You can plan for a certain future and end up in a totally different place. Here's the good news: whatever state you are in today, you can find wellness and joy.
After graduating from King's College London, I qualified and practiced as a clinical pharmacist, worked in consulting, earned my doctorate, served in executive positions in public service, instructed aspiring health practitioners, wrote books and articles, and travelled. These days, however, I am neither employed in healthcare, education nor the public sector. I am the founder of Peace Lily Gifts.
I experienced three events a few years ago that would change the course of my life. Shortly after moving and surrounded by unpacked boxes, I woke up unable to move. My lower back and legs had gone on vacation and left the rest of me behind. There followed what was at the time thought to be a very bad flu that severely affected my breathing, and I then experienced loss and grief.
Healing and Recovery
As I recovered from these events, I found wellness and wholeness in nature, specifically plants.
Being in Gloucestershire surrounded by beautiful commons, forests and hills, I have fallen in love with being outdoors. I have also rediscovered my love of walking and gardening (with raised planters) and growing produce, that it is not uncommon for me to insist my guests leave with a tomato plant or freshly dug carrots. I adore giving gifts [and receiving them].
On my healing journey, I also learned to let go of all prior plans. I knew life could not and would not be the same. I pondered my purpose - what I could do to contribute positively to lives at scale and bring joy - and remain healthy and connected at the same time.
As I was preparing gifts for some family and realising how much joy they received from them, it dawned on me that I could replicate this for others. Peace Lily Gifts emerged from that simple moment of inspiration. I would share spreading of joy through local wholesome products that enhanced wellbeing for individuals, and did good for the environment and society. I'd draw inspiration from nature for how gifts should make us feel and for the aesthetics.
After the few years we’ve all had, it feels more important than ever for us to celebrate each other - family, friends, colleagues, teams, neighbours - and whilst doing that make connections with and support ethically minded and passionate artisans and small businesses across the UK alongside our favourite established brands that continue to do good. Peace Lily gift box hampers help us do that. Simply put, your gifting choice that makes you feel good, looks good, and does good.
It's turning out to be an amazing combination of many loves: giving, nature, people, and spreading joy and goodness.
It has also required a great deal of hard work, time, flexibility, and openness to new opportunities, in turn leading to great things. Although I am experiencing flow creatively with the company, there have been some obstacles, including the formation of the group and a certain social media algorithm taking issue with the ginger ale in the gourmet food hampers! These events have led me to rethink aspects of the business, its customer base, and marketing strategy.
Having piloted directly to customers, and received great encouraging reviews, I know that the hampers are beautiful, bring joy and goodness to people's lives and do good by promoting ethical practices, supporting artisans, small businesses and the environment. There is an untapped market in supplying the hampers to businesses and corporations that care about their employees. I really believe that many people can benefit from these gift box hampers. To get this enterprise off the ground, I must remain passionate and persevere.
It’s early days.
I can nevertheless appreciate and embrace the journey. I'm grateful for the unexpected kindness and support I've received. By accumulating such a diverse set of experiences first, overcoming challenges and finding joy along the way, I know I am well equipped to run this business and enhance lives and society.
Whatever the season, let's spread joy and bring hope. What can you do right now to brighten your or someone else's day? :)