THE ARTISAN FOUNDER

019. Olive Tree Home

THE ARTISAN FOUNDER
A story of following your senses and embracing organic growth.

Following a family relocation, Helen the founder of Olivetreehome saw the new start as an opportunity to pursue the creative career she had always dreamed of.

Here she shares her story of carving her own perfect business.

Back in 2017 Olivetreehome was born, the name came from the simple fact that we potted 2 lovely olive trees outside our front door the day we moved in to our new home and to me they signified a new and exciting chapter in my life.

Olivetreehome actually started life as a furniture redesign business, rescuing vintage and unloved furniture and bringing pieces back to life with a story to tell.

A couple of years later I started to experiment and teach myself how to make natural wax scented candles that I could gift along with the pieces of furniture when delivering to their new homes.

I adored the feeling that a gorgeously scented candle can add to a rooms atmosphere but often felt disappointed with the quality of the candles I bought and so began my journey developing my own.

The feedback I received from family, friends and customers who received the candles encouraged me to create more and test new scent blends, gradually Olivetreehome became so busy with candle orders that I made the decision to focus on growing purely as a home fragrance brand and I’ve never looked back.

the products I offer have organically evolved

I’m a team of one, just me, the sole owner of the brand, wearing all the hats that make a small artisan brand work.

I couldn’t do any of it without my very lovely and supportive family – my accountant husband keeping my numbers up to date and keeping me calm when trying to battle with my gazebo at markets, my two now teenage children who I can persuade every now and again to help me package up orders and accompany me at the occasional craft market, and then there’s the fur babies, our rescue cats Teddy and Daisy who I chat away to endlessly while working away. They’re pretty good listeners!

We live on the outskirts of Chelmsford in Essex, not too far from the city centre but even closer to green fields and walks in nature which I love having growing up in pretty villages in Cumbria.

One of my favourite places to go when I lack motivation or am searching for a space to think is for a walk to the river, a stones throw from my home. I can then return with a clear head often feeling inspired and ready to start work.

I’m lucky that my commute is a pretty short one. A couple of years ago we converted our freezing cold or boiling hot, depending on the season, conservatory into a very beautiful and warm home-based studio for me to plan, design, create and pour all the home fragrance that you can now enjoy from Olivetreehome.

I can easily shut the doors at the end of the day to enjoy time with my family as well as being on hand if anyone needs me.

I have a lovely view of my garden which is a work in progress but I have big plans to to fill with bright pretty flowers to feed my new flower pressing obsession, more about this later.

From launching the candle brand in 2019 the products I offer have organically evolved.

In a world where so much is mass produced, I wanted to turn my attention towards creating beautiful scented candles that were blended carefully by hand using high quality ingredients, natural soy wax and paraben and phthalate free essential and fragrance oil blends.

I have experienced the amazing feeling that a really well scented candle can make to a person and their home. Helping relax and wind down after a long day, welcoming guests or uplifting you at your desk.

I wanted to pour them into pots that were thoughtfully designed, from glass with delicate olive branch screen prints, to a collaboration with KP pottery Studio in Brighton where together with ceramicist Katie we designed a ceramic collection created from British Stone clay hand printed with a carved Lino block olive branch design.

I adore this collection and this led me to launch my own glass Lino print candles, The Artisan Collection last year. What I particularly love about the ceramic candle pots is that they can be kept forever. You can either return to my studio and I’ll refill for you or they make wonderful fruit bowls, pasta dishes and coffee mugs, actually the possibilities are endless.

Layering fragrance through a home also works beautifully so you will find carefully blended scented reed diffusers, body wash and lotion, wax melts and my most recent collection; natural room & linen sprays.

Every single product is carefully blended and hand poured by me so I can ensure the quality of everything before leaving Olivetreehome.

I want customers to feel pure joy when they receive their parcel

Naturally there have been many ups and downs and hurdles along the way, but a particularly proud moment was when I was invited to host a pop up in Fenwicks, Colchester in the run up to Christmas 2021.

Alongside a handful of artisan brands we were given the opportunity to display our products and experience working with such a large retail family, allowing a whole new audience to shop and discover Olivetreehome and for them to appreciate the beauty of hand made.

The down sides are that it can be lonely working away on your own, which I find can result in a lack of momentum some days but I do try and connect with other artisan brands as much as I can as I find this really valuable and the conversations we have can often help me articulate all the creative ideas I have swimming in my mind!

Olivetreehome’s core values are to embrace traditional crafts, step away from the mass market and make the recipient feel special.

Whether a customer chooses to treat themselves or a loved one, I want them to feel pure joy when they receive their parcel, with extra touches such as a handwritten note so that every delivery feels like a truly thoughtful and considered gift.

All my packaging is plastic free and all easily recyclable, compostable and reusable.

I love learning new crafts and skills and so at the start of this year I decided to invest some of my time in exploring both the traditional art of flower pressing and surface pattern design.

It’s early days but my plan is to marry the two skills together to be able to design beautiful floral patterns and for Olivetreehome to grow as not only a home fragrance brand but as a homeware brand too.

Watch this space.

IMAGES ©Olivetreehome 2024
THE ARTISAN FOUNDER

Thank you Helen for sharing your story and being open about how your business is organically evolving with your life and interests, this is a beautiful way to grow a business.

I’m excited to see what you do with the gatherings from your flower garden! – LJ

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