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Favorable favors

Story by Kristi English

Photos submitted by Heather's Natural Home

Photo by JennQuinn Creative

When I first noticed the tiny soaps wrapped in cream tulle and tied with a burlap bow, I breathed an audible, awww. The owner of Heather’s Natural Home looked up.

“Those are our most popular favors,” she told me.

“I can see why,” I answered.

We were at Under the Veil & Beyond the Bowtie Wedding Trend Event at the Kent Island Resort last February and Heather Wiley, founder of Heather’s Natural Home was one of the 25 wedding vendors. Her wrapped soaps and bath salts filled the farmhouse table, each soap individually wrapped and tied with a label, perfect for personalization. Heather makes her products out of her home in Mount Airy.

The child of “hippie” parents, Heather was always a maker, and got her start making body butters, laundry soaps, dishwasher pods, and chapsticks. She made these for her family’s use and would give them as gifts. Soon she realized people would buy them and started listing the products on Etsy.

Heather moved on to making a lot of other body products. These all sold well and so began experimenting with other products with friends and family to see what they liked or didn't care for. The transition was easy as she started to see a trend in people asking and wanting more natural products for themselves or their home. This all led to wedding, bridal shower, and baby shower favors that used natural ingredients. Once she started selling those, she received excellent feedback and started pursuing that avenue heavily. Heather got most of her recipes online and over time has made them her own.

Photos by JennQuinn Creative

Heather makes soap every day. Heating and mixing the raw ingredients, she adds herbs, dried flowers, oil, or even seeds to the trays and lets them sit to cure for a couple weeks. Then she cuts and packages them, ready to be sent. The largest order she has had was for 1,000 soaps.

She had a few weeks to fulfill it and used any free time to make more soap. Heather is mother of one, with another on the way. When we first met her at Under the Veil & Beyond the Bowtie Wedding Show, she was a few months pregnant and when we recently caught up, she was officially 9 months.

It has not slowed her down.

Heather plans on creating a website for the business, currently she uses Etsy to showcase the products, and has a few more wedding favors in mind she wants to test out.

We caught up with Heather to talk about wedding favor trends she was seeing.

“What I've noticed most is that people want personalized favors for their weddings and shower gifts,” Heather said. “I'm also seeing that brides want something that can actually be used, and not just tossed once the guests go home or time has passed. The soap favors I make are my biggest seller, as it's a useful product.”

The most popular scents are the earthly, herbal ones, such as lavender.’

“I prefer fruity scents, but those are not my best-sellers,” she said.

Heather creates many of her soaps with a delightful combination of scents: Rosemary Mint, Lemon Verbena, Oatmeal Honey, and Wildflower.

She offers personalization on most of her products, by way of labeling, tags or notes. Most people will want a simple combination of their names and their union dates and Heather tries to fulfill creative requests as best she can. Each of her products is made to easily personalize. On her bath salts, there is a tag that wraps around the container for personalization.

“Sometimes I get specific requests for something different than what I offer, and I try to do the best I can because I want to make it special for the person.”

Heather said wedding favor baskets are also trending.

“I would suggest adding variety to a themed basket, such as a spa basket with mini soaps, or specialty soap, body butter, bath salt, and a men's soap bar,” she said. “And then adding a personalized note or tag from the bride/groom. Guests love things they can actually take home and use, and when you have a variety of sorts, there will always be something for someone.”

Heather’s Natural Home

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