A Q&A with 100 Acres's Ellea Whamond
I absolutely love the 100 Acres brand of luxury bath and bodycare products. Their ethos feels really relevant, with an emphasis on small-batch, high-quality, low-impact products. Made in the Cotswolds, their products are bottled to smell of a wildflower-filled orchard. They use natural ingredients such as essential oils and botanicals, and are making great steps towards sustainability. But most of all, their heavenly scented bath oil can take away the stresses and strains of a stressful day, leaving a sweet aroma of the countryside. I caught up with co-founder Ellea Whamond to hear more about the inspirations and processes behind the brand. Enjoy!
Ellea Whamond, co-founder of 100 Acres
Tell me a bit about 100 Acres and what inspires you...
100 Acres was born and raised in the Cotswolds. Georgie, my co-founder, is based there, as was I until about 12 months ago. I now split my time between the Cotswolds and London, which is actually the perfect combination because it’s exactly what the brand is all about – bringing you a little slice of escapism, whether you’re in the countryside or the city.
100 Acres captures the essence of the glorious British countryside – the gorgeous air filled with fresh herbs, flowers and fruits, the rambling meadows and orchards. Imagine the weekend pyjama garden breakfasts, leisurely field picnics, wild swimming and barefoot outdoor suppers, all in the setting of the countryside. We created 100 Acres to capture that inimitable countryside magic – so that you can have a little part of that countryside escape, even when you’re having a quick shower on a Monday morning in the city. The British countryside is just our ultimate inspiration; our ultimate muse.
We also get so much inspiration from films, books etc. I remember as a child being totally captivated by the film ‘The Secret Garden’ (1993) – I’ve probably seen it 100 times. The giant door that opens to overgrown plants, fruit trees and rose bushes – that was always my favourite scene and I always imagined it would smell so gorgeous in there. When we create scents for 100 Acres, we blindly sample them. The scent has to smell like the fresh countryside – and so I suppose perhaps subconsciously this scene has something to do with that!
We’re inspired by people in similar industries too. Rowan Blossom, the floral stylist who, like me splits her time between London and her native Cotswolds, does exactly what we do, but through floral design - she infuses a little countryside splendour into all of her floral work through wild, whimsical floral designs and tablescapes. We absolutely love a good outdoor tablescape – they encompass everything we love about the countryside. Good friends, good food and the gorgeous plants all around!
Garden flowers adorn an outdoor table
How has the brand grown and what hurdles have you had to overcome?
The brand has grown totally organically which is amazing (along with a lot of hard work from us too!). I think a lot of people resonate with the whole city-countryside dynamic, in that lots of people adore the countryside but don’t live there all the time, and so love that 100 Acres provides a little slice of that countryside splendour even on a Tuesday evening in the city. We’re about so much more than just creating products or fragrances for the sake of it – we exist to capture something we absolutely love, and want to share with those who love it too!
In terms of hurdles, honestly, it might sound a little silly but it can be difficult growing a brand with such high standards – in terms of exceptional quality, natural ingredients and British artisan craftmanship - on smaller budgets. Capturing the British countryside through our scents, for us it’s only right therefore that our product formulations reflect this too. So we only include all-natural ingredients - rich plant oils, botanical extracts and all natural fragrances – nothing you wouldn’t be able to find in the countryside itself. Plus, as founders, we created 100 Acres as products we could genuinely use all day, every day, and we’re very fussy ingredient wise. And so as a smaller brand with big demands but small budgets, this does bring challenges. But, we never compromise – we just find a way to make it work.
Home in the Cotwolds
Why is natural beauty having such a moment right now? Why is it important to you?
I think ‘natural beauty’ is just ‘beauty’ to be honest and hope that becomes more and more the case. When you really research some of the ingredients in standard/mass-market body washes, body lotions, bubble baths etc – things you put directly on your skin – we just don’t feel comfortable using these ingredients every day. You only get one body, so we believe in spending a little time and money to ensure we’re comfortable with what we’re putting on our skin. We’re glad that people are starting to shift to this way of thinking too, and we’ll always be here creating products with uncompromising, exceptional ingredients.
A Cotswold view
What are some wellness and self care rituals you practice?
There’s of course the typical self-care scenario, such as the Sunday bubble bath, which we do absolutely love, but 100 Acres is about more than that. It’s rooted in life’s small pleasures. Any time you do something in your day that involves a fragrance or body product – a quick morning shower for example - is little a window of opportunity for self-care and escapism. So whether you’ve got an hour to have a bubble bath or 30 seconds to wash your hands on a work day, 100 Acres will momentarily transport you to the countryside.
Another non-negotiable self-care ritual is fresh flowers. We know this sounds obvious, but for us, fresh flowers on our work desk and bedside table are essential. Even just in little posy jars – I always buy a giant bunch (from the local market, every Saturday) and distribute it throughout the house. A full-size 100 Acres Hand Cream and little vase of flowers in a re-used 100 Acres candle jar are permanent fixtures on my desk. Honestly my desk smells so good and it just makes the working day so much better being surrounded by gorgeous fresh scents. And for the bedside, I cover my neck and arms in our Relax Bath & Body Oil to fall asleep to the scents of the countryside, and there is simply nothing better than waking up to the scent of fresh flowers.
Wildflowers behind Ellea's home
What can we all do to help safeguard the British countryside?
We absolutely adore wildflower meadows – they’re so gorgeous and are just a really quintessential element of the British countryside (never pick them though!). But, they are under huge threat and have declined enormously in the last 80 years. The The Wild Life Trusts do amazing work nationwide and have so much information online on action you can take (https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions) including how to build your own mini wildflower meadow in a small space. We absolutely never uproot wild flowers in our garden and are actually in process of building a bee apiary which is really exciting! It’s taking a while though because it’s really important that you find a completely local queen bee, rather than bringing one in from further afield.
What ingredients, processes or products make 100 Acres so unique?
I think our fragrances alone set us apart. For me at least, I find so many fragrances sickly and slightly headache-inducing! Ours are so refreshing – you know when you breathe something in really deeply and just can't get enough of it? That’s what our fragrances are like. They’re fresh, bracing and inviting.
Our 100 Acres Signature Scent base too I think makes us really unique – a complex base of all of our favourite countryside capturing notes forms the base of every product, and then for each one individually we layer a few unique notes on top too. So each fragrance is totally divine in its own right, but use the range in its entirety and all of these different fragrance notes will layer on your skin, leaving both skin and house smelling totally incredible.
Our exceptionally high standards and integrity really put us a step above the rest too. We created these products so we could use them everyday ourselves, are very lucky to work with suppliers who have exactly the same values and standards as us. We’re immensely proud of the quality of the products we’ve created, and the fact that every 100 Acres product is made in the British countryside.
Finally, our gorgeous Signature green block-printed bottle is totally unique to us – it was actually block printed by our incredibly talented co-founder, Georgie. We get so many comments on it, and we really love it – it’s a key part of the 100 Acres DNA and embodies so well what we try to capture. It also makes the bottles a gorgeous addition to any room.
To buy 100 Acres products, visit 100acres.co.uk