It Started With Loss...
Hi, I'm Haylee, the founder of Whimsy + Wellness.
I started this business just a few months after experiencing my second miscarriage as a way to distract myself from the constant wonder of when I would be pregnant again.
I had just started using essential oils and when I couldn't find any pretty roller bottles to put them in, I decided to make my own. Armed with a Silhouette Cameo machine and a roll of vinyl, I sold the first Whimsy + Wellness products out of a tiny Etsy shop in 2016.
Now, Whimsy + Wellness is a full fledged business that supports our family full-time, as well as 7 other hard-working families. We have outgrown that little Cameo machine and now make whimsical wellness gifts and accessories to make health feel happy, colorful, glittery, and anything but boring.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this business would be where it is today. I didn't foresee the purpose and drive this business would give me, something I didn’t think I would feel until I was called mom.
I want to thank you, our customers, for giving me the chance to create a happy place for health.
You have changed my life.
(For a deeper look into how I went from feeling so lonely after my miscarriage to putting one step in front of the other to build Whimsy, read my interview with Mary Beth below.)
MB: What’s the Whimsy secret sauce? How did you get started?
I sold my first Whimsy + Wellness products in 2016, on Etsy. I had just had my second miscarriage and was distracting myself with essential oils. I had a Silhouette Cameo machine and a roll of vinyl; since I couldn't find pretty roller bottles to put my oils in, I decided to make my own. I only made labels I liked.
Later, when I began to look for matte gold lids for my roller bottles, it was because I wanted matte gold lids. That’s always been really important to me--we only sell things we absolutely love and stand behind. As a result, we’ve sold things nobody else has heard of before--like gemstone roller bottle tops.
MB: Yes, I think being different from everyone else is one of your strengths. How did you even come up with that idea?
I first saw gemstone roller tops on ready made perfume bottles. At this point, I was making essential oil roller bottles that nobody had ever seen before--pre labeled sets with matte gold and rose gold caps.
But I could not get the idea for gemstone roller tops out of my head! I had no idea what people would think about them, and nobody else was doing anything like them. But I was obsessed.
MB: You had a lot of trouble finding vendors though, right?
Yes! I started combing the internet for vendors who could make gemstone roller tops. Nobody could do it! I got rejection after rejection. I finally started looking for people who made gemstone beads--and then I had to convince one of them to make me beads without the hole!
Even then, I had to hand test every single roller top, because a lot of them wouldn’t roll. I felt crazy, testing all these tiny little beads by hand, but our customers loved them and that made it feel worth it.
MB: That's hilarious!
It was! But it wasn’t going to work long-term. So, I bought a plane ticket to Tuscon, Arizona, for the biggest gem and mineral show in the world. I just started walking the aisles, introducing myself to vendors and trying to explain what we were doing.
I couldn’t find any vendors who were making gemstone roller tops. What I do find, though, were piles of tiny, beautiful crystals. I had seen a few people use crystals in their personal essential oil blends, but I had never seen anyone sell them. I had a new idea!
By then, it was my last day. I lay awake that night because I can’t get the idea out of my head. I wake up super early before my return flight, raced back to the trade show, and bought $500 worth of crystals for my customers.
MB: $500 was a small fortune for you back then, right?
I mean, it was grocery money, car payments, student loans! I was just so committed to that vision I had in my head; it had to be perfect or I wasn’t going to do it.
You should have seen me, stuffing my crystals in my backpack and trying to get it through airport security! I don’t know how I got the guts to do all that.
MB: And then you had your Disney moment, right?
When we launched our first crystal collection, a few weeks after the big Tuscon show, we were actually on vacation in Disneyland at the time--I just really didn’t think this would be a big deal. It ended up being our largest sales day ever.
We sold out so fast….I remember looking at Russ and crying. It was this huge moment of validation for me and my crazy ideas.
MB: You’re not the only one making gemstone roller bottle tops anymore, though. What’s that like?
You can find gemstone tops in so many places now, and sometimes it's discouraging knowing I spent literally HOURS, DAYS, WEEKS of my life hand-making them and educating about them to have larger companies copy us.
I've learned a lot of business is just focusing on YOUR business. Honestly, that’s how I keep coming up with designs that sell out faster than we can stock them. What will make my customers feel like a million bucks AND reach for their oils even more?
We since have found a manufacturer that makes gemstone roller tops for us, but we still HAND CHECK. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. to make sure they roll well before we send them to their new homes. I’m still just as obsessed with quality as I am with design.
MB: What’s next for you, Haylee?
Last Christmas was another giant launch for us--extra special because I was leaning hard into our community over competition mantra. We featured tons of new designs handmade by other shops and makers. We could have copied all these designs ourselves, and maybe even made more money--but that’s gross. It’s not who we are. It’s not who our community is.
The people who have gathered around us, they love quality and design, but what they really love is our family and each other. They show up for each other and all of us, through loss and business delays and the new designs I’m always so nervous and wildly excited to share for the first time. That’s what truly makes wellness fun, for me. It’s the people.
We’re writing a book now, creating an online summit to support other small wellness businesses during corona, making new things for your kids (and ours), for pets, for our homes. Honestly, if you’re not following along with us, please do! Instagram is kinda our jam. You’re going to love what’s coming next!