The Reverie Woman: Lily Hartley

Hi Lily! Thank you so much for joining us as part of our Reverie Woman series. As a proud stockist of your lovely products, we’re really excited to speak with you about your journey with Salt + Steam. Can you start by telling us a little about yourself and how Salt + Steam came to be?

Sure! I studied Photojournalism and worked as a freelance photographer for 10 years alongside various marketing jobs. I’ve always wanted to work for myself, but the idea for Salt + Steam came from my own personal frustrations with buying bath products! I was fed up of only being able to find bath salts in plastic bags from brands that weren’t cruelty-free, or if I did manage to hit that criteria, they cost a fortune! So I felt like there was a gap in the market for a product for people like me, who wanted nice things without paying a premium each time.

I know that Salt + Steam was a lockdown project for you, what was it that initially drew you to creating the brand and products?

I wanted to build something for myself that could also benefit other people and the environment at the same time. It needed to look great on the bathroom shelf but also do good - which is why I chose to work with all-natural ingredients. I wanted products that were straight up and honest, not full of unpronounceable chemicals!

What’s your favourite product from your range?

It’s so hard to pick, but I do absolutely adore the Beauty Sleep facial steam! It’s just a perfect pre-serum treat on an evening.

When you were developing the idea for the brand, how important was it for you to start with the core values of being vegan, cruelty-free and plastic free?

It was the whole reason I started Salt + Steam! It was a trifecta that, along with things like a reasonable price point and nice packaging, I’d struggled to hit with products I bought.

What were the main struggles you encountered when creating the brand / products?

There’s definitely a barrier to entry for small businesses. Cosmetic safety reports were expensive, packaging and labels had to be bought in quantities that were too vast and pricey, ingredient quality varied from supplier to supplier. It was a lot of research and a lot of hard work to find out what worked for me and my brand.

Congratulations on recently moving into your beautiful new home! How exciting is it to have your very own Salt + Steam workshop?

Thank you! It’s so, so lovely to have a proper dedicated space - but it’s amazing how quickly it feels small when it’s stocked up with ingredients and finished products!

What is the number one tip you would give to businesses when they’re considering how to become more sustainable with their approach to retail?

Research everything! More often than not, there’s a more sustainable alternative for something you’re using or doing. And if there isn’t, there are ways to offset things and balance the scales.

Can you tell us about some small, easy changes you’ve made as part of your lifestyle to be more sustainable and environmentally conscious?

For my beauty products, I try to find refillable or packaging-free options where possible. When it comes to food, I shop as locally as possible (we’re lucky to live close to two fantastic farm shops!) and plan ahead to avoid food waste. 

Has working full-time on Salt + Steam made your personal values evolve? If so, how?

It’s certainly made me appreciate the time I don’t spend working! Starting a business takes a lot out of you, and it’s made me realise the importance of structuring your day properly and stopping yourself working all night so that you don’t burn out.

Can you tell us who some of your favourite sustainable brands are?

I adore Imogen Rose’s gorgeous ethical jewellery and Cooper King’s fantastic carbon-negative gin and I’ve been coveting a Reformation dress for weeks now...

What is your ultimate vision for the future of Salt + Steam and our planet?

I want Salt + Steam to grow so that it shows big companies that the demand for eco-friendly products really is there. I’d love to see our products on shelves next to all the mainstream brands so that people have the choice and the opportunity to buy products that fit with their ethos! We don’t need to use plastic, we don’t need to abuse animals and we don’t need to create waste to be able to enjoy little luxuries and self care.


Salt + Steam is available to shop at Reverie the Boutique now!

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