Martha's Garden is a small family business based in Bicester Oxfordshire.
What we do:
We make a range of pure, hand-made natural skincare products, carefully crafted from natural plant oils and butters, beautifully fragranced with with pure essential oils and run workshops for people to experience the pleasure of making products for themselves.
How it all started…
My interest in home-made and natural skin care products came about from a combination of several things: my long held fascination of anything to do with complimentary therapy, Aromatherapy and my love of "making stuff" and a new (in 2006) hobby, Tudor Re-enactment.
In 2006 my husband and I began a new hobby of historical re-creation whereby we travel back in time several times a year to an Elizabethan Manor in Long Melford Sudbury (Kentwell Hall) whereby we (and usually a couple of hundred others) re-create life as a Tudor for members of the public visiting the Manor.
I began to spend time in the Still-room at Kentwell where I started to learn all about Herbal Medicine in 16th Century and it was here that I first made hand cream with ingredients that were available at that time; namely Beeswax, Olive Oil and Distilled Rose Water. To say I was surprised was something of an understatement as I had never before thought about how hand cream was made.
As we spent more time visiting Kentwell, we got to know other people who are artisans i.e they make things that they then sell. We met people who created things from wood, historical costumiers and even a man who makes historically accurate replica eating knives, swords and other weapons. He even has items on display in the Royal Armoury in the Tower of London!
I admired these people and began to wish that I too could make and sell something. However, what that something was I didn't yet know
Three things then happened:
- My interest in the still room led me into the world of herbal medicine and hand made natural balms and cream. I bought lots of books and read copious recipes on websites.
- We became Foster Carers - I gave up my career in Sheltered Housing to become a full time Mum
- We gained a whole new social network
In 2009, having suddenly become a stay at home parent, I found I had a lot of time on my hands. Having become a Re-enactor I had made lots of lovely new friends.
Christmas 2009 approached swiftly and we had no money to be able to buy Christmas presents for our lovely new friends. Dilemma! So I decided that I would do a handmade Christmas and create lovely natural skincare products for all my friends and family.
It was really well received and everyone loved the products. People said that I should sell it because it was so good. Had I just solved my conundrum of what I could make and sell...?
In September 2014 we did our first craft fair and after the initial panic about "what if no one buys it..." we were really busy and gained really lovely feedback from everyone we met that day and Martha's Garden was up and running. This then inspired me to book some Christmas craft fairs and we were on our way.
It's been 4 years now and we are still going strong. We have met many many delightful people and made some more new friends. We've learned quite a bit too!
In February 2018 we ran our first ever Workshop at Martha's Garden HQ and in September 2018 we ran our first workshop with Lechlade Craft Barn and so it goes on...
Much of what we buy for skin care today contains a multitude of artificial ingredients, some of which can be skin irritants and in some more severe cases lead to cancer.
Our skin-loving products are gentle and nourishing, being rich in naturally, moisturising and skin cell regenerative ingredients such as, Cocoa Butter, Almond Oil, Coconut Oil and Shea Nut Butter. They contain no harsh detergents, parabens, sulphates or other such additives. Many synthetic fragrance oils, commonly found in commercial products, can be allergenic and besides offering a pleasant fragrance, they impart no other benefits to the skin. The essential oils we use for our products are pure and natural and smell amazing too.