Welcome to the world of Wild Celia a new luxury range of six botanically enriched reed diffusers and fragranced candles. We are inspired by the botanicals of nature.
We are committed to sourcing safe and effective ingredients, which are of the highest quality and cause no harm to animals nor the environment. Conscious by nature, the range is committed to a philosophy of formulating with non-GMO ingredients, against animal testing, 100% soy wax and is vegan-friendly.
How did it all begin?
Arriving in London in 2006, Marleen’s journey began in retail where she worked in the beauty apothecary at Harrods, and which later led to an exciting career with an array of brands including: Aromatherapy Associates, Neom, Rodial, L’Occitane, Nailberry, 111skin and Estelle & Thild. Her passion for fragrances (a self-confessed, constant candle burner!) led Marleen on what was to be a ‘mission impossible’, where she felt that the market was saturated with many home fragrance brands; but saw repetition in the offering. Wishing to create her own compelling range focusing on botanical inspiration, the nostalgia of the nomads and fond moments, she set about sourcing a special selection of hand-picked ingredients – unique to South Africa. Wild Celia is a brand name which stems directly from both Marleen’s grandmother and mother – Celia and the reference to Wild indicates ingredients of personal interest, that are one-of-a-kind and rarely used in lifestyle scenting.
What sets your business apart?
Wild Celia Home Fragrances are infused with never-used-before fragrances.
What is the concept behind your business or the problem you’re solving?
Using hand-picked, unusual botanicals to create unique and luxurious home fragrances
Where to next/What is your brand vision?
To grow at a sustainable pace and keep producing products that my clients love.
Marleen du Preez
What do you feel passionate about/what drives you?
My passions do change, but at the moment I am very much passionate about personal growth. Being a more rounded person, living in the moment, and facing my fears with grace.
Share an example of early life that has shaped you?
When I was 5 or 6 years old, my father went to Swaziland for business, and on his return handed me a plastic bag full Marula fruit, which he bought on his way back. I remember looking inside and inhaling the spicy, fruity fermented scent of the Marula fruit. It is our signature scent and when I burn it, it brings such fond memories of my childhood and the love I felt from my father.
Highlights of your business journey so far?
When Wild Celia was just a thought, I was so fortunate to meet some of the most amazing people in the industry who gave my dream so much love and attention — more than I ever imagined a small start-up would receive. I recall having a massive breakdown after meeting a key retailer who didn’t like the then packaging. I retreated into my shell and doubted myself. The packaging designer (Paul Cartwright) I worked with chased me for feedback, and as I was at such a low point, he had to chase me several times before receiving my response. Instead of giving up with me, he emailed solutions and new designs without me having to ask. I still thank him for not giving up when I did, and for pulling me through a challenging time.
Key lessons you have learned along the way?
Outsource, but take ownership. Cheaper isn’t better.
Best piece of advice you have received?
Change your perception, your thoughts are only your thoughts, so please don’t believe everything you think.
Advice to an aspiring entrepreneur or woman just starting her career?
Don’t think that you need a brilliant plan, or a lot of cash to start your own business! Take the first step, send the email, ask the question and make moves. One move will lead you to the next. Be humble, be kind, and you will be surprised how supportive people will be to help you in achieving your goals.
What funding route have you chosen for your business and why?
My brand is the fruit of side hustling and is self funded. As a start-up no funding is currently needed, but once I am ready to scale I will review my options
Some of the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?
Working 9-5 gives me very little time to focus on my own brand so I constantly remind myself of the value of time – what can I do in five minutes? What can I do in thirty minutes? I realised that I do have time, it is just about how I prioritise and use it that makes the difference.
Why is it important to support women-led business?
Women are a rising force in business, yet women entrepreneurs are under-represented in traditional media. If we want to see a change, we have to be the change, and really support other women-led businesses by shouting about the achievements and successes. We have to rely on each other to collaborate in a business world which is unfortunately still an Alpha culture.
Marleen du Preez
My inspiration is...
Those who succeed with the odds against them!
My greatest fear is...
That I will reach the age of 90 realising that I didn't experience enough of this beautiful world.
The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is...
Leaving South Africa with a one way ticket to Europe with only €150 in my bank account. I have never looked back!
Mantra you live by?
Just do it!
Female role model?
Women-led brand you love?
Top productivity tool?
Wild Celia has created a SPECIAL OFFER exclusively for Women's Chapter Members