Burning Bright in the Forbes 30 under 30: Ailis Topley (2014)

— 30.05.22

by Jody Dalton

Starting out as a hobby of candle making gifts for family and friends, Ailis Topley BA in Business Management (2014) is named on the Forbes 30 under 30 list of Europe's top young entrepreneurs for 2022, for her candle business, Pott.

It was by taking a sustainable approach to business that a real opportunity for growth made itself clear to Ailis during the COVID-19 pandemic. Potts Candles, then based in Derby, took the initiative and began offering a refill service for candle jars and pots all over the UK. It was this timely decision and a quality product that led to a rapid increase in sales in 2021.

Now, Pott is on track to turnover £1m in 2022, in just their second year of business. On being mentioned in Forbes, Ailis said:

"I started candle making during the pandemic as a form of escapism (my version of banana bread!). I grew frustrated at the number of empty candle jars I had lying around and wondered why refillable candle jars were not more prominent. I decided to pursue my hobby and see where it would take me.

Since launching Pott the main focus has been on a sustainable refill model, handmade products and supporting local artisans."

“It’s incredible for Forbes to recognise a business like Pott in their list, and shows the importance of and growing trend towards handmade, local and sustainable products”

Ailis Topley, BA Business Management (2014), Founder, Pott

We asked Ailis to share her 'Three Top Tips' for small businesses today:

  1. It’s a cliche, but don’t let perfection get in the way of progress.
  2. Keep things fresh and exciting, always giving your customers a reason to come back.
  3. Have a really clear USP. What are you offering that is different to everyone else? This is particularly key in a saturated market (like the candle market) where there is already so much competition.

Now based in London, Ailis has plans to launch other products later this year. We wish Ailis every success in the future and we’re excited to see what’s next for Pott!

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