The difference between my production now and at the beginning is immense… When I first started off, I was making my soaps in the family kitchen, testing my products on friends and family, after myself of course!
The first market that I ever attended was at Arnos Vale in south Bristol, back then I could fit all of my market inventory and display into one big rubbermaid box! I had to borrow a table from the market organisers, bringing a table on the back of my bike really would have just been too much... I was already pulling myself and the merchandise!
Once I was there, I was hooked. All of ther traders and customers were so friendly, and I could really feel just how tightly knitted the community was. These markets were the place where Wild Grove started to take shape and develop as I would "talk shop" with the othere locals, getting advice for things like social media and general business tips.
Doing markets was hard at first, as I didn’t have a car, I just loaded all my products, table, decorations and myself onto a bicycle and rode miles to the nearest markets. It got easier when I decided I had earned an electric bike, then a car, and now finally I have a Wild Grove van!
Wild Grove is a hobby that became so much more, I was inspired by the enthusiasm of my first customers and the attitude of other small merchants at the markets I would sell at. It evolved from providing for my family to providing for my community, that’s you people!
Once I started to attend the markets for long enough, everything really started to speed up, more and more people wanted my soaps! Soon I outgrew my home kitchen and had to rent out my own designated studio, which was a huge moment for me, because it's when Wild Grove really became more than just a hobby.
Soon I was spending as much time at the studio as I was at home! It had become a full time job for me, and I couldn't think of anything I would rather do than to create fantastic soaps and creams for people who needed them.
My studio became a hub of all things soap! Sometimes I'm sure you can smell me from the street right outside, certainly my neighbors know when I'm cooking up a batch.
A big turning point for the process of creating Wild Grove products was actually in the hot process vs cold process methods, initially I was using the cold process method as I found it easier to create pretty designs and express it as an art form, but I discovered that the quality of the final product was far lower than using the hot process method. Using a hot process method means that our soaps have a longer lifespan as well as a much richer smell as the essential oils and fragrances are preserved!
Everything that comes out of the Wild Grove studio is recyclable or biodegradeable! On top of everything being made and wrapped by hand. we pride ourselves on having some of the least impactful practices on the environment, leaving our planet cleaner and healthier with every purchase!
I think that being eco-friendly is a responsibility that we all share as business owners and members of the community, it's about doing your bit and it's a really easy transition to make! There is no reason people who want a high quality product should be forced to buy plastic containers full of nasty chemicals for the environment...