Gidea Park mums strike the match of success with quirky business idea

Emma Dobie (centre left) and Hayley Madden (centre right) with their team.

Emma Dobie (centre left) and Hayley Madden (centre right) with their team. - Credit: Archant

Two mums who thought outside the matchbox struck upon a novelty idea that has grown into a business turning over £500,000 per year.

Marvling Bros Ltd’s “In A Matchbox” – sells quirky gifts from a beer garden complete with hop seeds and growing instructions to magic tricks and even a special breakfast.

The company, based in Gidea Park, has spread into Australia, Hong Kong and the American markets and has now branched into gourmet scented candles with scents of the nation’s favourite foods - including bacon, roast dinner and curry.

Director Emma Dobie, 41, of Crossways, Gidea Park, said: “We want to keep growing, keep our ethos and keep the company small.”

The company employs eight mums who Emma and co-director Hayley Madden, 49, met on the school run.


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“We all have skills, some of us used to be accountants, teachers and we utilise those skills.”

Hayley said. “First of all they just helped us out because we were struggling. Now they are paid staff.”

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The business started when Hayley’s son, Kyle, brought home a school competition to fit as much as he could into a matchbox.

The mum-of-one came up with all sorts of ideas.

“I’m quite competitive,” said Hayley. “First I put in a curry seed and a grain of rice and called it curry take-a-way in a matchbox.

“Then an image of the Mona Lisa and had an art gallery in a match box. I got quite obsessive about it.”

Hayley, of Stanley Avenue, Gidea Park, didn’t win the school competition, a classmate of her son won that but she did win her friend Emma over with her idea.

“I told her to go away get a few ideas down,” said Emma.

“We couldn’t stop texting each other in the middle of the night,” added Hayley.

The company’s ethos is centred on enjoying work, mum’s supporting each other and most importantly, spending time with family.

Emma said: “We are not super mums. I’m picking my kids up from school and taking them to football practice after.”

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