Charlotte Harding talks to a Lewes woman about the inspiration behind her subscription boxes.
Everyone is always so busy. When was the last time you just stopped and enjoyed a good book without distractions or a cup of tea without the telly on?
For Donna Hay, founder of WILDWOMAN and GozenGirls, it took a particular period of loss to make her stop and take stock.
“I was working in marketing and there was a time where I lost a number of close family and friends,” she says.
“But for me it was a process, they die, you go to the funeral and that was it. I never really processed what was happening. I just kept going.
“The catalyst was when one of my friends killed themselves and it just made me realise that I had to stop and take some time for myself.”
Donna embarked on an eight-week meditation and mindfulness course, where at the end she was given the book ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’, and she says it changed her life.
“I then started to spend more time in the nonfiction section of book shops looking at self help and development books and started talking to friends about them,” she says.
“When one mentioned about starting a book club it clicked and GozenGirls book club was started two years ago with the club still going strong in Brighton.
“Each month there is a book, but you don’t have to read it, as I would have. We have a discussion about the themes in it and the main points, then there is a 30 to 60 minute workshop about the themes in the book so you will feel as if you have read it. It is to enlightening.
“I want people to have deep and vulnerable conversations so they can connect on a number of levels.”
When another friend mentioned subscription boxes Donna came up with the idea for WILDWOMAN.
Inside the box is a book, a journal prompt and exercises, an affirmation card, a gift that makes you stop and destress and a magazine which includes a letter from Donna, a note on the author and meet the maker.
“In the first box they receive they get a journal,” explains Donna.
“They say that for a self help book to go in you need to action it so you need to do the exercises, put in post it notes or scribble in the margin. You need to engage in the book.
“With the gift I try and get it from a small independent business. So one month we had a bracelet with ‘breath’ on.”
Each month the box has a different theme and in the past these have focussed on work and career, and anxiety.
“It is a little gift to yourself each month where you can set aside some me time, be that reading the book, enjoying the gift or journaling,” she enthuses.
“When I package up the boxes I feel like I am sending out a gift to all these women.”
There is the normal subscription and the VIP one that gives you access to a special Facebook group where it has author Q&As and you get a new journal every four months and a tote bag.
Since its launch in August the 100 boxes have sold out each month, and Donna has received orders from New Zealand, Australia and Denmark.
To pick the books Donna has had meetings with publishers and gets a catalogue that she goes through to order them.
“The books are usually new ones or ones that haven’t got huge distribution in the UK so that I know the people won’t have read them,” says Donna.
“I just want to inspire and empower women.”
For a one off £30, subscription £28.50, VIP £38 with £3.99 postage and packing.
The deadline to receive the following month’s box is the 21st of the month if you subscribe on the 22nd you will get the month afters box.
Donna is offering etc readers 10 per cent off either a one-off purchase, monthly subscription or three/six/12 month prepay subscription just enter code WILDWOMAN10
For more information on GozenGirls, visit gozengirls.com and for WILDWOMAN visit www.iamawildwoman.com
Pictures: Emma Croman
This feature was in the November edition of etc Magazine to see what else is in there, click here