In conversation with Rachel Landon of ...
I’ve long been a fan of Wilder products – not just for their natural ingredients and healing properties, but for the simple pleasure of every day luxury one gets from using them. Having known and followed owners Rachel and Charlie for a number of years, it was lovely to spend a morning with Rachel in their charming shop in Broadway Market to find out more about their journey, their business ethos, small things we can all do to help our health and wellbeing and how they manage a growing business alongside family life.
1. What led you to train as a naturopath and herbalist and then to launch Wilder?Since I was a little girl I remember thinking there was more to healing than visiting my GP, not that GP’s don’t have a integral place in this journey, it was more that I felt the right questions were not being asked. I was so into making lotions and potions in our garden and preparing fresh leaf teas then and as I moved into young adulthood I turned to nutrition to help with my overall mood and general wellbeing. I was actually a lot stricter on what I ate then than I am now!
When I lived in NY I started to look into the different alternative modalities and then decided it was time to start studying. Later, after many years of practice I saw that my clients were interested in herbs and a natural approach to their daily wellbeing but didn’t know where to buy good quality organic whole herbs, so I decided to start Wilder with just a few organic teas, Wilder’s Flower Of The Sun Body Oil and Tranquility Soak, all therapeutic formulas that over the years I’ve prescribed for my clients.
Rachel wears our Intricate Fair Isle button neck jumper in grey
2. How have you found starting and running a business with your husband Charlie, whilst juggling family life and being parents? …and what are the most valuable lessons you have learned along the way?Working together has been quite easy (so far!). I think there’s a natural understanding and respect of how we both feel comfortable doing things and we do get on with different aspects of the job. I have to say, Charlie is better at moving forward when there’s an altercation about something, he just says ‘right should we have a cup of tea now’, this definitely helps. Juggling family is hard and the kids hear probably too much about wilder as we talk about it all the time! But there's also the positive side where they’re hearing about the plants or watching us make and they do love what we are doing.
The most valuable lessons I’ve learned so far is to not be swayed by pressure especially if it goes against what I really believe in, this is where the business and the brand Wilder have sometimes collided and I have had to really fight the good fight.
3. How have yours and Charlie’s previous careers helped in shaping your business and how you work now?Charlie used to be in stills and moving image production so he’s really brilliant at this side of Wilder, making all the ends eventually come together. He’s also good at sticking to task and doing it well whereas I’m more of a multitasker which I’m finding out is positive in some situations in life but not always.
I used to be in fashion and travelled extensively, so I do understand about daily stressors, managing sometimes tricky situations where the business side of things comes in, and ultimately and interestingly letting things go when it’s just not working.
Rachel wears our Fair Isle fitted vest in charcoal.
... and our Intricate Fair Isle polo neck in green.
4. I know sustainability is very important to you – how do you manage to keep your business practices sustainable?This we are passionate about, sustainability starts in the bottle and not just about the packaging so all Wilder’s ingredients are 100% natural, using carefully wild crafted and organic herbs. We use local ingredients where possible and from small farms and cooperatives. We don’t use any fillers, no petroleum, no synthetic perfume/fragrance.
We use only recyclable glass as our primary containers with a reuse system for minimum plastic and a refill system for our teas in fully compostable plastic free pouches.
We use 100% recycled and recyclable consumer boxes and only create what we believe we need as a family. We are vegan, except for one product -our Winter Love Drops which uses Propolis to boost immunity.
5. With your wealth of experience as a naturopath (and promoting the use of herbs in ones diet), how do your bath and beauty products help to complement this?I was taught by my tutors and by the amazing herbalist Rosemary Gladstar that beauty is healing.
The skin is one of our largest primary eliminative organs with its own unique microbiome and harsh chemicals and synthetic perfumes can alter and interfere with the skins natural processes. That’s why using only natural, organic ingredients is so important in our daily skin routines. Also immersing into a bath full of herbs is a good way of utilising these healing constituents. Wilder has a unique 42 day infusion process of extracting these constituents and adding these to our Bath Soaks.
6. What are your 3 best sellers?Our Recovery Night Face Oil with Rose and eco marine algae has our highest returning customer, then our Healing Spirit Soak with pink Himalayan Salts, French Kaolin Clay, Vetiver, Rose Geranium extracts and Calendula Oil that helps to release any stagnation in the solar plexus area which is our powerhouse attached to the adrenals and lungs a truly healing experience .. and we are about to release a hand and body was called Sacred Wash with Palo Santo and Holy Basil.
7. Having spent a morning with you in your beautiful shop, I’m aware of what a wonderfully calming influence you have! What advice can you offer for creating a feeling of calm in our day to day lives and as a way to take time out of our busy schedules?Thank you so much but I must have a canny way of hiding it all! I’m naturally quite anxious and I think I’ve been working on this all my life – it’s what drew me to herbs and the outside .. I love being in nature and even living in London I manage to get out amongst the trees every day.
Listening to one’s own body system is really important too, we know when something, someone or an environment is not suiting us, we just need to hear that and change it up with the understanding that we are all different and what might work for someone may not be right for you.
Yoga and breathing exercises have also helped me enormously my whole adult life as well as learning to say no to things – I’m getting too good at this though!
Keeping the gut healthy is another …. if the digestive system is compromised, I feel the effects physically and emotionally.
8. To anyone new to herbalism, what might you recommend as ‘hero’ herbs to use on a regular basis to try and improve general health and wellbeing?Nettle and Dandelion are the most easily accessible herbs .. organic always.
Nettle strengthens and supports the whole body system, a powerful tonic herb, rich in nutrients, and fibre, it works to support the eliminative organs, skin, digestive system, urinary system, lungs and it removes stagnation and increases vitality.
Dandelion is mineral rich, cleansing and detoxifying, a wonderful digestive aid and for clearing fluid retention. The whole plant is useful.
Astragalus is another one of my favourite herbs especially where theres a lack of vitality, and theres convalescing or chronic illness, supporting the immune system .. It's like a super hero cloak.
Rachel wears our Intricate Fair Isle polo neck in cream
9. Where would you like to see Wilder in 5 years?We’d love to living in the countryside, I have this vision of a barn and workshops happening there, collaborating with other herbalists and artisans by building a community of Wilder events. This would be the ideal.
10. With everything you’ve learned in the past 4 years, what advice would you give someone starting their own business?I suppose starting something that you’ll feel passionate about where theres the opportunity to be constantly learning and growing.
And if there's a need to seek finance, team up with like minded people that you respect and who respect you’re values and can also show you their own ethos in what they’re doing not just in what they’re saying.