This year has been a tough one, so when we hear success stories about businesses set up during lockdown we’re really chuffed! We spoke to Sarah Stanley from My Wish Tree, for our final ‘Meet the Seller’ article of the year, about her experience of setting up a business during a global pandemic and about selling on Candide Marketplace.
With Candide’s current Tree Inspired campaign coming to a close this week, we thought this would be the perfect time to talk to Sarah about why trees make a great gift and grab some inspiration for those of you still looking to do some Christmas shopping.
Meet My Wish Tree
My Wish Tree is a one-woman show run by Sarah, which aims to encourage people into eco-gifting - giving something back to the planet when buying a present for a loved one. She first had the idea for an eco-gifting business years ago when her niece was born. She wanted to give her a gift that would grow with her and provide her with a special place to go and visit.
‘I think that trees make a great gift,’ Sarah told us, ‘and they certainly last longer than a bunch of flowers!’ She hopes that in a world that is becoming more mindful of the environment, people will see the benefit of eco-conscious gifting - £1 of every sale at My Wish Tree is donated to tree planting projects and reforestation worldwide, and all of their packaging is recyclable.
Based on the Wirral Peninsula, Sarah lives with her son, their dog Mollie and their two cats. A typical day for My Wish Tree can be pretty hectic, with the school run and a dog walk often kicking things off. After this, Sarah is straight down to the greenhouse to check on the saplings before packaging up orders and developing new scents for her range of candles which she handmakes at home.
All packaging from My Wish Tree is recyclable
Starting her own business is something that Sarah has always wanted to do, but she found it hard to juggle a career as a fashion designer and be a single mother. When lockdown struck, Sarah lost two design contracts and found herself with the time to embark on her ‘dream venture.’ Although it’s been a challenge with homeschooling, child care and setting up a business, the reception has made it all worthwhile, ‘I get lots of lovely comments from customers and followers which is very rewarding,’ she told us.
When searching for Amelanchier lamarckii, which she had seen on Gardeners World, Sarah came across the plant on Candide. Since then, she has dived in and made the most of the platform. ‘Candide has given me so many opportunities to learn, to resource and to enjoy trees,’ she said ‘it’s brilliant to share, sell and show what you have grown.’ Sarah likes the community on Candide as they are ‘loving and supportive of everyone’s posts,’ and uses the plant ID function to help her continue learning as her business grows.
‘I have had a really positive outcome from selling on the Marketplace,’ said Sarah, ‘Candide has helped my small tree business gain a gardening community audience that I did not have.’
Shop Small this Christmas
At Candide, we’re big supporters of shopping small. What better gift for this Christmas than a tree that your loved one can plant and enjoy for years to come? For Christmas, Sarah would recommend an Olive Tree; they work well in a variety of situations and can be grown in pots so are suitable for patio gardens. Her other recommendations include Holly trees and pines, which make for a more festive gift. She also sells a range of candles, including this Peony Tree Candle, which we think would make the perfect stocking filler!
What does the future hold?
It’s still early days, but Sarah hopes to grow the business, and will always keep trees at its heart. Her next steps will be to add more products into her candle range and increase her growing capacity.
‘I’m currently building a greenhouse at a local farm to increase our growing space,’ said Sarah. As she likes to recycle and repurpose wherever she can, she’s particularly excited to be using some ‘gorgeous sash windows’ which were donated to the project. ‘I’m learning something new every day, which I love. It’s been hard work, but I’m so pleased with how My Wish Tree is organically growing from something which started at a kitchen table to where it is now.’
If this has inspired you into eco-gifting this Christmas, head over to the My Wish Tree Marketplace shop to have a look at all of the lovely products on offer.