020. Salt + Steam

From a kitchen table to global stockists, the inspiring story of a one woman business.

From her little workshop in the rural surroundings of historic York in England, Lily Hartley works her magic on crafting herbal salts for detoxifying bathing and facial steam rituals.

Here’s her inspiring start up story.

How I started

I always knew that I wanted to run my own business, but it took me a while to realise what that business was.

After working as a freelance photographer for over a decade alongside a number of jobs in marketing and ecommerce, I finally took the plunge when I was furloughed in 2020 during the pandemic.

I’d come to realise, through my own journey into cruelty-free skincare and beauty, that there just weren’t enough options that hit the ultimate trifecta – no harm to animals (vegan and cruelty-free), no harm to the environment (natural ingredients and eco-friendly packaging) and no harm to my wallet!

So I started learning everything I needed to know about producing and selling skincare and bath products and finally, in October 2020, we launched!

Natural ingredients that make people feel fabulous

The Team

For the first few years, I worked on my own with occasional (forced!) help from my family and friends.

Then, just over two years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter, I decided I was probably going to need some help!

In came Kaja, my fantastic workshop assistant.

Our Workshop

We’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings in my old bungalow kitchen!

A move to our new house a few years back saw the workshop take over the utility room until finally we got our little workshop in Buttercrambe, a beautiful rural hamlet just outside of historic York.

On a sunny day, we open up the big roller shutter door and we have the privilege of looking out onto green fields filled with cows.

When I’m on my own in the workshop, I like to listen to the My Favourite Murder podcast – fine on those sunny days, a little creepy when I have to work late into the night!

Our Products

I’ve always had a love of botany and think it’s fascinating what nature can do.

I wanted this to be the main feature of our products – good quality, natural ingredients that make people feel fabulous.

I didn’t want an ingredients list that read like an epic poem of confusing things, I wanted our customers to easily be able to see what was in the product they were about to use.

I also wanted our products to be for everyone. Scent is a really personal thing, so I made sure that we had a wide range to make sure there was plenty of choice, and none of our products are gendered.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the first sale I made

Memorable Moments

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the first sale I made that wasn’t to family or friends. It felt amazing that someone outside of my circle had found my little business and actually wanted to buy what I’d made! And when we started to get requests from stockists – that was just like that feeling x1000!

I’ll also never forget the Christmas that our jar delivery was delayed and I spent anxious days trying to figure out how to fulfil orders without the right jars…!

And of course, the day I got the keys to our little Yorkshire workshop – I felt so proud to have built a business to the point of actually needing a workshop and storage space.

Brand Values

For me, it’s always been about providing another eco-friendly option for people.

It’s hard to be an eco-conscious shopper – no one is perfect, but we’re all doing the best we can in an economy that makes it even harder to be green.

I’m determined to always make sure we hold true to our three core values of sustainable packaging, natural, cruelty-free ingredients and affordable pricing.

Our Dream Shop

We’re currently stocked in over 120 shops across the UK and USA as well as selling through our website, and I’m really hoping that we can continue to expand that offering. We love working with other independent businesses!

We’re also getting out and about more, trying out different markets and testing the waters for perhaps one day opening our own shop. I have a dream to have a shop just like Sally’s in the film Practical Magic.

IMAGES ©Salt + Steam 2024
Our Founder

What a beautiful dream Lily, your products will look wonderful in a little apothecary of your own, I can’t wait to visit!

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