Beauty & Wellbeing


Delectable home fragrances made from natural ingredients

The story of Nostara luxury home fragrance begins in 2017 in the heart of Somerset, with two friends looking for a new challenge. With previous careers in teaching and law, co-founders, Nikki Holt and Alex Bowring, had enjoyed many happy years as stay-at-home mums. Though they had different styles and ideas, they had a shared love of beautiful things so together they decided to create a luxury home fragrance brand. The name, Nostara, was derived from Ostara, the Goddess of Spring, symbolising new beginnings: the perfect metaphor for their new venture.


Nikki and Alex’s goal was to create a range of natural soy wax candles and soy-based reed diffusers that look beautiful and smell amazing – the sort of products they wanted to buy for their own homes. To this end, all of their essential oils are ethically and sustainably sourced, and with candles hand poured in the South West, the brand has a strong focus on local sourcing.

Being fragrance-led with ethical sourcing is a priority for the duo

There’s no doubt that Nostara was entering a crowded market, with candle sales currently rising faster than any other section of the British fragrance market. The challenges posed by selling fragrance online, particularly for an unknown startup, were not lost on them either. Their response has been to engage personally with their customers, with Nikki and Alex spending most of last year at top country and lifestyle events introducing the brand. It was an exhausting schedule but the customer-centric approach has proved highly successful: the pair have made genuine connections with customers, who, in turn, have welcomed the opportunity to meet such passionate and proud business founders.

The fledgling brand celebrated its second birthday last year with a launch party for its fabulous new fragrance, Leather & Vetiver. Nikki says, ‘Customers often asked us when we were going to do a more “manly” fragrance. Suggestions included coffee, gunpowder, beer and even petrol! We felt that many of our existing fragrances already had a diverse appeal but we took up the challenge and worked with our perfumer to design Leather & Vetiver, which has rich, dark undertones.’

Leather & Vetiver joined six other Nostara fragrances, ranging from Lime & Juniper and Bergamot & Black Tea to Ebony Rose & Burnished Amber. Nikki and Alex are currently developing new fragrances and formats to add to their carefully curated collection.

Even as a young and growing brand, giving back has been very important. From its inception, the company has supported the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and is proud to have donated thousands to this cause. It has also contributed to many more charities by working closely with the Charity Fairs Association, which donated around £1.5 m in 2019.

Nikki and Alex are optimistic about the growth of the brand – both in terms of their ability to create new lines that are timeless but still of the moment, and in their focus on building their digital presence on all social platforms to drive public awareness of their highly desirable collection.