Our story begins with a market, $7.00, and a dream...
It was late 1997 at the Yarra Glen Market in Victoria. Julie was browsing the stalls and stumbled across the book 'How to make your own aromatherapy soaps' by Elizabeth Wright. Since a young age, Julie had collected soap. She would grate up her Mother’s soap and mix it into balls, as well as create rose water by boiling up rose petals. However, she had always wondered how people made soap from scratch. Opening her purse, she found that she had the exact amount for the book, $7. That day in 1997, she found her passion.
In 1998, Julie turned her pastry cooking skills toward soap and the first batch was made (coconut oil soap with the addition of lavender flowers). By late 2002 Julie had her first market stall at St Andrews Market with 2 card tables. This became routine, waking up early every Saturday morning with 3 small children in tow.
After becoming a bit of a regular, Julie called her business ‘Soapbox Hill’. She expanded her markets and stocked a few shops in the process. Over time, the original name changed to Urthly Organics, Julie moved to Central Victoria, products came and went, and a strong fanbase was formed. All while still working out of her home.
In 2018, Urthly Organics was up for a rebrand and an opportunity to take their 20+ years of hard work to the whole nation. Julie’s 79-year-old Mother happened to take up painting at a similar time, which created a new family partnership. Julie’s Mum would create a work of art that was then turned into the product packaging. The rebrand created a new era for Urthly Organics. The team expanded, monthly donations to local organisations began, and Urthly Organics moved out of the home to East Bendigo.
Which brings us to now. Since 1997, we have come a long way. But some things have stayed the same such as sourcing local, fair trade, ethically sourced ingredients, natural colourants, and essential oils. It still brings great joy when someone orders a product we have made. This inspires us to continue evolving to better our products for the environment and customers.
Here's a little preview of our progress:
Julie at St Andrews Market, 2005
Julie at St Andrews Market 2012
Julie at Urthly Organics Headquarters in East Bendigo, 2020