3 things that inspired me to start a social enterprise

AGNI is a social enterprise that aims to bridge the gap between two social issues, unemployment and mental health. These are the 3 things that inspired me to start AGNI:

1. My husband.

Our story starts in 2017, my husband Matt’s career as a professional cyclist came to an end suddenly. This is all he had known for 10 years of his life. The sudden shift in identity caused him to experience severe depression for the best part of a year.

Luckily he had just taken up pottery as a hobby and this creative outlet was fundamental in his recovery. This art form transformed him as a person and eventually enabled him to make an income himself through his business Little Torch Ceramics.

Matt worked hard and relentlessly persued pottery to turn it into a career. Not only was it inspiring to watch him grow, develop, learn and achieve his dreams. It also taught me the power of a creative outlet in helping people experiencing mental health issues to make an income.

Matt Cronshaw finalist of the great pottery throw down 2020 and owner of Little Torch Ceramics in Manchester

2. My own personal experience.

I started making candles in 2017 as a hobby, to fill ceramic pots that my husband Matt would have otherwise thrown away.

As someone that has experienced generalised anxiety for as long as I can remember, candle making was perfect for me. It was enough activity to settle my mind and having a tangible product at the end of the process was very satisfying and began to boost my self esteem.

I continued to make candles as a hobby for a few years. Family and friends started to ask about the candles and we eventually started selling them to the public at our first market in May 2019.

3. My friends and family.

Needless to say none of this would have been possible without the relentless support of our family and friends. They have experienced the ups and downs with us along the way and have always been there; to cheer us on, for advice, a shoulder to cry on, volunteering and attending our yoga workshops and candle making events.

For this we are truely grateful, you inspire us to pursue our dreams and non of this would have been possible without you.

Thank you ❤️