Another new maker to join the collection this year is Sophie of Betony & Sage. I fell in love with her candles and her ethos when I found her on Instagram. With names like Wilderness and Restore and her focus on the most eco-friendly materials possible, as well as the extra personal touch of homegrown dried flowers on top of each one, her beautiful candles really stand out as unique for me and they smell incredible. I asked her a bit more about what inspires her and her story so far.
What made you decide to become a maker and how did you get started?
I am quite a creative person and love drawing, knitting and basically making things with my hands. I am also passionate about lower impact living, so for me making natural candles and organic skincare was something I first did for myself and only started sharing with others because I enjoy the process so much. For me, this is my creative outlet and a way to engage people with natural living.
What inspires your products?
I am completely besotted with the natural world. Betony & Sage is a side project for me, I work full time in environmental conservation. The natural world inspires me to live more gently, to take stock and create mindful moments. I find such awe and inspiration in the world around me; part of Betony& Sage is about facilitating this connection for others. I run forest bathing, foraging and mindfulness events in local green spaces, all free of charge so that they are inclusive and open to all.
What is your favourite thing to make and why?
I really love making my elixirs and oils. The whole process of growing and harvesting the plants in my garden, the long and slow process of herbal infusions, the mixing of the oils. It’s magic in action, plant magic. It’s a slow and hypnotic process and I just love it.
What do you love most about being a maker?
I love the excuse to be creative. Most of what I make can’t be rushed, it is a slow and sometimes labour-intensive process as I make many of the ingredients from scratch. That’s exactly what I feel sets my products, and those created by other small businesses, apart from others; the mindful joy that’s created in the making and in the using of the products.
Why is sustainability important to you and what natural materials do you use?
Sustainability is very important to me; in fact, it is one of the reasons I started up. I actively research every ingredient within my products to understand and attempt to reduce any environmental impact. I choose suppliers who are local, I choose ingredients cultivated in an organic manner or in the UK as I am aware of any environmental legislation that exists to protect the land and wildlife. I do not use any synthetic fragrance oils or chemical scent boosters (as many ‘natural’ candle makers do). I have read so much about the environmental impact of cotton that I will not even use cotton wicks in my candles, instead I use hemp and am currently experimenting with nettle! I use as little plastic as I can and I’m experimenting with refillable jars for my candles which I hope to have available soon. I also donate to environmental projects, mostly in the UK, and will continue to do so because it lights me up being able to give back.
What would you be in another life if you weren’t doing what you do?
I don’t think I would choose to ‘do’ anything differently to what I am doing now, I am doing what I always hoped to. I do however dream of living more off of the land, in a more self-sustainable manner perhaps with a little croft somewhere. But this is a dream and may always be one- it’s good to dream though, right?