While many businesses have been experiencing hardship this year, others have seen an opportunity for growth in the unusual circumstances of 2020.
For Bangor mum Lauren Ferguson, the change to people's daily lives brought about by being furloughed or working from home has meant her business is booming.
Lauren's candle subscription company Scent by Mail saw a huge surge in new subscribers at the start of lockdown - and that interest has continued ever since.
The mum-of-three thinks Covid-19 has made people more inclined towards treating themselves and self-care, as well as improving their living spaces and looking for gifts they can send by mail.
"More people are spending more time at home and they're looking for ways to brighten things up," she says. "Lighting a candle while you work or having a nice melt in the bathroom is a simple nod to self-care.
"People also like the idea of getting a surprise each month. My subscribers tend to become regular; I have very few drop-outs."
Scent by Mail offers a variety of different-sized candle subscription boxes, which Lauren (36) personally selects and puts together each month.
She founded the business two years ago but has spent a decade working in the candle industry.
That background has enabled her to focus on including unique and high quality brands in her boxes.
When lockdown was first announced in March Lauren already had a home office and packing space, so she was able to adapt her working day around home-schooling her children Priya (4) and twins Ethan and Eva (6).
"I had about 100 regular subscribers at the start of the year and then in lockdown it just got really busy," she laughs. "People were looking for ways to treat themselves while they were stuck at home.
"I got into a routine of home-schooling the kids during the day, then spending the evenings in my office packing candles.
"Now I'm up to around 600 subscribers and I'd really love to get to 1,000 by the end of the year.
"I always try to put really beautiful, good quality candles into my boxes and I think people appreciate that; it's why they keep coming back or ordering them as gifts for friends and family."
Another business that has grown by offering people an easy way to treat themselves during a difficult year is Black Box Donuts.
The company opened its first shop in Newcastle on February 29, just weeks before the UK was ordered into lockdown, which could have spelled disaster.
But thanks to some innovative thinking and staff willing to literally go the extra mile to get donuts out to customers, the firm has gone from strength to strength, and in October opened its second store on Lisburn Road in Belfast. Co-owner Darren McKibbin explains: "Lockdown actually turned into an opportunity for us because we weren't just resting on our laurels. We started operating a delivery service, which enabled us to keep our staff in jobs, build up a local customer base and develop our flavours.
"It meant that once we reopened people were actually driving from further afield to Newcastle to visit the shop. We've had customers travel from Omagh, Portrush and Magherafelt just to get donuts."
Father-of-four Darren (47) from Newcastle set up the business with his close friend Matthew Tonor. Both men work as electrical contractors in Dublin and live "just a stone's throw" away from each other.
Neither had any background catering experience - in fact Darren says he "couldn't even cook a pizza" when he initially came up with the idea following family holidays to Florida, where he saw the success of fresh donut brands like Krispy Kreme.
"Newcastle was very much a chips and ice cream town," says Darren. "We had nothing like that here."
The pair found their premises, on Main Street, in autumn 2019 and spent months developing their flavours.
They came up with the name Black Box because of the eye-catching black boxes they use to package their products.
"We wanted everything to be just right," says Darren. "We wanted people to see the black boxes and immediately know they were carrying Black Box Donuts.
"We've developed 70 flavours, and we stock 15 different flavours fresh each day so people always have a choice and we're always offering something a bit different.
"Our bestsellers are Kinder Bueno and Biscoff. We also do giant muffins, literally the size of your head, and brownies with unique flavours. With everything we do, we're trying to offer something a bit different that you can't get anywhere else."
During lockdown staff members ran the delivery service using their own vehicles to keep the business growing. Meanwhile Darren's niece Mairead McKibbin worked to boost the firm's social media profile. On Instagram@blackboxdonuts has almost 14k followers.
With the second shop in Belfast now also doing a roaring trade, Darren says he's dreaming big, with a vision to become Ireland's answer to Krispy Kreme.
"People queue for 20 minutes in the rain in Newcastle for our donuts," he says. "During lockdown people were ordering them for family members who were isolating and we were leaving them on people's doorsteps. Donuts are best when they're freshly made.
"We bake them in the morning, sell out in the afternoon and start again the next day. That's how it should be.
"A donut is such an easy way to treat yourself and I think after the year we've had, we all deserve the occasional treat."