Willow Tree Lanevisit store
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Ali and I live three hours south of Perth in the beautiful town of Margaret River. Before starting Willow Tree Lane, I worked with special needs children and studied Teaching.
I have three crazy but adorable sons aged 11, 8 and 2. Having children makes it even more rewarding to be able to work from home.
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use?
I make natural skincare and bath products from scratch. Sourcing the best local and sustainable organic oils, butters, waxes and botanicals to work with is extremely important to me. I use a lot of Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Almond and Rosehip Oils in my products.
All of my recipes have taken a long time to develop, sometimes years. I am quite the perfectionist when it comes to my formulas.
Finding the most beautiful papers and recycled card to work with is one of my greatest pleasures, as the handmade packaging is a big part of what makes Willow Tree Lane unique.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process?
My inspiration comes mostly from Nature. The soothing and rejuvenating qualities that are in plants and flowers all around us.
Blending essential oils to get that amazing scent, that smells delicious but also can uplift your mood and improve the health of your skin. The powerful effects of essential oils help to inspire me to create different products to bring out the best of these oils.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art?
I have been making ‘concoctions’ since I was a little girl. Mulling up rose petals, lavender buds and peppermint leaves with a little water to make perfumes that I always insisted my mother try.
The passion resurfaced shortly after my eldest son was born. From an early age he suffered from terrible rashes and eczema. Every cream and balm on the market were packed full of synthetic nasties and the thought of putting these things on my babies fragile skin did not sit well with me.
I started researching madly for natural remedies and ingredients that may help to ease his discomfort. One thing led to another and I was making creams and balms for all my friends and family with similar conditions or sensitive skin and they really seemed to help.
I have also always had a great love of Arts and Crafts. I studied Art throughout high school and took several Art and Design classes at University. I have always made my own cards and use to sell them for a little extra money. This led me to combine my love of natural skincare and papercraft into one. Two and a half years ago I decided to turn my much loved hobby into a business.
How did you come up with your business name?
Willow Tree Bark has been used in skincare for centuries and its benefits are endless. It is extremely gentle and ideal for sensitive skin, which is what my skincare is all about.
My house backs onto a pretty little lane way and one day I was sitting in the backyard and just put the two together and it stuck.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
Natural Skincare is not only my passion, but my obsession. I spend hours and hours reading about the benefits of certain oils and botanicals, from every resource I can get my hands on, from the Internet to magazines and natural medicine texts.
I have also taken several courses on soap making and using essential oils. I am always learning!
What's your best advice for someone starting up?
Learn how to take good photos! You will be taking so many of them, a good photo is everything in an online business. Always use natural light when you can and don't overcrowd you photos, your product should stand out and be the star of the photo.
Also go into it for fun, don't expect that your business will take off overnight. Enjoy it and love what you create and others will too.
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?
Put yourself out there, wether it is on social media or spend the extra to advertise (ie on the gift guide) to promote your products.
Also have giveaways and promotions regularly to keep things exciting. It could be free shipping for a limited time or giveaways if a customer spends over a certain amount.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way?
Life is about balance.
Running a small business, it is easy to take on more than you are capable of and you run the risk of burning yourself out. I have been very close to doing this myself. Don't take on bigger jobs than you can handle and explain to your customers that you need time to hand make the product the best you can. From my experience they have always been lovely and understanding.
What do you like to do besides creating?
I love to spend time with my boys and working in the garden. We have just finished renovating our house and the garden has been neglected. I am enjoying getting my hands dirty and planting veggies and herbs. The boys love to get involved and there is nothing better than home grown fruit and veg.
What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website, phone app?
Music - The National, The Temper Trap, The Naked and Famous, anything mellow thats a bit funky.
TV Show - I don't watch much TV, but I do like Orange is the New Black if I get a spare moment.
Book - anything to do with natural medicine or aromatherapy. I don't read a lot of fiction.
Website - Sadly probably Facebook and Madeit of course!
Phone app - Bureau of Meteorology, as boring as it is, I like to know whats happening with the weather.
What would be your perfect day?
Living in the beautiful coastal town of Margaret River, I would have to say a warm sunny day spent at the beach with my three boys, followed by a balmy nights seafood BBQ with friends and family.
Who is one of your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words?
Needle and Hook - Tough one, right now I would say Needle and Hook. I recently bought a gorgeous Infinity Scarf from Kristy. It is divine! The customer service was fantastic too!
willowtreeskincare visit store
4 August 2015