We really enjoy having Lesley as part of the Green Elephant team. She clearly loves what she does and her passion really shines through in her products which, whilst being handmade, have a distinctly luxurious look and feel to them. To celebrate Christmas, small businesses and well…just because…. we’ve got a gorgeous harper & leaf gift set to give away to one lucky person. Scroll down for more details.
What was the most challenging thing you’ve had to manage in 2020?
Well, apart from Covid it’s probably juggling work and family. As well as working on growing my small business I am also a registered nurse and mum to four daughters. They are all teens and young adults now but they still need my time and attention!! Life is never dull in our household and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
How has Covid affected you personally..??
Covid has certainly affected me personally as it has everyone in some way. I am from the UK and all my family and friends are there, including one of my daughters so I miss them all tremendously.
Five words to describe 2020…
Challenging, unprecedented, uncertain, new – normal
What are you most looking forward to in 2021 (and beyond)??
I very much look forward to the day I can see my daughter, my dad and my four siblings in the UK.
For harper & leaf, I’m excited to experiment with new soap formulations and essential oil blends. Another thing that’s been on my mind for a while is to make shampoo and conditioner bars. Maybe 2021 will be the year..??!! My latest obsession is my new solid lime dish soap. It’s a revelation to me and I only wish I’d discovered it earlier. Everyone should try it…!!
What is your favourite Christmas memory or tradition?
My childhood memories of Christmas are so happy and there are lots of traditions I have carried on with my own children. We all decorate the tree all together, make gingerbread houses and go to church on Christmas Eve. Having Christmas in the UK as a child meant snow so we would go sledging and have snowball fights. As one of five children it was always loud, busy and great fun!!
What do you like to eat at Christmas?
Even though I now have a summer Christmas in New Zealand, I cannot stop myself doing the full blown UK Christmas dinner. My children insist on it and so I find myself in the kitchen for hours cooking a huge roast dinner in the blazing heat which is crazy!! My mum was a wonderful cook and I follow many of her food traditions at Christmas. Her sherry trifle was second to none!!
One tradition I stopped two years ago was Christmas crackers after reading an article about the millions of small plastic toys going into landfill. I just felt I couldn’t continue contributing to that anymore. I thought my children may oppose my decision as we have always had crackers at Christmas since they were little but I am proud to say they were all in full agreement.
Who do you normally spend Christmas with and is there anyone you will be missing this year due to Covid?
I will spend a quiet Christmas with my husband and 3 of my 4 girls. This will be the very first Christmas we haven’t all been together as a family as one of my girls moved back to London last year. I will find it hard knowing she is so far away. I will also miss my elderly dad and my siblings but we all facetime to wish each other a happy Christmas and I know there will be many people in the same situation due to Covid.
What’s your top tip to help people that want to support small Kiwi businesses this year..??
Look beyond the big stores and buy local New Zealand made products where possible!! Hunt out the farmer’s markets and online sustainable stores. Ask questions of the store owners about the products they use and how they are working to be eco friendly. In this current climate, small businesses need support more than ever.
What can customers expect when they shop with YOU (versus a high street chain store)…??
As a small sustainable business, I aim to offer a more personal service to my customers in terms of communication and tailoring orders to a customer’s needs or likes. I strive to always be transparent with my business and products and show my commitment to producing small-batch natural soap bars free from palm oil and synthetic ingredients.
I really encourage customers to reach out to me and share their concerns or queries and I always endeavour to accommodate special requests. I remain very grateful and humbled to each and every customer who supports harper & leaf.
If you would like to win one of Lesley’s Christmas themed gift boxes, click below. In the gift box are two of her soaps (a Juniper, Fir & Cedarwood and a Frankincense, Mryhh & Orange), plus a macrocarpa soap dish and a hemp soap saver. This is going to make a fabulous early Christmas surprise for someone….!!!
Thanks to Lesley for sharing and for donating this gorgeous prize. If you’d like to view her full range, check out her Green Elephant Store. Good luck everyone xx