Feeling gleeful …

about several things this week.

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Number one reason for glee is that I am planning a week’s trip to Kenya this month having taken advantage of an amazing half price deal. I will be taking as many photos as I can of trees, plants, markets and all things colourful to help the website to look beautiful.

K and I will also be dropping in on Cristina, the founder of Made.uk, the accessories brand, who lives in Nairobi as I’d like to get her take on where Wild had got to so far. Hopefully she will be able to give me a few tips! Finally we plan to visit our suppliers to make sure the next time we make our orders things can progress as smoothly as possible -it will also be just nice to catch up to say hi and thanks

Number two reason for glee, is that things seem finally to be moving. Just like when you are buying a house, setting up a new business means dealing with a long chain that can get stuck or broken very easily – A can only happen if B is finished and this can only happen if C, D and E are also sorted. The shop website, for example, can only be finalised when we have all our photos but we need the products finished and most importantly packaged up before we can take those photos.

But now I have the labels at the printers, the creams in production and the soaps ready and waiting to be packaged up. I have also fixed a date for our photo shoot of all the WILD girls (and a few boys!) that I can gather for the home page of the website . I have a feeling that it’s going to be a long and chaotic day!

Third reason for glee? We won the pub quiz of course. After many, many times in second place Val and the Gang finally got their hands on the cash. All things come to those who keep trying, or something ..Thank you the Bull and Last!

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An African Adventure that Launches a Brand

This is a big hello to everyone who has ever had a mad idea. I hope my story will be of interest to some of you out there.

Have you ever, at any time, thought to yourself as you’ve traveled to different countries….

“There is something here, an idea, a product, that I know that they’d love back home? I should just import them or use them in some way, I’m sure I could make it work! It would help everyone out here and I’d love to have a go at starting a company, launching a brand…..”

Well, look no further, this is the blog for you!!

I am going to invite you to share in my journey that sees a nostalgia trip to East Africa ending with a decision to launch a range of soaps, body butters, hand creams and lip balms in the UK.

Learn by our mistakes, be inspired or be enlightened – you decide!

And here’s the website http://www.mywild.co.uk/

Problems, problems!

Have had a bit of time off and feel a bit better for it – I think! Anyway it was great to spend some time with an old school friend again. Holiday snap to illustrate – the Costa Brava’s answer to Thelma and Louise

The designs are taking much longer to get right than I anticipated and I’m starting to dream about African fabric. The colours are so much bolder than those we are used to in Europe. It’s also really hard to get the right balance for a cosmetic pot between that boldness that says Africa and the pretty and soft look that girls associate with skin products. We are almost there now I think/hope!

Before we left for Spain we had a manic day trying to get all the ingredients and the fragrance blends down to Hastings before the manager left for the weekend. We kept her waiting until after 6 but luckily she was very sweet about it.

We had had such trouble mixing the blends despite our very professional looking pipettes. We had been so excited when they arrived in the post. Unfortunately after several “sucking up” sessions the essential oils started making the plastic melt and they kept exploding! Shows how careful you have to be with those essential oils and why there are such strict guidelines with them.

Anyway we managed in the end and we can congratulate ourselves that this is at least one task ticked off the list.
The Hastings Trust will start making the soap mid August which gives the soap plenty of time to mature to become truly luxurious.

France and the formulations

The product of course has to smell fantastic and feel beautiful on the skin.  So we call in some help and contact a soap and beauty cream guru to help us get it right.

It can only help that she happens to live in France near Bergerac in a beautiful converted farmhouse. This is tough I’m telling you….

After a solid week of working on samples and fragrances we feel a bit more relaxed. It is starting to become real as we start using them on ourselves every day. Anyway the dogs seems to like us hope that’s a good sign.

So now we know pretty much what we want we now have to find someone to make the cream and the soap up for us. We had thought long and hard about setting up production in Kenya and had visited the workshop of ‘Made’ jewellery in Nairobi. The owner of the company,Cristina Cisilino, was brilliant and very encouraging. She showed us around and introduced us to all the artisans who live in the infamous Kibera district that is a short walk away. It is pretty inspirational experience and something we will definitely be working towards.

This is one of the reasons why we work with our particular consultant Melinda Coss as she has had practical experience of setting up soap production in Ghana and South Africa.

For now though we need to be able to make sure that production is as easy as possible or we might bankrupt ourselves before we even get started.

We decide to work with the Hastings Trust Charity to make the soap and for the creams we go to ‘Body and Face St Cyrus’ in Laurenckirk at the other end of the country! It may seem like a mad choice but the company is run by a delightful Scotsman who is highly experienced in making natural products across the cosmetic industry.

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