Owner of Manarlee Sarah Watson said the Christmas period was always an important time of the year for small business owners. Picture: Laura Thomas
Owner of Manarlee Sarah Watson said the Christmas period was always an important time of the year for small business owners. Picture: Laura Thomas

Why shopping local scents makes perfect sense

THE distinct sweet smell of gingerbread unearths memories of wrapping paper strewn across the living room and a post-lunch nap courtesy of having eyes bigger than your stomach.

This is among one of the many memories captured by Sarah Watson through her handmade range of sensory sweeteners.

“It creates an atmosphere,” she said.

“You light your candle and it’s just really nice to have one burning.”

Ms Watson launched her bath and body brand seven and a half years ago, but only took on the new name Manarlee last year.

Manarlee is a combination of her four children’s names; Maddison, Ryan, Darcy and Karlee, who she said often joined her in the studio to make their own creations.

Manarlee stocks a range of Christmas gifts, including a candle capturing the festive season in the Whitsundays. Picture: Laura Thomas
Manarlee stocks a range of Christmas gifts, including a candle capturing the festive season in the Whitsundays. Picture: Laura Thomas

As a Mum of four kids under 10, Ms Watson’s safe haven sits surrounded by a vast range of smells and colours, but there was a simple reason behind why she started the business.

“The house needed to smell nice all the time,” she said.

Beyond being nice on the nose, Ms Watson said she also loved being able to work from home and spend time with her children while helping to bring something special into people’s homes.

The candles are hand-poured with wooden wicks and come in a range of sizes, smells and shapes.

Manarlee also stocks a range of soaps, body washes and bath bombs along with a home fragrance range.

Sarah Watson makes a range of bath, body and home products through her business Manarlee. Picture: Laura Thomas
Sarah Watson makes a range of bath, body and home products through her business Manarlee. Picture: Laura Thomas

One of Ms Watson’s personal favourites is a 1.4L fishbowl candle with a burn time of 150 hours.

There are even some candles for adults’ eyes only, labelled the ‘cuss range’, which Ms Watson said were among some of her most popular.

In what has been a tough year for small businesses, Ms Watson said her candle range took off as people turned to self-care.

“People couldn’t go shopping and people were still working, so if you can’t go out shopping you’re going to shop online,” she said.

“It was the best thing for my business, it went insane.”

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However, she said business was beginning to taper off now because of postage times and encouraged locals to get behind her if they were looking for a nice smelling stocking stuffer.

From soaps to candles, Ms Watson still gets a spark of joy every time someone purchases one of her products.

“They’re putting faith in my product,” she said.

“They trust that my brand is what they want in their home and that really makes you feel good.”

Residents can view the full range of goods available from Manarlee, including the Christmas range, by visiting the website here.


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