I have always had a keen interest in living naturally, which probably stems from my aromatherapy background. I would often reach for essential oils for health issues and cleaning jobs, rather than use chemical laden products. Over the last few years, like most people who are busy and swept along with life, I have not been as stringent with my use of non chemical and non eco friendly products. And I am ashamed of this. After watching all the recent news stories and reading documentation on the state of the planet, I realized I cannot be negligent anymore. Therefore my whole ethos on living and on this blog has changed and I am now being proactive in trying to get back to basics as much as I can.
With this in mind I recently interviewed the lovely Helen from a company called Make It Wild who are based in my home county of North Yorkshire. Make it Wild are doing everything they can to preserve the natural world and are encouraging people to enjoy it. There is a lot we can learn from companies such as this and I hope that by reading this, you are inspired to be more pro active and supportive of protecting our world. I know Make It Wild have affected my understanding and my thoughts on what I should be doing to help the current situation more than I am. If each one of us just started taking baby steps into improving our natural world, then it would have such a massive effect on the state of our planet. Now over to Helen of Make It Wild for the interview.
1. When did you start your business and why did you choose this type of business?
I set up Make it Wild with my husband, Chris, in April 2018. We just celebrated the first birthday of the business! The main aim of our business is to ‘put nature first’. For many years, we have felt that nature was being ‘squeezed out’ by human activity, and we wanted to do our bit to put that right.
In 2011, as a family project, we bought our first piece of land, near Kirk Hammerton. We planted 18,000 trees on rough grazing land, and the explosion in biodiversity was amazing. Insects arrived, and birds and mammals followed. After the success of that project, which is now called Sylvan Nature Reserve, we decided to embark on a bigger venture, and to introduce a more commercial angle. So we acquired Bank Woods, near Summerbridge, and Make it Wild was born! We are working hard to support nature there, through woodland creation and regeneration, digging ponds, putting up bird boxes, creating wildflower meadows, and conservation grazing by our small herd of belted Galloway cattle. To raise a little income to support all that activity, we sell tree dedications and eco-friendly, plastic free products on-line and at markets. We feel passionate about nature and the environment, and Make it Wild is very true to our values
2. Tell us a little about the people behind Make It Wild.
My husband, Chris, and I run the business. I was a consultant surgeon for most of my career, and still hold a couple of national roles in medical education and strategy. Chris established and ran Ultralase, a nationwide chain of laser eye treatment clinics. He still holds a number of nonexecutive roles on the boards of companies in Leeds. Our three children are also passionate about the environment, and contribute practical help and ideas to Make it Wild when they’re not too busy with school and university.
3. Tell us about Make It Wild. What do you sell? What is your mission statement?
Our mission statement is: “It’s not our aim to protect nature, it’s our purpose” Our main activity is managing our nature reserves; all proceeds from our sales go to support this. You can read more about our nature reserves, and explore our on-line shop at our website, https://www.makeitwild.co.uk/
We sell a wide range of eco-friendly, plastic-free goodies. Our products are selected to help you to live with less plastic in your life, or to support nature in some other way. We have a range of products to replace throw-away plastic things like bamboo straws, cutlery and toothbrushes, and our top selling bees-wax food wraps which are a fantastic reusable alternative to cling film. We have an ethical skin-care range, with organic, natural products including everything from solid shampoo and hair conditioner to reef-safe sunscreen and natural deodorant.
One of our most popular products is our reusable cotton cleansing wipes, which I sew myself from ‘upcycled’ fabric. To help nature more directly, we have recently launched ‘Flowerburst’, our very own wildflower seed bombs, to bring colour to your garden, and to help our struggling bees and other insects. We also offer tree dedications which are a popular way to celebrate a birth or special birthday or anniversary, or to remember a loved one.
4. Do you have any dreams or future goals for Make It Wild?
We have pledged to plant 100,000 trees in the next ten years, as part of the Northern Forest initiative, launched by The Woodland Trust and The Community Forest Trust. We also plan to acquire more land to manage for nature. Through all of our activities we hope to inspire and educate people about protecting nature and our beautiful planet.
5. What do you enjoy most about the business?
I love the fact that no two days are ever the same! I might be herding up cattle and planting trees on one day, managing the website the next, and selling at a market the next day!
6. Do you have any advice for people who may want to start making the change to more ecofriendly products but may find it overwhelming?
Every little change helps – don’t try to change everything at once! Start in one room, maybe the kitchen or bathroom, and seriously assess your products and shopping habits. You might want to focus on one aspect at first, perhaps reducing plastic packaging or cutting out palm oil or switching to natural products. Commit to make one change at a time; take things at a manageable pace and you’ll be amazed how easy it is.
7. Which famous person would you like as a customer and why?
That’s easy – David Attenborough! He is our hero, and has been hugely influential in raising awareness about the plight facing our planet and all its wildlife.
Thank you to Helen of Make It Wild for a fabulous interview. I hope this has inspired you to make some changes of your own that will benefit you and the environment. Please click here to visit their website for more information on the work they are doing. Please comment below if you have made any changes to a more natural way of life and how easy was it for you to do this?
Until next time dear friends
All photos used in this post are the copyright of Make It Wild.