Dr Sally Gouldstone, Seilich - Made Scotland

Dr Sally Gouldstone, Seilich

Dec 02, 2022Alexandra Borthwick

It takes a lot to turn your back on a dragon, especially one who could send cash your way. But when a famous Dragon’s Den name made Sally an offer, she turned it down. Because she didn’t feel they shared her ethos that putting back into nature comes before money. For over 20 years Sally worked in conservation, settling in Edinburgh to work on Scottish plant conservation at the Royal Botanics. When her daughter Willow was born, she needed work that fit around a little one but was there was more. “I wanted my little girl to grow up in a world surrounded by nature, seeing colourful flowers, to hear birdsong and the hum of bees but my research had taught me that this was looking less and less likely”, she says.

So, she rented a couple of acres of land, put baby Willow in a sling and set about establishing a wildflower meadow. She invested in a traditional essential oil still to distil oils from the plants she was growing. This enabled her to start selling natural skincare products the botanical extracts made from the meadow, and Seilich Botanicals was born. Seilich (pronounced shay-lich) being Gaelic for Willow. “I hope to show that you can build a sustainable business that not only makes beautiful products from nature but that actually leaves nature in a better place than when it started.” This last bit is crucial. In an industry where greenwashing is rife, because of the way Sally grows and harvests her products, Seilich is the first company in the UK to get a Wildlife Friendly Certification. In the next few years Sally hopes to expand to 10 acres which would provide an amazing space for wildlife and allow her to produce more skincare products. Looks like the Dragon’s loss is nature’s gain.

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