Essence of Harris co-founder, Jamie McGowan, on his day in Tarbert and Glasgow

Co-founder Jamie McGowan tells Gaby Soutar about running Scottish candle and home fragrance company Essence of Harris.


“The alarm goes off and I’m out of bed – no ‘snoozing’ for me. I take the opportunity to meditate for 20 minutes before following with stretches or exercise. I’ve always been an early riser and in my younger years, I used to run before the sun was up. It’s the time I take for myself in the morning that preps me for the busy work day ahead. I shower, dress and I’m out the door by 4.50am.”5am

“I’m at our Tarbert office on Harris. I check emails from the day before and plan the structure of the day and week ahead. If it’s a Harris day, I’ll continue some desktop work for my other businesses: a local deli, construction and facilities company and a brewery. When usual work hours start, I pop in to catch-up with the teams, hear news and chat through any updates. The Essence of Harris office adjoins our flagship shop as well as our factory where our luxury products are hand-poured and packaged by our local team. Today though, is a travelling one, so I’m out and on the road after checking in.6am

Jamie of Essence of HarrisJamie of Essence of Harris
Jamie of Essence of Harris
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The drive is quiet and the scenery beautiful (provided the weather is playing ball). I often find this is a time I come to natural decisions about business questions or plans that have been in my mind. It’s a good thinking hour as distractions are minimal.7am

I have a quick bite and a coffee in the airport and I’m on the morning flight to Glasgow. I spend the flight listening to podcasts. Right now it’s Steven Bartlett’s The Diary of a CEO.9.30am

I’m collected on arrival and we’re off to our Glasgow store in Princes Square. I catch up on any news with the team and how we’re trading.


From mid-morning I’m in coffee meetings with influencers and business connections. I like being able to offer advice and help others in any way I can. You never know who may be able to support you in the future. It’s all about maintaining genuine relationships and enriching each other’s personal and business life.


My lunch meeting today is at The Ivy with travel and lifestyle influencer Rona McMillan.2pm

After lunch I’m back to store to help set up for an influencer shopping event. If I’m staying overnight in Glasgow, I’d take the team and our ambassadors for dinner to The Spanish Butcher. Today, it’s a flying visit and I have a few more meetings, one with a journalist and another about next week’s trade show in New York. After that I’m looking through photography of our newest collection to sign off.


I head back to the airport to catch the 6.05pm flight back to Harris. Then I’m back on the road, heading home.8pm

I’m back in time for a family walk with my wife and son along our favourite beach, Huisinis. In summer, the sunset is breathtaking and we might even brave a sea swim. Tonight, it’s moonlit and a bit chilly, so we’re back fairly sharp and I have dinner before heading for an early night ahead of an early start again tomorrow. The 4.15am alarm is set.



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