Meet Rachel, owner of Wilder Botanics and a herbalist extraordinaire

My husband and I started Wilder with just a few herbal infusions that I’d formulated as a herbalist and naturopath for my clients over the many years within my practice.

We wanted to promote the healing & supportive benefits of herbs and hopefully spread the word about the many ways in which to walk beside them in life and to utilise them in well crafted formulations. 

Herbalism is indigenous to all communities all over the world, and our ideal is to inspire a reconnection to this.

 

We know you are hugely passionate and knowledgeable about all things herbs and botanics, how did this come to be?


I think I’m very passionate but I’m definitely always learning and I think this journey first started in my garden, and the fields behind our house growing up, often on my own or with my mum. 

She was a very busy working single mum of four, and this was the place I most connected with her where her true self shone, she was a remarkable woman.

We’d pick, and top and tail gooseberries, net the raspberries, plant our seasonal veg and amidst this I’d learn a little about the herbs around us such as Plantain, Dock and Witch hazel. It was my happy place growing up.

I also had an innate feeling as a child that there was more to healing than just conventional medicine. 



Can you share more behind the mission of why you do what you do?


I qualified as a herbalist and naturopathic iridologist in 2004 and having had the privilege of seeing many clients over these years I realised that many were drawn to herbs but were unsure how to prepare and take them  ..there was a sort of disconnection or mistrust with this method of healing that we wanted to try and change 


I started Wilder botanics with my husband Charlie with the hope of inspiring people to become Wilder, to take a closer look around them at all the seasonal wild herbs and become familiar with their story and healing potential.



What  has been the biggest business success and challenge you’ve had to overcome that you are most proud of?


Our biggest success so far is probably the opening of our little shop on Broadway market, we never thought at the very beginning that this was even a possibility, and having had the opportunity to be in there ourselves and meet people from all over England and the World  in its first year was amazing! 

We’ve met and chatted to so many inspiring and interesting people in our store, one for example was a young woman from the US now living in Patagonia, completely self-sufficient having learnt so many skills on her travels across Europe such as making butter in France, we could have talked to her all day!   

Probably this last year has been our  biggest challenge as it has for everyone, but within it there’s been a lot of positive change and a growing resilience.


What does the creative and development process look like at Wilder?


We haven’t really introduced lots of different products since we started but when we do we ask ourselves what we need or would find useful for our family and also our customers feedback and what their needs are.

We get inspired by a certain herb and then do a lot of pressing, macerating, and mixing of this with other herbs to get the right formulation.

We’re also so aware of working and fine tuning what we have already in our Wilder collection so at the moment we’re looking at refills for our teas and bath salts as we believe sustainability of our packaging is just as important as the formulation within it and we’ve found a lot of materials that say they’re recyclable are not, so were constantly educating ourselves on this.  


For the herbalist novice among us what would be your top tips as to how to embrace more in life (and why!)


There's lots of native  herbs that are readily available to us, safe to use and highly nutritious and beneficial. Our favourites are young Spring Nettle tops, dry these for a tea to use all year round or even make a fresh infusion or soup, pesto.


And Dandelion, again super nutritious especially to the eliminative organs, in fact my lovely tutor Christopher Hedley said that if you were ever in doubt as to which herb you should prescribe a client look to Dandelion as it will always be of benefit to them. 



Are there any people/business you’d like to give a shout out too? Who else (doing amazing things with botanics) inspires you most?


I have loved Neals Yard from when I first arrived in London in the early 90’s and walked into their store in Chalk Farm, they are still so approachable and informative, striving to keep herbalism alive.


Sun Potion is another that we love for their philosophy and quality. And of course KanKan! Inspired by Poppy Okotcha, she’s incredible! Take a look at her instagram feed. We’ll will always love Kew Gardens & Chelsea Physic Gardens too 

 

Can you share with us about your relationship with nature/being outside and what the natural world means to you?


I grew up in the countryside but lived all of my adult life in cities around the world but I’ve always sought out the natural world, learning to look that little bit harder for the wild herbs sprouting up in scrubland or looking up across the building to see  the full moon.

The natural world shows me that there's a rhythm to life a cycle. All our family needs to have our bare feet on the grass and our backs against the trunk of a tree and we’re lucky enough to have 100’s of acres of woods in London but we will one day live in the countryside when our children's ages align for the move 

 

What is the one luxury that money can’t buy?

A lie in.

Name one everyday pleasure..

Our Wilder Day oil 


What are some of your daily rituals that you rely on to make you happy?

Walking our dog Tippi, she gets us out on long walks everyday.


What does home mean to you?

Family 


When you are looking for a new home, what is the one thing that is a must-have?

Natural light 

 

What is your favourite scent and why?

Charlie loves Vetiver because its earthy and seductive

My favorites are Cedar, Patchouli, and Sandalwood. All the extracts in our Calendula infused body oil, it smells  like a walk in the woods after the rain.

 

Which classically ‘bad’ smell do you love?

Our dog Tippi sometimes smells pretty bad, but it’s a comforting smell and she's so disappointed when we wash her.

 

What’s your 2021 sustainable pledge you’ve made?

To have no single use plastics in our wilder range ..we’re striving for 100% sustainable, recyclable packaging and refills for all our wilder products..

We use only violet, clear and amber glass for our packaging that can be recycled or reused.


What does Circular Economics mean to you personally?

It’s a constant inspiration as a parent and curator to aim for zero waste.. to be a conscious consumer.

 

Favourite shop/ place in your neighbourhood? And why?

Straw on Columbia road owned by the lovely Emily & Hugo...a beautiful store selling British artisan wares and gorgeous vintage baskets.


A must go holiday spot..

The River Dart, and Cornwall