From Playboy lingerie designer to holistic hero - a Hartlepool business boss describes her pandemic journey

A former lingerie designer from Hartlepool – whose fashions were loved by the famous – is flourishing on a new career path.

Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 8:14 am
Michelle Taylor Ward who is creating holistic boxes. Images by Emma Appleton Photography
Michelle Taylor Ward who is creating holistic boxes. Images by Emma Appleton Photography

And it is helping everyone from cancer patients to people needing a pick-me-up.

Michelle Taylor Ward first hit the headlines in 2008 when she won the Hartlepool Mail-backed If We Can, You Can competition. She spent five years at Playboy before leaving to set up in business herself.

Now Michelle is a married mum of one and making a success of a new business where she makes holistic boxes filled with candles, scented salts, quotes, artwork and Michelle’s own personal touch of love.

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One of Michelle's holistic boxes. Images by Emma Appleton Photography

"It is a range of boxes and it sprang up in the last few months,” said Michelle. “I launched it in early August and I sold out of the first lot of boxes in four days.

"It is exciting and it is really going well and because of the pandemic, people are needing even more ways to feel calm, peaceful and to know that there are tools they can use to help them through these times.”

Michelle is working with local businesses and said one local woman in Castle Eden made her aroma blends.

"I am also working with the Hartlepool Holistic Centre who are starting to make some Himalayan salts, baths salts that are infused with lavender and various lovely things.

One of Michelle's holistic boxes. Images by Emma Appleton Photography.

"There is a small company I have been buying candles from in the Manchester area.

"All of the things I am putting in to the boxes, I have used myself.

"I have also been creating artworks and some of the boxes have meditation in them. It is all round holistic help for the soul, to help lift the soul, to help bring peace, care and comfort.

"More recently, I have been asked to create boxes for people going through chemotherapy. I have had lovely reports back from a man it was sent to, and another lady. They said it had really helped.

Designer Michelle Taylor pictured shortly before she won the Hartlepool Mail-backed If We Can, You Can award around 12 years ago.

"The families are wanting them to feel the love around them and it is hard to express that sometimes, so I put quotes, sayings and hand-drawn messages in the ‘boxes of care’ which are for people going through treatment.”

Michelle’s own career journey was the inspiration for her business called Magical Sop of Enlightenment.

"This feels like it is me on my right path now. It is interesting, going from being a lingerie designer to somebody working with the soul of the person. It has gone from body to soul, I guess.

"I went through a real period of transformation. I got involved in meditation and self development and then especially when the pandemic kicked in, I realised that our human need is we just want to feel loved and cared for. Though they might not be able to have as many family around them at the moment, to know that someone is thinking about them.

"It has come from my journey. Every box that someone opens, I want them to feel the love from it. I also do a box for people who are grieving.”

New boxes are planned including a pick-me-up box and one for moving home. “It is all about energy and uplifting people through these dark times. It is sunshine in a box,” said Michelle.

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