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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • October 2017
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Partners in your well-being — Sweet Willow Naturals supports your holistic wellness

when one considers “retail,” a typically unflattering vison may come to mind. Fluorescent lighting, disinterested associates and the unwelcomed cash register are all things we’ve encountered while shopping. Walk into Sweet Willow Naturals, and the wonderful smells and uplifting environment are refreshing. But this is only the beginning when it comes to differences in this shop and typical retail experiences.

Owners Mary Radue, Heather Herdman and Lynn Green, along with their one employee, Dana Schlies, intentionally created this environment. The camaraderie between the four is evident, and visitors feel as though they’re sharing time at home with friends rather than in a retail location. In this scenario, the “friends” happen to be highly knowledgeable about all things natural, and want to partner with you to share their knowledge.

“We’re a retail store, but our mission really is service and education,” Mary says. “We want to help people understand what’s going on with their health, and partner with the person to see if lifestyle changes could be considered.”

“We try to meet people where they are — someone might want to buy $250 in essential oils. We encourage them to learn about one or two oils and find many ways to use one oil, rather than buying an oil for every different use,” Heather says. “Lynn says the same about herbs. Trust the herbalist who knows 100 things to do with one herb, rather than one thing to do with 100 different herbs.”

Their mission is backed up by their education. Mary’s academic background is in psychology and education; she holds coach certifications in integrative nutrition and eating psychology, and is currently working toward her health coach certification from the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy. Heather and Lynn come from professional nursing backgrounds; Heather holds a doctorate, Lynn has a master’s degree and maintains a nurse practitioner practice. Heather is a clinical aromatherapist, has completed massage school and has taken numerous courses on herbs and essential oils. She’s currently enrolled in a 1000-hour immersive herbal course. Lynn is a long-time master herbalist, which she uses in conjunction with her advanced nursing and medical knowledge. She has studied with internationally recognized integrative health specialists, such as Drs. Tieraona Low Dog and Andrew Weil, and is well-known regionally and across professional groups as an expert in herbal and integrative health care. Dana is a certified herbalist, completing specialized herb courses for women and children. As a mother of three young children, she integrates herbs and sound nutritional principles into her family’s life. Continuing education is a way of life for these women!

“Evidence-based practice is integral to who we are; we don’t recommend something that doesn’t have research behind it. Many people aren’t aware there can be interactions with essential oils or herbs and medications. We share that, and encourage people to talk with their health care providers. We hear things that have no research support — essential oils do not cure cancer, but there are folks out there saying they do. We try to educate,” Heather explains.

“Nature isn’t always nice — you wouldn’t lie in poison ivy, right? So why use herbs or essential oils without knowing how they work and any cautions you should consider? These are natural medicines with chemical properties, and should be used carefully — the same way we should use Western medicine,” Mary adds. “We’re known to talk someone out of buying something when we don’t have evidence to support a particular use.”

“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.” —John Ruskin

Balance in lifestyle is important to the women at Sweet Willow Naturals, but their approach to quality and integrity of products is non-negotiable. “We source local, quality products,” Heather says, “with proper labeling and appropriate ingredients sourced from reputable places. We try as much as possible to supply organic herbs. If we can’t find what we need locally, we go to reputable regional suppliers. We try to stay as close to Green Bay as possible, because sustainability is part of our mission.”

Twenty-four tea varieties are blended in-house to promote health in areas such as: sleep, stress, anxiety, digestion, breastfeeding, etc. “We do a lot of custom blending for people,” Lynn says. “Sometimes it’s making a flavorful beverage, and sometimes it’s to promote health so we can blend something especially for them.”

The store offers a variety of ethically grown, harvested and distributed products, including more than 170 high-quality, organic or wild harvested herbs and spices sold by the ounce (also available in bulk). A full line of do-it-yourself products is available, including organic carrier oils, salts, clays, etc. Natural skin care products; Sweet Willow Natural’s own line of infant/child products, natural salves, tinctures and liniments; a variety of natural soaps, lotions, shampoos and deodorants are available. The store has its own line of spice blends, chai, cocoa, and other culinary goodies too.

