Skip to main content
 
 
 

Sacrifice to success, The Salt Shack’s story

Sacrifice to success, The Salt Shack’s story
Click to enlarge
Sacrifice to success, The Salt Shack’s story
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

Milton Keynes entrepreneur Danielle Beale is enjoying meteoric success selling natural minerals but her journey into the world of business has been forged out of a deeply personal sacrifice. The story of The Salt Shack is one of adversity turned into accomplishment, a business built not just in spite of personal woes, but because of them.

The beginnings

Four years ago, the 30-year-old mum-of-two and her partner Luke were broke and living off donations from a crowdfunding platform. The couple had quit their jobs to look after their acutely sick son who suffered from a rare respiratory disease.

Following a recommendation from a friend, the couple bought a salt lamp and discovered that its natural dehumidifying properties could ease Tristan’s breathing problems. Soon, friends were clamouring to get hold of the lamps and because Dannielle had trouble sourcing them in the UK, she decided to import them from Pakistan. Thus, The Salt Shack business was born.

Crystallised during crisis

Initially running the business online from their home in Bradville, Dannielle slowly diversified into other natural minerals, crystals and semi-precious stones, roping in Luke, a former personal trainer, for support. It led to the opening of the couple’s first retail outlet in MK’s Intu shopping centre – until the Covid-19 pandemic forced its closure.

Pivoting the business online once again, the pair focused on developing engaging, authentic content on FB to a beleaguered audience shackled by lockdown. Luke’s honest, heart-warming and witty posts about the couple’s humble beginnings and personal family struggles combined with lengthy essays about the history, science, folklore and geology of different minerals and enthusiastic, banter-fuelled FB Live videos proved to be a winning strategy.

Their FB followers exploded from 3,000 to 70,000 in just one year, said Dannielle: “Because we focused on the educational side of the minerals, people felt like they were learning something. We avoided sales posts.”

The space to grow

In May, the couple opened a new 400sq ft showroom at Milton Keynes Business Centre where they sell jewellery and rare collectors’ pieces to carvings, crystal geodes, even fossils and of course, the salutary salt lamps.

“It’s a lovely centre, everyone is so welcoming, and we wanted to separate work from home life,” said Dannielle.

With ethically mined minerals from every corner of the globe, the pair now claim to run the largest mineral ecommerce site in the country, with an annual, seven-figure turnover. Customers range from young children looking to buy pretty crystals with their pocket money to wily investors from around the world. “A tiny crystal can cost £300 upwards, but some people can sell it for £50,000 depending on its structure and whether it’s been treated,” explained Dannielle.

A crystal-clear future vision

With ambitions to resurrect mini archaeology digs for children, develop crystal educational courses, and open a fossil showroom, the future looks exceedingly bright for Dannielle and Luke, who were shortlisted as finalists in the SME MK & Buckinghamshire Business Awards.  

Although the path to entrepreneurship has been rocky, the reversal in their fortunes has imbued Dannielle with newfound self-confidence and a keen sense of philanthropy. “Before, we had to live off a GoFundMe page. Now, we don’t have to worry about money, so we like to give back. If we can help someone personally, a small change can make a big difference,” she said.

We’re very impressed with how our client has been able to overcome challenging hurdles, we look forward to supporting their growth in the next year and beyond!

To find out how Capital Space could benefit your growing business,
call 0800 107 4667 or email info@capitalspace.co.uk