We managed to catch a few moments with one of our fabulous co-founders, Ursula Heyland.
Chatting about her festive plans, Ursula gives us a glimpse of life in retail in the run up to Christmas, and tells us about a rather famous robin known as Doris…
Christmas is always a busy time for any retail business – what’s the run up to the festive season like for Heyland & Whittle?
It’s always busy when you work in retail, but of course, Christmas does tend to be one of the busiest times of year!
We’re often on the road, travelling around the country, between our retail locations, trade shows, and annual highlights like Chelsea Flower show, and the festive season is no different.
Which products are you anticipating will be most popular this Christmas?
This year, I really do think we’ll all be looking for more eco-friendly gifts, especially in the wake of COP26. What’s wonderful now is that you don’t have to compromise on eco-credentials for luxury products.
We’ve got some gorgeous eco-friendly gifts, like our soy wax candles poured into beautiful recycled glass, and they’re perfect tucked inside our recyclable gift boxes filled with crinkled paper. They make a stunning gift.
You can use those same boxes to craft a bespoke gift selection of your own, too, which is always a nice touch – and you can fill it with palm-free soaps, our bath melts, or any of the products you like best.
How do you stay relaxed during the festive season? How do you make time for your own festive plans?
One of my very favourite things to do during the Winter season is to light a fire, and curl up on the sofa at home – something about this ritual helps me to switch off and be present when the days get shorter and colder.
We also have a wonderful reflexologist – now a friend, really – who pops by the house for a monthly session. She’s been coming for about four years now, and it is one of the best ways to unwind and rebalance. We always look forward to her visits.
How will you and your loved ones be celebrating this year?
We’re lucky to have a big family and our Christmas plans centre around being all together. We’ll light the fire, as mentioned, and we’ll often put on a classic Christmas film like It’s a Wonderful Life – which I really do think is one of the best metaphors for trying to live a good life, and to contribute something kind to each other in whatever way we can. You never know the impact that kindness might have.
Things do change each year, of course, but spending time with family is a key focus, as is keeping an eye out for Doris the Robin.
Doris the Robin! Could you tell us a little more about Doris?
In the spring of 2020, a little speckled baby bird landed on Paddy’s knee, which is where the story really starts. At first we weren’t entirely sure what kind of bird she was, but we soon learned it was a baby robin.
We called her Doris (although it turned out Doris was a male robin!) – watching her around the garden, she brought us a huge amount of joy – so we had to share her antics.
One of the best things was being able to tell our grandchildren about Doris and her adventures – they do excellent artistic interpretations of these.
When we can capture footage, we love to share what she’s up to on our social channels as well – and if you need a little bit of Doris in your own life, we even have a little figure of her on the website, too.