A business savvy mother of two has decided to open a home décor store in Horwich, after her marriage fell apart during the Covid era.
Owner Hailey McMahon, 45, of Lustock, felt she had come to a crossroads in her life when it came to her career.
She previously owned the successful Surpro Ltd for 10 years with her now ex-husband.
Her two young children are Luca and Penny.
Hayley added, “When my marriage fell apart, my ex kept the work we had together.
“My husband and I got divorced, and I needed to keep supporting my kids.
“That’s when I found myself feeling one of the crossroads of life.
“I didn’t want to run a big company.
“I needed something I could be into for my kids too.”
Hayley has always been a creative person, with a business mind.
She established her first business as an independent sales agent at the age of 27, immediately after the death of her sister Michaela.
It was here that she excelled as General Manager at Left at Blackburn.
Hayley added: “Losing Michaela (my only brother) was the most pivotal moment of my life.
“Seeing my older sister disappear before my eyes was very devastating.
“She was diagnosed with a brain tumor a month after the birth of her second child.
“It took her within three months.
“When something like that happens, it changes you.
“Suddenly I took responsibility and that puts things right very quickly.
“I had to make some changes to accommodate my role as a caregiver for her oldest child – now 28, who still lives with me – I still feel a deep bond with her.
“I think about her every day and it may just be wishful thinking, but she still feels like a part of my life.”
She has renovated many homes in the past, including her new home and shop, with the help of local Lesi builders.
So opening Cotton & Oak seemed like the perfect move.
She added, “I have seen the opportunity to open the shop and have done a lot of interior design and home renovation before.
“I opened up all the walls in the shop to make one good space, and the conservatory became my studio where I designed my flower arrangements.
“The two areas are now connected to the space I call The Flower Market, which is the area where I offer my ready-made artificial flowers for sale as single stems or as part of a larger installation.
“I believe that in life you always end up exactly where you are meant to be.
“I pretty much feel like this is where I’m supposed to be, in this environment and community store.”
During Covid Hayley, I realized the need for work of this kind with more and more DIY people spending time at home.
She said, “I think people are falling in love with their homes again.
“A lot of friends and neighbors were interested in interior design and they weren’t interested before.
“They’re starting to find the time to do that.”
Hayley is in her fourth week of opening and says the new home décor store has “really been very well received so far.”
She added, “I breathe in and let everything sink in, but it was a 100 percent positive experience.”
One of the main aspects that Hayley wanted to incorporate was that the products catered to the community and that prices had to be realistic.
She added, “There’s no point in having a nice shop with pretty things if it’s out of most people’s price range.
“Sometimes people can look at a store like this and get nervous.
“But I want everyone to be able to come in.
“I have a lot of different clients, some who come in to buy the very popular £1.40 wax.
Then there are other clients who come in for private consultations.
“But this is a one-stop shop for the Bolton community, where people can come and say hi if they want to.
“They don’t have to buy something every time.
“Bolton is my home and I love Bolton, the artisan shops, the cafes, the food and the people who live in the area.
“Everyone really gets involved in the local area and gets involved in getting together as a group.”
The majority of the products are handcrafted, and Hayley knows the origin of all the companies.
Some of the products include candles, artificial flowers, handmade cards, molten wax, essential oils, bathroom sets, home interior décor, and more.
She added, “I could have chosen any supplier, but I chose manually and took a lot of time to pick the vendors.
“I think my love for home renovation and beautiful décor and my appreciation for the countryside and all its beauty is highly reflected in the store.”
Cotton & Oak is open from 10 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, at various times due to childcare obligations.
The store is closed on Mondays to allow for store restocking, as well as individual in-person appointments, which also take place on Tuesdays 4-6.
Andrew Bovel Pictures