Jessie Hart started making healing products not only to help heal others. She desperately needs to heal herself. Here she explains why two fundraising campaigns are aimed at helping her on both a professional and personal level…
Putting out a ‘personal plea’ on social media, alongside a JustGiving page, was a huge step for Jessie Hart, who runs Hart Healing Kitchen in Framlingham, Suffolk. By doing so, she was putting her deeply personal story out there for all to read.
The 30 year old, who is married with two children, aged three and five, has fibromyalgia and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
She also has a slipped disc in her cervical spine at C5 and a positional lesion at C1. Why? As she writes on her JustGiving page, both issues in her spine are a result of being violently raped at the age of 18.
Her page is not an easy read as that wasn’t even the start of her traumas. At 15 she was groomed and abused by a family friend for more than a year.
Suffice to say, by 21 a catalogue of traumas started to show physical manifestations, and, after months of tests, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, anorexia and depression.
It was around this time that Jessie met her husband-to-be, Nathan, who has showed her unconditional love throughout and has looked after her without question.
And when she fell pregnant with both children, her health improved dramatically. ‘For five years I was without any medication and without any severe symptoms,’ notes Jessie.
Then, in March of last year, whilst having cranial osteopathy, she was suddenly faced with her traumas all over again, and it put her mind and body into shock.
In her desperation, she recalls: ‘I got into crystal healing and essential oil healing while I was searching for anything to help me and one morning started making some healing products.’
And just over a year ago she started Hart Healing Kitchen, making healing bath salts with pink Himalayan pink rock salts, Epsom salts and essential oils. ‘I wanted to help others and help myself.’
However, by October Jessie wasn’t able to look after the children or function properly, so she went to her GP, who put her on medication for the pain and anxiety, referred her to a pain clinic and advised her that she was experiencing Complex PTSD. By Christmas she was struggling to walk and kept having falls.
Then 2020 arrived and we all know what happened in March. At the start of the pandemic, Jessie posted on a community Facebook page, announcing that Hart Healing Kitchen was to open as a shop in the town.
‘I wanted to give them hope for something certain, a new and exciting business and I got a really lovely response from everybody. Everyone has been really supportive in the town.’
The shop opened on July 4 and so far, says Jessie, ‘it’s gone really well – so much more than expected. It was a scary time to open but there are a lot of tourists in Framlingham, with the castle – it’s a really lovely market town.’
Over the summer she had customers coming from London, Norfolk and Essex, and the local community have been right behind her, too. ‘We’ve got an army of support here,’ says Jessie. ‘It’s incredible really and we are really grateful.’
Her products include a luxury range of coconut and rapeseed candles and healing cosmetics. All are eco-friendly and sustainable, as Jessie says: ‘I think a lot of people are wanting to be more eco-conscious and are wanting to make small steps and changes.
‘The jar candles are refillable, the labels are from recycled paper, my liquid hand soaps are in aluminium pump bottles and the reed diffuser bottles are also refillable.
Jessie also makes moisturisers. ‘A lot of people are saying to me they are becoming a lot more conscious of the products they are using. They are very interested in essential oil healing and are thinking beyond taking tablets, which I think is brilliant.
‘I’m constantly researching oils and making lots of new recipes and products. I love it.’ She’s made bath salts with honeysuckle oil, which has been something of a triumph. ‘It’s so difficult to find,’ says Jessie.
So far so good, on the shop front. However, Jessie’s medication has been increased to the highest doses, she spends many days bedridden and sleeping, and Nathan, a carpenter by trade, had to quit his business and start a new one where he can work from home to enable him to care for me and look after the children. His new business is Evo Steel, which makes specialist custom Japanese knives and chopping boards.
‘It’s been really lovely,’ says Jessie. ‘We are both very creative and we’ve both been able to start something which makes us happy.’
And yet she has spent the last 18 months living a debilitated life. Via a friend, she discovered an intensive three-day treatment course called the Lightening Process, which teaches people how to retrain their neural pathways and redirect pain signals.
It costs £800. ‘We can’t afford it at all,’ says Jessie. ‘We’ve got three children and are in the middle of this Covid crisis. I’m disabled, my husband is trying to look after me and help me run this business.’
It was ‘scary’ going public with the JustGiving page, as she points out: ‘A year ago my husband didn’t even know about the traumas I’d been through.
‘It did take a few months to tell him.’ But she adds: ‘It’s made us so much stronger together and I felt so supported. He gets it now. He understands it now.’
They’ve been together for eight years this month. ‘He is pretty wonderful – I do feel very lucky he does a lot. Nothing is ever too much.’
But what about telling the rest of the world? ‘It was a huge step to take and I struggled after starting the page and releasing it into social media, but the response has been mind-blowing and incredible,’ says Jessie. ‘My friends and people around me have been really supportive.’
Other people have also been in touch, sharing their own stories. Jessie says: ‘It gives them hope that they can do something with their lives.’
There is also a more recent Crowdfunding campaign for Hart Healing Kitchen itself. Jessie says: ‘Another reason I want to do the Lightning Process is that there’s so much I want to do.
‘I want to go bigger and further with the business. The whole ethos I’m trying to put out there is that it is possible to make a high quality product that is not synthetic at all but is really healing and healthy and you can get good results. Plus it’s good for the environment. We all need to be making big changes and I’ve found such an amazing community of eco businesses in Suffolk.’
‘With the personal plea I want to be better for myself and my children. For the business it’s bigger than that. I want to make an impact on people and the planet.’