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Fragrance formed in the outback

FRESH START: Shona Larkin created her candle business Simply Little from an outback cattle property.
FRESH START: Shona Larkin created her candle business Simply Little from an outback cattle property. Karen Bowey - Red Sky

IN HER home she is surrounded by sweetly scented candles, but Shona Larkin's favourite aroma will always be the smell of rain.

"Ever since I was a child I have always remembered it as such a beautiful smell,” she said.

"Especially in the outback, it has that real clean smell about it.”

The special scent of rain was missed by Shona, as her family's central Queensland cattle property was drought-stricken for four years.

However, the mother of three filled her home with other fragrances when she launched her online candle business, Simply Little.

In the past 18 months, her humble soy candle trade has grown in support, and now her handmade goods are sent all around the country.

The Rural Weekly caught up with the mum, grazier, teacher, and now candlestick maker, to find out how she formed an online boutique from the outback.

"It all started at Christmas time one year, when we were trying to save costs,” she said.

"We decided that everything we were going to be giving had to be handmade.

"So I started with a starter kit and was making candles to give to people as gifts.

"After that I had some people asking if they could have some more, or buy some more, so it just grew from there.”

Starting an online business from the bush has come with a few challenges, but Shona wouldn't have it any other way.

She absolutely loves where she lives.

Kentle Downs, situated about 90km south of Hughenden, is home to her husband Steven and kids Hunter, 5, Torah, 3, and Will, 2.

Hunter Larkin, 5, helps out with the mustering on Kentle Downs in central Queensland. He loves riding his motorbike and working alongside his family.
Hunter Larkin, 5, helps out with the mustering on Kentle Downs in central Queensland. He loves riding his motorbike and working alongside his family. Contributed

Running the property is a team effort, and from time to time Shona does relief work at local small school Cameron Downs.

"We just love the lifestyle,” she said.

"And our kids are real bush kids. They just love being in the yards and on the motorbikes - it's just bred into them I suppose.”

The property is now in the process of slowly restocking after receiving good winter falls this year.

The biggest hurdle her isolation creates with Simply Little is the high cost of postage.

"All my suppliers are down in New South Wales or over in Perth,” she said.

"The postage to get my supplies here is through the roof.”

Shona has a "candle room” in her house used to store her stock, and launched her website earlier this month.

All the candles are made in her kitchen, normally after the kids are put to bed.

"I have a supplier who has a range of fragrance oils you can buy,” she said.

"With the research I have done, I find a base note then mix in top notes to go with it.”

Lime, basil and mandarin as well as nectarine and mint are just some of the fragrances she has created with her candles.

Shona said her creativity came from her mum, Terry Lindsay, who lives on the neighbouring property to Kentle Downs.

"She is amazing,” Shona said.

"She is definitely a very creative person and passed on the creative gene to me.

"She will give anything a go herself, whether it's painting, restoring furniture or interior design - she just has that real creative eye.”

Having a routine and working when the kids were sleeping were Shona's top tips for busy rural mums.

For more information about Simply Little, search "Simply Little” on Facebook or visit the business website at www.simplylittle.com.au.

Topics:  candle cattle station outback australia rural woman


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