Urban Apothecary

Profiles: Urban Apothecary London

Tajinder Banwait, Urban Apothecary LondonHomegirl London pays homage to Urban Apothecary London.  Armed with ten years of beauty industry experience, Tajinder Banwait started Urban Apothecary London in January 2012 from her kitchen table.  Her business is a modern take on a traditional apothecary store which gives her endless scope for producing a wide range of lovely products.  She currently makes luxe lifestyle pieces including candles, diffusers, soft furnishings and greeting cards.  Paying great attention to detail, everything is carefully thought through to ensure the end result provides everyday indulgence and enjoyment.  Her products are pristinely presented so are ready to give as a gift or enjoy as a self-treat.  I caught with Tajinder to find out more …

Q: Tell me about your design background.

A: I’ve been fortunate to work for some luxurious brands in perfumery, bath and body and leather goods, which has provided me with great experience for developing Urban Apothecary.  I listen to our buyers and customers and create a product with that in mind.

Q: Why set up your business?

A: I come from a family of entrepreneurs so for me it felt like natural progression.  I have never thought that I would do anything else but run my own business one day.


Urban Apothecary London, Mint Crème Luxury Candle

Q: Why call the company Urban Apothecary?

A: I love all things vintage and apothecaries were traditionally stores where you could purchase everything and anything from products to treat ailments to household potions and goods.  Urban Apothecary is just that – it’s a modern take on an apothecary, with endless possibilities in terms of products.

Urban Apothecary London, White Tea Luxury Candle

Urban Apothecary London, White Tea Luxury Candle

Q: Where are you based and why?

A: Our office and warehouse is based in Leicestershire which is where I grew up. We’re surrounded by the countryside but it is easily accessible for my regular commute to London.

Q: How many people work at your company?

A: There are currently three of us and I outsource PR and some elements of design but really see them as an extension of our business rather than external businesses.

Q: Describe your design style.

A: Contemporary with some traditional elements.

Q: Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?

A: I get creative inspiration from my childhood memories, buildings, colours and favourite foods.  Our cushion collection was inspired by the beautiful railings found in different parts of London, whilst our Candy Candle Collection was inspired by my patisserie treats.

Q: Tell me about your collections.

A: In candles we have our Signature Candle Collection, which consists of beautiful floral and fruit fragrances.  As I mentioned, our Candy Candle Collection is based on patisserie treats.  Our newest collection, the Tea Cup Candle Collection, is a modern twist on the taking of afternoon tea.

Urban Apothecary London, Pomegranate Luxury Candle

Urban Apothecary London, Pomegranate Luxury Candle

Urban Apothecary London, Chai Tea Masala Luxury Candle

Urban Apothecary London, Chai Tea Masala Luxury Candle

All our candles come in beautiful re-useable glass jars and cups that you won’t want to throw away once the wax has gone.  You can use them for trinket jars or drinking out of in the case of the glass tea cup and saucer.

In our textile collection, we have both modern and traditional prints on cushions, inspired by the wrought iron railings found in different parts of London.

Urban Apothecary London, Berkeley Cushions

Urban Apothecary London, Berkeley Cushions

Urban Apothecary London, Ladbroke Cushions

Urban Apothecary London, Ladbroke Cushions

Our newest collection is the calligraphy greeting cards range, which I created after I couldn’t find a nice calligraphy greeting card in the UK.  Calligraphy on cards and fabrics is a big trend in the USA and has yet to filter over into the UK so hopefully over the next 6 – 12 months you will start to see more of this … but we have done it first!

Urban Apothecary London, Calligraphy Greeting Cards

Urban Apothecary London, Calligraphy Greeting Cards

Q: What’s your fascination with decorative glass?

A: My fascination with decorative glass gives Urban Apothecary a unique edge.  I wanted to create products that you would instantly fall in love with and cherish and our glass candles manage to capture that. The fragrances themselves are sophisticated blends, which have been created at my kitchen table so I’m really involved with the design process from start to finish.

Urban Apothecary London, Luxury Candles

Urban Apothecary London, Luxury Candles

Q: Which creative person / company do you admire and why?

A: I really admire those companies that have started a business through a need – such as not being able to find something in the shops – and have gone from a small cottage industry to a major brand over several years.

Q: What’s the best thing about owning your own business?

A: The absolute best thing is being able to work around bringing up my two babies – aged three and one and a half!

Q: What one piece of advice would you pass on to someone wanting to set up their own business?

A: Experience in the sector you want to start your own business is always a great help but if that’s not possible then have a sturdy business plan!

Q: What’s new and exciting things have you got planned?

A: More candle collections for 2014 and some exciting home wares.

Product prices; Candles £25-£40, Diffusers £38, Cushions, £55, Greeting Cards £2.50.  For more information visit the website Urban Apothecary London.  Credits: text by Homegirl London, images courtesy of Urban Apothecary, special thanks to Tajinder Banwait and Sophia Cottier.