A BUSINESS savvy mum-of-two decided to open a home décor shop in Horwich, after her marriage broke down during Covid.

Owner Hayley McMahon, 45, from Lostock, felt like she had reached a crossroads in her life when it came to her career.

She had previously owned successful business Surpro Ltd for 10 years with her now ex-husband.

Her two young children are Luka and Penny.

Hayley added: “When my marriage broke down, my ex-husband kept the business we had together.

“My husband and I separated, and I needed to maintain support for my children.

“That’s when I found myself felt at one of life’s crossroads.

“I didn’t want to run a big business.

“I needed something where I could also be there for my children too.”

Hayley had always been a creative person, with a business mind.

The Bolton News: Hayley finding her feet in her new shopHayley finding her feet in her new shop

She set up her first business as an independent sales agent at the age of 27, immediately after her sister Michaela died.

It was here that she excelled to the general manager at Lesar in Blackburn.

Hayley added: “Losing Michaela (my only sibling) was the single most pivotal moment of my life.

“Seeing my older sister disappear on front of my eyes was utterly devastating.

“She was diagnosed with a brain tumour a month after giving birth to her second child.

“It took her within three months.

“When something like that happens, it changes you.

“I suddenly had responsibility’s and that’s puts things into perspective very quickly.

“I had to make some changes to accommodate my role as a carer for her eldest child - now 28, and who still lives with me - I still feel a deep connection to her.

“I think of her every day and maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but she still feels very much a part of my life.”

The Bolton News: New shop was just what Hayley neededNew shop was just what Hayley needed

She has renovated several houses in the past, including her own and her new shop, with the help of local builders Lesi construction.

So opening Cotton & Oak seemed like the perfect move.

She added: “I saw the opportunity to open the shop and had done a lot of interior design and house renovations before.

“I have opened all the walls up in the shop, to make one good space, and the conservatory has become my studio where I create my floral arrangements.

“The two areas are now linked by the space I call The Flower Market, which is the area I display my faux flowers ready to be sold as individual stems or as part of a larger installation.

“I do believe that in life you always end up exactly where you’re supposed to be.

“It feels very much like this is where I am supposed to be, in this environment and community shop.”


During Covid Hayley realised the need for a business of this nature with more and more people taking up DIY and spending time at home.

She said: “I think people fell back in love with their homes.

“A lot of friends and neighbours were interested in interior design who weren’t interested before.

“They started to find time to do it.”

Hayley is in her fourth week of opening and says that the new home décor shop has been “really well received so far”.

She added: “I am taking a breath and letting it all sink in, but it has been a 100 per cent positive experience.”

One of the main aspects that Hayley wanted to incorporate was that the products fulfil the community and that the prices needed to be realistic.

The Bolton News: Selection of artisan soapsSelection of artisan soaps

She added: “There’s no point having a beautiful shop with beautiful things if it’s outside most people’s price range.

“Sometimes people can look at a shop like this and feel nervous.

“But I want everybody to be able to come in.

“I have lots of different clients, with some who come in for the hugely popular wax melts at £1.40.

“Then there are other clients who come in for private consultations.

“But this is an inclusive shop for the community of Bolton, where people can come and say hi if they want.

“They don’t have to buy something every time.

“Bolton is my home and I love Bolton, the artisan shops, cafes, food, and the people that live in the area.

“Everyone is all really involved in the local area and involved in coming together as a group.”


The majority of products are artisan crafted, and Hayley knows the origin of all the companies.

Some of the products include candles, faux flowers for businesses, hand made cards, wax melts, essential oils, bath sets, home interior décor, and more

She added: “I could have picked any supplier, but I hand picked and took a lot of time to pick the sellers.

“I think that my love of house renovation, beautiful decor and my appreciation of the countryside and all its beauty is very much reflected in the shop.”

Cotton & Oak is open from 10am Tues-Sat, with varied times due to childcare commitments.

The store is closed on Mondays to allow the shop to be restocked, as well as personal one to one appointments, which also take place on Tues 4-6.                 

Photos by Andrew Bovill