Where we are Now
I founded Orchard View naturals in 2006, a small health, beauty & wellbeing business near Ilminster, Somerset, with nature at its heart. I'm now a few miles up the road from where it all started. Core values have stayed the same throughout, while learning never stops. I do what I can to keep my footprint as light as possible, while giving you truly special experiences.
2020 brought the opening of Apple Tree Studio (although we are currently closed due to the global pandemic).
And so the journey continues...
Lucy Stevens, OV naturals
It is important to me & my customers that all of the products & natural ingredients I use have been created in a sustainable way. It can be difficult to dig deep into the roots of some larger supply chains, so I source mainly from small, independent businesses in the UK, who can help me understand origins & source responsibly.
Over the years I've probably made a complete pain of myself, asking question after question of my suppliers. Sometimes it baffles me that I seem to be the first person to ever have asked. For example, how is it harvested? Is it sustainable? Is it Fair trade? Does it contain any palm derivatives? Is it Halal? Cruelty-free? What is the process it goes through? Are any synthetics used in that process? Can I get the relevant paperwork to back up the claims? And so on. While some suppliers go the extra mile to help, others can be very arms-length & it can be difficult to get answers.
The demand for essential oils for many different industries can put a strain on the environment & by supporting ethically grown & harvested sources, we can all help to drive change. Sadly, from over-use, East Indian Sandalwood is now a threatened species. The Sandalwood essential oil I use is from New Calendonia, from managed plantations. Other wood oils such as Organic Atlas Cedarwood & Blue Cypress essential oils that I use, are from sustainable sources, their branches only are used to collect the oils, the trees are not felled for the oil & when they are eventually felled, new ones are planted. I keep an eye on the natural world & news about essential & plant oils & aim to be both pro-active & responsive. Even though this is only a tiny little business, I still believe it can make a difference.
Ingredients in the OV naturals products I make in my workshop are 100% vegan & 100% natural. The ingredients & final product are never tested on animals & I source many Soil Association Certified organic ingredients, as I believe that these will be both pure & ethical. Not only that, but organic botanicals are grown without harmful pesticides or other toxins, so the strain on the planet is lessened enormously, wildlife is protected & bio-diversity can thrive. There are between 84% and 99% Soil Association certified organic ingredients in each of my skincare formulas in the Heart & Soul Collection. Soil Association certification is a safeguard for each ingredient & supports both the environment and our own health. In other products, such as the Body Oils, you'll find the ingredients are high quality, natural botanicals. If you're interested in finding out more, visit the Blog pages where I talk about formulation & ingredients in more depth.
The packaging of your products is also something that's important to me. The glass bottles & jars are reusable & recyclable along with the glass element of the pipettes. Not all of the closures are plastic-free & recyclable, but suppliers are moving with the times and hopefully soon I’ll have more eco-friendly solutions. Refills are available where possible & this is something that continues to be a priority. In addition:
- OV naturals product leaflets are made from 85% UK post-consumer cardboard waste & printed locally
- Square “thank you” cards are made from recycled T-shirts
- Black shredded tissue is made from 100% UK recycled paper. Gold & purple tissue are acid-free & printed in the UK
- Kraft Presentation boxes are made from recycled card
- Green Jiffy Bags have a Kraft outer and recycled paper cushioning
- Clear pockets are made from biodegradable corn starch
Sadly, all of these above are more expensive in £s than their unsustainable counterparts, but much less harmful for the environment, so I think it’s worth it & I hope you do, too. All of these endeavours do, of course, add to the price of your finished products. Until the day when recycled paper & card, organic ingredients, ethical products are the norm, this is always going to elevate the cost of production. If this means less sales for OV, then so be it. If our planet buckles under the strain of the human race, we all go with it!
Increasingly I also use reclaimed boxes & packaging "peanuts" which can be re-used over & over again. They don't look as pretty but I wouldn't have it any other way.
I am mindful of the confusion that consumers face when sourcing natural products. As such, I am transparent & clear about percentages of natural & organic ingredients in OV naturals skincare, so you know exactly what you are using on your skin. I list full ingredients (INCI) along with the common name, both on the label & the website, so if you have a known allergy or aversion to anything you can avoid & likewise, if you love a particular ingredient (rose, anyone?) you can look out for it. The only exception is Golden Eau de Toilette, as this is a proprietary formula.
I’m a registered & insured professional – please see Our Story for more details. All OV naturals’ products are Cosmetic Safety Assessed & compliant. You're in safe hands.
Ingredients used in OV naturals skincare & fragrance products always have been, and always will be, cruelty-free. The only exception to vegan ingredients is the beeswax in Organic Face Cream.
Remember to visit the Blog & read all about the making of Apple Tree Studio - a sustainable & ethical space where my workshops & treatments take place here in Somerset.