Small Business Saturday: Sara Lappin of Lappin & May

Small Business Saturday: Sara Lappin of Lappin & May


Portstewart based fragrance brand Lappin & May is the newest edition to The Designerie product range after their launch in December 2021.

The small business, founded by Sara Lappin, takes great pride in blending, pouring and creating their own reed diffusers to delight customers.

" I chose to create diffusers first as I like the idea of my home smelling great all the time, rather than having to remember to light a candle and more importantly remembering to put it out!"



From a young child, Sara recalls her fascination with scented products and creating her own mismatched concoctions.

“My sister and I used to crush up rose petals with water and try to sell it to the neighbours as if it was perfume and that sort of thing.”

Having always been interested in tapping into her creativity, Sara made the decision to move from England to Northern Ireland to study Theatre Studies at the Ulster University in Coleraine. 

“I moved over here to study Theatre Studies in Coleraine so that’s where I saw my career path going, but unfortunately in my final year, I had an accident which resulted in me breaking my neck so I was, well am, semi paralysed from the neck down. I have limited mobility so it put an end to a career in theatre.” 

Since her accident, Sara has gone from strength-to-strength, now living in Portstewart with her husband and their 10-year-old son and working part-time as a marketing and sales coordinator for a vocational rehab centre.

When working on another project, Sara discovered the intriguing world of fragrance oils which sparked the idea that it was something she wanted to explore more and eventually work with. She was determined to address the gap in the fragrance market and offer her customers a high-quality product at an affordable price.  

“I realised that there were so many gorgeous smells and scent combinations that I really wanted to work with...I just wanted to create something that was no fuss, no-frills, no huge backstory, anything. Just really nice smells that make your house smell good. They perform well and aren’t ridiculously expensive. We hit the middle market with those.”

However, bringing her own product to the market wasn’t solely a business decision as Sara was also looking to create something nice for herself.

“I wanted something for me and I wanted something nice. We want some pleasure in our life. What’s nicer than having a home that smells wonderful, really?” 

After months of legislation and formula research, Lappin & May launched their initial six fragrances just before Christmas 2021.

“I think because I wanted everything to be perfect it took me much longer as I spent 18 months to get the first 6 fragrances spot on.

We got them into The Designerie a week before Christmas on the 18th of December, which ironically was the anniversary of my accident so I thought that was quite symbolic.”

Although smell can be very subjective, Sara believes that her range of six unique scents has a scent to match everyone’s taste. 

“I have three deeper, warmer fragrances and three lighter, fresher ones. I've gone with some more unusual combinations that really work and of course, great quality ingredients.”

Collaborating with the ‘treasure trove’ The Designerie has also provided Sara with much needed support during her first ever business venture.

“I love that they are so supportive and encouraging. They genuinely want me and my product to do well. As a customer there is always something new to see and such a great range of products. I love being able to meet the artists behind the creativity too."

Looking ahead to the future, Sara is working hard to develop scents for the summer and even planning for Christmas. 

“Coming into summer, I’m exploring more summery scents but I’m also already exploring some wintery scents ready for September or October time.”

Lappin & May Reed Diffusers are available at The Designerie. You can find them both in store and online at