Written by Sarah Deacon
I’m Sarah, a 40 year old Covid entrepreneur, mum of 2 who after 10 years of teaching re-evaluated her life. Having fallen out of love with the job which had killed my passion and creativity I was left overwhelmed, feeling suffocated stressed and miserable. Deciding to change everything I looked for inspiration on how to reignite my passion and found it in a Bay Tree in my garden.
I set up my own business, The Bay Tree, and now sell high-quality hand-crafted gifts made with care and love. Only now, at the age of 40 have I found my dream job and can say for the first time really that I am truly happy with my career. But how did I get here, and why did it take me so long?
Finding Myself In Creativity
Even from an early age I’ve always been one of life’s people pleasers. I constantly looked for acceptance and reassurance from others and often put other’s needs, opinions and wants before my own.
Growing up this resulted in quite a bit of bullying as I tirelessly tried to fit in with all groups but succeeded with few. Even teaching was a career I entered as I was surrounded by others in the profession who regularly told me that I would make a good teacher. I never had dreams of becoming a teacher or any other career really, I just knew I was creative, imaginative and probably had the same mental age as some of the children.
I was also always very hands on. Learning how to do things by trial and error or by watching someone rather than reading it in a book. I even learnt how to play the piano as a child, not by reading music but by watching how my teacher played and copying her movements.
That’s what first really attracted me to teaching. The creativity of the job and especially teaching in Early Years, the ability to bring stories/topics to life in the environment. I really did enjoy my first few years of teaching; planning exciting lessons, creating resources and setting up classrooms that would inspire the children. However, as the years went by, the paperwork increased, targets for myself and the children increased and the enjoyment of the job slowly started to disappear and it became a job that I never felt fully confident in and often felt like I was back at school myself, comparing myself to others and feeling inferior.
In 2017, my husband Craig and I welcomed our first baby Isabelle into the world. I went back to work after just under a year but found it incredibly hard trying to juggle the demands of school life and family life. When our second baby Joshua was born in 2020, during the pandemic, I knew I didn’t want to return to my teaching job. Just the thought of it made me anxious and I no longer wanted that for myself or my family. For too long I’d been there in body with my family but not really present as my mind was always so consumed with work and what I needed to get done before Monday.
“After having my second child and being confined to home during lockdown, I started to assess my life and really think for once about what would make me happy.” I had known for a while that teaching was not right for me anymore and recognised that it was making me miserable, but I felt pigeonholed and didn’t know what else to do. I so desperately wanted to get back to my old laid back self that had gone missing a long time ago.
Changed By Lockdown
Sitting in my garden during lockdown, I often took solace staring at an incredible bay tree we have. Constantly searching for escape routes out of teaching – I was adamant “there must be something I can do with that bay tree – look at all those leaves!”, and so my creative business, The Bay Tree was formed.
I started off by making Christmas wreaths and garlands with the bay leaves, which I sold to family, friends and people in my village. After a busy Christmas working and making these on the side, I soon started to realise that this could be a possible business venture. I researched the benefits of bay, of which there are many, and also other ways that I could use bay. It definitely helped that I loved the smell of bay and also always surrounded myself with candles.
After much research the possibility that I could combine the two was beyond exciting and my Bay Tree original candles were formed; Bay & Orange, Bay & Lavender, Bay & Blackberry and Bay & Rose. I now continue to make these and a larger range of high quality beautifully scented soy wax candles and wax melts, alongside my seasonal wreaths. I still sell my products to the people in my village and have also opened up an Etsy shop (Bay Tree Creations), which has proven extremely popular.
What The Bay Tree Means To Me
“I am so much happier now, and truly understand the power of reflection. A candle can do so much; allow you to escape, be a sign of hope, give you time to reflect, bring back memories. And for me it was a lifeline and has changed my life.”
“My life has changed dramatically – for the better. I would encourage others to think outside the box as sometimes we pigeonhole ourselves into a job and think we cannot try anything different. Be brave and follow what you love, and the knock-on effects will follow…”
I can honestly say that this job is the first job that I truly love. Having the ability to work creatively every day and do something that makes me so happy is a real gift and something I will never take for granted. I hope that my story can inspire others to follow their passions and truly live their own lives, doing what makes them happy – “we only have one shot at life!”
I also understand that for many it is not always possible to quit your job or escape the realities of life, however in this manic world, I hope that my products can allow people a chance to slow down and have that moment of peace and quiet.
All of my products from The Bay Tree are made by hand and designed and made with love and care. I really want to spread this love, through people gifting my products to others or themselves, they can help with this and realise that there is always someone there looking out for them that loves them, or a reminder to just love yourself.
“If my candles or wax melts can allow someone a moment of calm in a chaotic day then I’ll have achieved my aim”
The Bay Tree’s Services
The Bay Tree produces hand crafted goods made with love.
High quality eco friendly soy wax candles – 30cl candles
Bay Tree Originals – all containing bay essential oil and decorated with twine. £13 incl p&p
Bay Tree Exclusives – a range of other fragrance oils and stylishly decorated with a sleek white label. £15 incl p&p
High quality eco friendly soy wax melts (range of 20 scents) – 75g net for a bag of 10 melts £7 including p&p
10 wax melts and a burner – £10
Hand poured soy tea light – packs of 6 (£4), 12 (£7) and 24 (£12)
Seasonal wreaths – majority of which contain bay leaves
Wicker circles – 3/4 coverage:
20cm – £13
25cm – £16.50
30cm – £20
Wicker circles – full coverage:
20cm – £15
25cm – £20
30cm – £25
Heart wreaths – white or grey – £15
The Bay Tree also offer a number of gift boxes:
3 candle gift box – £35
Candle, wax melts and burner – £25
Heart wreath, candle – £30
Heart wreath, candle, wax melts & burner – £40
Wax melts, burner and matches – £15
For more information see:
The Bay Tree
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