Our Green Neighbourhood
Whether you live hours from a town, or in the tallest tower block in the city, if you love nature it’s likely you have your own special way of finding enjoyment outdoors. We've decided that we want to find out what nature really means to you: our customers. So we’re opening the doors to our green neighbourhood to share experiences and create inspiration for new ones!
Louise & Max
Salix Moon Apothecary
Max & Louise in their Essex garden
Forever inspired by nature, Max & Louise run their sustainable small business, Salix Moon Apothecary directly from their Octopus Energy powered home in Westcliff-on-Sea. Their herbal skincare and self-care products, from healing salves to lip balms, are produced using the soothing magic of plants alone; hand-crafted in small batches and free of planet-harming ingredients.
As the first customers in our Green Spotlight series, we paid them a visit to find out why staying connected to the great outdoors is so important to them and their business.
Where did your inspiration for Salix Moon Apothecary come from?
(Louise) I was introduced to the wonderful world of foraging which became a huge source of inspiration to me. Over the years, I became increasingly fixated on the medicinal plants that reside in our hedgerows and wild spaces, and began researching and experimenting with foraged herbs for my little home-apothecary, making effective remedies for myself and my family. Many of the ingredients we use in our products can be found growing around us!
We don't need to travel to distant places to appreciate the natural world, we can amaze ourselves in the smallest nooks and crannies where life has found a way.
Why is this so important in today’s world?
We are going through a mental health pandemic, full of stress, noise and constant screens and incorporating nature in our daily life can help to remedy this. I've found that connecting to our natural world has been an empowering remedy for me when it comes to managing my mental health, observing nature, even for 5 minutes a day, can help to bring a moment of clarity when I feel a little lost or overwhelmed. I believe our disconnection from nature has also had a huge negative effect on our environment and has been a major contributor to the environmental crisis we are living in. One of the keys to encouraging sustainability among the general population is to connect people with the natural world and help them to care more about it.
Where do you find joy in nature?
(Max) I used to spend a lot of time walking and not taking much in. I became focused on the walk or the destination rather than what was around me. In recent years I've made more of an effort to stop and appreciate the smaller things. The ground itself will be teeming with life from beetles to woodlice working their way through a network of small fungi and moulds. We don't need to travel to distant places to appreciate the natural world, we can amaze ourselves in the smallest nooks and crannies where life has found a way.
Do you have any tips for people in suburban areas like yourself who want to find new ways to connect with nature?
Built up areas can surprisingly be some of the best places to connect with nature. When we think of the British countryside, we envision lush and green rolling fields but the reality is these can be ecological deserts. Large expanses of monocrops do not support a variety of life. Although they may look nice on the surface you’ll likely find a greater biodiversity in our towns and city centres. The variety of ecological niches in the suburbs can play to an advantage in many respects and I return to my previous point in stopping to appreciate the smaller things.
Mabel the chicken lives in their suburban garden and provides them with fresh eggs.
Study the brickwork down a damp, shaded alleyway and you’ll find mosses creeping and ferns unfolding from crevices in the wall. Lichens are some of the most incredible organisms in my opinion, entire ecosystems of algae, bacteria and fungi living symbiotically to create alien worlds of colours and textures. Nature is all around us. Any space that is simply left alone will eventually be taken advantage of by living organisms trying to fill the niche they’ve evolved perfectly to fill. If you’re fortunate enough to have some outdoor space I’d simply recommend leaving an area to grow wild. If you have a lawn, leave a patch that you mow less often. You’ll notice these areas soon become a home for a variety of plants and flowers, followed by the buzz of invertebrates and then birdsong.
Local parks can be fantastic places to connect with nature but we don’t always need to visit managed outdoor spaces. Disused car parks overgrown with weeds, neglected industrial estates, alleyways and public footpaths. Studying the way nature overcomes built up areas can be truly fascinating and an excellent way to appreciate the tenacity of the natural world.
How important is sustainability in your business?
Our natural world and resources are under threat and we believe it's our duty as a small business to minimise impact where we can.
We ensure our raw ingredients are sourced from eco-conscious suppliers and botanical farms with ethical and sustainable practices. It's important to us that the workers who produce our raw ingredients are treated fairly and that their farming practices align with our values.
We also believe in supporting local where we can, sourcing many of our essential oils and carrier oils directly from farms in the UK to reduce our carbon footprint and our beeswax is locally sourced from a small-scale beekeeper in Essex.
Our oils and butters are also ethically sourced from various women-led cooperatives in Ghana. Our product labels are paper based and compostable and so is all our packing material and our products are housed in glass bottles/jars! We're constantly learning and as we do, are adapting our practices to be the best they can for our customers and the planet.
Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!×Close window