I lost my dad and my job during Covid but now I have won business start up of the year

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A UCLan graduate who lost his dad and job during Covid which caused his mental health to spiral has won an award for business start up of the year.

Sam Elliott-Black - founder of Sam’s Naturally Handmade in Westhoughton, which sells eco-friendly essential oil candles, melts, and natural tea has been named as the Health & Wellbeing Start Up of the Year at the 2024 North West StartUp Awards. 

Sam Elliott-Black founder of Sam’s Naturally Handmade.Sam Elliott-Black founder of Sam’s Naturally Handmade.
Sam Elliott-Black founder of Sam’s Naturally Handmade. | UGC

Sam’s Naturally Handmade is a self-care brand offering mindful well-being experiences with their essential oil home fragrance and ethically grown loose leaf tea products. 

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The business was inspired by Sam’s own struggles with mental health.

He said: “During the pandemic I was made redundant from my sales job and lost my dad George to cancer.

Sam pictured with his dad George who he lost during the pandemic to cancer.Sam pictured with his dad George who he lost during the pandemic to cancer.
Sam pictured with his dad George who he lost during the pandemic to cancer. | UGC

“This left me battling severe anxiety and depression. But, after a course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), things started to get better, and I decided to create something positive from my experience.”

In therapy, Sam was taught a grounding technique focusing on the five senses, which inspired the concept of his multisensory brand.

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Each of Sam’s Naturally Handmade products are designed to be sensory self-care routines, by using essential oil aromatherapy, mood matching playlists, crackling wicks, delicious natural teas, and candles that turn into plants.

After launching in 2022, Sam’s Naturally Handmade can now be found at artisan markets, events, and select independent retailers across the North, as well as hosting pop up shops in John Lewis, and online.

He added: “To win North West Health and Well-being Start of the Year feels incredible!

“When I started this business, I couldn’t have imagined the amazing response I’d receive and that I’d be winning this just a year and half later.

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Join our new WhatsApp Community to get the latest news and top stories from across Lancashire directly to your phone. Sign up for our free newsletters now “I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved, so far, so to get recognition for all the hard work is the best feeling.”

The UK StartUp Awards were established to highlight the success of startups across 10 UK nations and regions, including the North West, and to celebrate the achievements of entrepreneurs in all sectors of the economy.  As a regional winner in their category, Sam’s Naturally Handmade will now progress to the UK Startup Awards final being held at Ideas Fest on September 12th, dubbed ‘the Glastonbury for Entrepreneurs’. To view Sam’s Handmade click HERE.

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