13 Questions With Donna Hay Founder at WILDWOMAN

We catch up with Donna Hay, founder at WILDWOMAN; the UK's first non-fiction self-care subscription box!

First of all, how are you and how are you coping in 2020?

There isn’t one word I could use to describe how I’m feeling right now or to describe 2020! It has been both a blessing and a huge learning curve. It’s been difficult. It’s been challenging. But it’s also been satisfyingly slow. More mindful.

I feel more connected to myself now than ever and on reflection, it’s been a year I feel strangely grateful for. I’ve had massive moments of feeling anxious and like a failure but my resilience muscle has been working overdrive and reminding me that I am stronger than I think. I’ve realised there was a lot of ‘rushing’ in my life before the pandemic and I’ve realised that I am the only one creating the rush. I can create more calm.

Talk us through WILDWOMAN and how it began?

Sure! WILDWOMAN is the home of all things self-care and positive wellbeing. We are a subscription box company and a gift box company – but also so much more. We are a community passionate about living a life that’s true to ourselves. We want to remind women to take real-time out for themselves – to reconnect to themselves with the help of a monthly reminder packaged up in a beautiful gift box.

WILDWOMAN began after I went through my own mental health challenges. I went through an extended period of grief and by the age of 25, I had attended more funerals than weddings. But I never realised how witnessing death and trauma had had such an effect on me. I brushed it under the carpet – determined to always been seen as the positive, happy one.

But after I lost a friend to suicide, that all changed for me and I realised I needed help. I enrolled on an 8week mindfulness mediation course in a bid to quieten my mind and control some of my intrusive thoughts.

8 weeks later, my teacher gave me a book – ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma. I had always loved reading but always fiction. This book absolutely changed my life. It made me look at life in a very different way. I told everyone about it. I felt so seen through the words on the pages.

Soon after I hit Waterstones reviewing hundreds of books in the ‘Self Help’ section and realising very quickly that the words were talking to me. The journaling and activities within the pages were healing me. I was healing myself. After I started telling friends about these books, I started a bookclub and a community online – spreading the powerful message of non-fiction books. Quickly the community grew far and wide – women connecting all over the world. I wanted to be able to package up the bookclub experience for everyone, no matter their location and so WILDWOMAN was born! That was August 2018!

What can people expect to see from their monthly subscription?

Every month our subscribers receive a non-fiction book on a particular theme and a selection of mindful gifts that go with the theme. We also include a 16-page magazine full of self-care tips and a journaling prompt to aid the learnings in the book. It’s all about taking time to enjoy the experience of the whole box – make a cup of tea, read, journal, reconnect. We also have an online community where we have workshops and author Q&As.

What’s the process like for creating a box?

I LOVE curating each and every box. I work around 3-4 months ahead and work closely with publishers and authors on new book launches that I feel our audience will love and benefit from. Then it’s like an online shopping trip – sourcing gifts that have meaning. We also partner with a small, independent business too. I work in exactly the same way for our themed gift boxes too.

I’m someone who really enjoys buying gifts for family and friends at Christmas so it feels like I’m doing this every month for our customers.

There is nothing better than when the box is complete, wrapped and shipped out the door. I love seeing the unboxing videos on Instagram our subscribers and customers share. It feels me with so much joy!

What did do before WILDWOMAN?

Before launching WILDWOMAN I worked for a big digital marketing agency on content and influencer marketing. I enjoyed it but I always knew that I wanted to work for myself. I knew I wanted meaning in my job and now with WILDWOMAN it feels like I’m living my purpose. I believe WILDWOMAN was the thing I was always meant to do.

What do you think self-care has grown so much in recent years?

I think ‘self-care’ has become a bit of a buzz word and a trend. But there is a lot of misunderstanding around what it really means I think. It’s so much more than bubble baths and cosy slippers. It’s about true connection to yourself – mind, body and spirit, and that’s something I think we are all still learning.

I think we are all realising (especially throughout 2020) the importance of time out from work, technology and our to-do lists. We are all so busy that we don’t have time or don’t make time to just sit, be still, reconnect. We often feel guilty about prioritising ourselves over others but self-care shouldn’t be seen as selfish. Self-care is a necessity. When we take care of ourselves, we take better care of the world around us.

What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?

There have been some amazing moments since I launched WILDWOMAN in August 2018 including being interviewed by Forbes really early on. I thought it was a joke when they reached out hehe! But I think the biggest achievement has been surviving through 2020, seeing the increase in our subscriptions and hearing the amazing ways that our subscribers have changed their lifestyles through the inspiration our boxes have given them.

What are you currently working on?

We’re working on a few secret projects for 2021 which we can’t say too much about at the moment! But we will be offering much more to our subscribers in early 2021 as well as a new website. We’re also working on a pop-up shop idea that we want to test in Brighton in late 2021 which I’m REALLY excited about!

Who are some of your favourite follows online?

Where to start?! Of course, I love following team Zoella and Zoe! I also follow a lot of independent designers and small business female founders like Fearless Flamingo and Pearl & Cover – these women have become friends because we all go through the same emotions running small businesses! I love fashion and personal style so I enjoy following influencers and stylists like LouLou Storey and LaurasLittleLocket. And of course, positive wellbeing influencers and mentors are my go-to when it comes to Instagram – I adore Megan Rose Lane, Gina Swire and Emily Coxhead!

What do you always carry with you?

My journal. When I drive I get so many downloads and ideas that I have to get them down the minute I pull up at home or at work! I’m never without it! Journaling has become a non-negotiable when it comes to my mental health.

What does your perfect weekend look like?

A slow weekend full of reading, nature, good food, family and friends where I can turn off my laptop, switch off my phone and be completely present. I’m prioritising this more in Winter and of course in lockdown!!

If you could only eat one meal again what would it be?

Without a doubt a roast dinner – I LOVE the whole process of preparing it and the excuse to have all the family around the table. It’s the experience I love and of course a roast potato! I can’t resist!!!

If you could give one positive message to our followers what would it be?

There is a one in 400 trillion chance that you were born. Think about that for a second…and realise that this makes YOU a huge gift. Your life is a gift and you are a gift to this life.

Find the WILDWOMAN website here, and follow them on Instagram here.