit my job in 2013 to pursue being creative full time. I had been making candles for about three years at this point. It all started as a side hustle in 2010. I started a vintage events business at weekends providing afternoon tea parties for wedding and hen parties in and around Manchester. I had plenty of spare vintage china so I made candles in teacups and glassware to sell at vintage markets between events. I loved making candles right from the start, it's such a relaxing activity that creates a desirable end product which everyone loves.
I spent a couple of years selling candles at markets and developing the Lomas & Lomas range of fabric designs, taught myself to sew and make lampshades. The feedback at markets was good and sales were consistent, so in 2015 I opened a gallery & interiors shop called Lomas & Lomas in the Peak District with my husband Garry, who is a photographer. I moved away from the vintage look and branded my candles under the shop name. They became our biggest sellers.
But after five years of working very long hours and non-stop shop life, we were both exhausted and my health suffered. On a holiday to the Lakes in 2019 we decided that we wouldn't renew our lease that was due to expire in 2020. Instead we would close the bricks and mortar shop, sell from our online store and move to Cumbria. We closed the shop on March 14th, moved on 17th and the following week the country went into full lockdown.
During that first lockdown I had the time to really think about what to do next. Before leaving the Peak District I had attended a course on how to make your business greener. It made me question every element of my business and as a result I made the decision to stop using soy wax and fragrance oils. You can read more about my decision HERE .
I had been testing my own blends of essential oil fragrances for a couple of years but the results were inconsistent. Lockdown gave me plenty of time to perfect my scents. I have designed my range to be 100% natural, and to offer something more than just another nice scented candle/diffuser. I wanted to produce home fragrances which would harness the holistic, aromatherapy benefits of essential oils and connect to nature through our sense of smell.
As so much about my candles was changing I decided to give the brand a new name, one inspired by our new Lake District life. Ferns are one of my favourite plants and the Fells give me a feeling of both freedom and protection, so FERN+ FELL was born.
I truly believe there is something very special about candlelight that feeds the soul. The soft illumination helps to calm and relax us and when mixed with an evocative fragrance it's a powerful combination for the senses.
I have always felt inspired by nature and when I reflect, nature has always been at the heart of all my creative projects. As a child I would spend hours painting flowers, my A-Level art show was filled with paintings of gardens, woodlands and hedgerows. Lomas & Lomas designs are all inspired by shapes found in nature and the colours of the landscape, while my interior design business, A Story of Home, seeks to connect spaces to nature through design, and to support health & wellbeing.
Since launch I have expanded my range of fragrance blends, added wax melts, a subscription candle club and my most recent launch has been reed diffusers. It took a long time to find the right glassware for the diffusers - issues with supply has been an ongoing challenge during the last couple of years. I also wanted to avoid any plastic in any part of the packaging, which was much harder than you might expect
I am always trying new fragrance combinations and testing blends. I have two new fragrances planned for the main collection along with a new collection inspired by the scents of the Lake District.
You can find my rage of candles & diffusers here at Hesta Scene and can follow me on Instagram HERE