In 2018 after 30 years, the Jewell family closed the Thurlby Herb Farm chapter of their lives. The current owners, the Butlin and Seccombe families have been involved in farming essential oils on the east and west coast of Australia for many years and felt Thurlby Herb Farm offered them a unique opportunity. With other business interests in the area and a love of the south coast of WA, continuing to make the beautiful handmade Thurlby products and supporting the local region was a simple decision.
Before sea or tree changes became fashionable, the Jewell family escaped a hectic city lifestyle for the ancient southern forests of Walpole, 420 kilometres south of Perth, Western Australia.
As part of life in the country, they began growing herbs, making soaps and potpourris from their thriving garden. Garden gifts and soaps (made on the wood fired stove in the kitchen) were so popular with friends, it planted a seed for a potential business opportunity.
And so the idea of Thurlby Herb Farm was sown, established as a small family business, nourished and grew.
Originally, Thurlby sold potted herbs. In the past though, there was little consumer demand for herb plants, so value needed to be added. The herbs and flowers grown in the garden were soon being used in a variety of fragrant products such as Herb Pillows and potpourris.
The business started in a very small way selling handmade products at local markets and regional shows. Supplying Gift shops in Perth was the next step as Thurlby developed a wider range of products aimed at the tourist and gift markets.
“Early on, we set ourselves the task of doing one thing towards producing saleable products each day, interspersed with the work of having two young children and our commitments to the small local community.
It soon became clear that there was more work than we could manage, so we employed someone for one day per week. Not long after this we took on a full time employee as well. Now the treadmill really started to turn and more time needed to be devoted to marketing.”
(Penny Jewell, founder of Thurlby)
Thurlby now attends four wholesale Gift Trade Fairs each year in the major cities of Australia, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. We currently supply over 900 retail outlets in Australia and export our handmade products to Europe, Asia and New Zealand and have an online shop.