Sweet Willow Naturals provides a large variety of 100 percent pure essential oils, featuring a brand which performs gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to test and confirm purity. “It’s the only way to know that what’s supposed to be in the bottle, really is in the bottle,” Heather says. Many aromatherapy products, including essential oil diffusers, are available. Just as significantly, the group provides invaluable information regarding safe essential oil use.

The store promotes recycling and reuse by encouraging visitors to reuse to the containers they purchase and bring them back for a refill (or bring your own container in and they’ll fill it!).

Empowerment is a word used carefully by the team at Sweet Willow Naturals — they believe that people hold their own power to support their unique journeys — instead, the notion of providing knowledge to partner in their visitors’ health and well-being is their No. 1 priority.

“In a nutshell, we’re very curious people,” Mary explains. “We’re not judgmental, we don’t tell people what to do, we ask questions to understand the bigger picture: ‘Tell me your story. How are you nourishing yourself with food, movement, sleep and relaxation? How are you managing stress?’ Then we can educate.”

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” —William Butler Yeats

Visitors also enjoy classes designed to support well-being (see sidebar for upcoming classes!), and take advantage of health promotion services offered. These include health & wellness coaching, massage therapy, herbal and aromatherapy personal consults. Appointments can be made in person or by phone, and take place in private rooms available at the store.

“We provide lots of classes, including how to use garden herbs for health and in cooking, and how to use herbs for each body system,” Dana says. “For example, we’ve offered classes on herbs for making toothpaste, mouthwash and for gum issues. You can learn to make herb-infused body care products. For kids, antimicrobial items, such as first aid ointments, cough syrup, cough drops, teas and soups are great.”

“We’ve offered classes on making soap, body butters, lip balms… how to use essential oils — where they come from, how they’re processed, how to use them safely. We’ve had instructors offer classes on sound bowls for meditation, and Ayurveda and its health care tradition,” Mary adds.

Sweet Willow Naturals encourages custom creation of classes. The staff can develop a class (or “tea time chat”) with your own interests in mind. A group of 4-10 people is ideal, so participants can interact and ask questions. Some examples of previous custom-designed classes include: general health promotion, understanding our relationship with food and letting go of the “diet mentality,” tea blending, safely using essential oils, and using herbs as foods.

“Our classes are fun and laid back, not overwhelming,” Dana says. “We share information and always like to have treats to try. I recently brought medicinal gummy bears made with a strong tea infusion, cherry juice and gelatin. They’re fun for kids, but the adults also loved them.”

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” —Charles Dickens

The Sweet Willow Naturals team has a philosophy based on balance and holistic health. They support mind, body and spirit, living in the moment, and finding joy in simple things. Humor is in no shortage within the shop. In fact, these women find contentment in laughing — at themselves.

“We have a retail horror story,” Mary laughs. “It was our first summer in the old store, and I was alone that day. We had our infused oils in glass bottles hanging on this shelf on the wall… and it came flying down. Glass and oil went everywhere! It ended up being a defining moment for our working together; we learned we don’t get bent out of shape, and we found humor in what could have been a catastrophe.”

“We take one day at a time, and really enjoy ourselves,” Heather says. 

“Our primary mission is education. We want to teach people to proactively manage their own health, rather than having to rely on someone else to do it for them.” —Heather Herdman, RN, PhD

Mary, Heather, Lynn and Dana have a love of sharing knowledge and supporting others in taking their well-being into their own hands — literally. See below for the fall and winter lineup, or call the shop to set up a custom class for your group of friends and family!

  • October 11: Let’s Dance – Intro to Nia
  • October 12: DIY Herbal Salves and Lip Balms
  • October 18: Essential Oil Safety – Use Those Drops Wisely
  • October 21: DIY Herbal Salves and Lip Balms
  • October 24: Gremlin Training
  • October 26: DIY Lotion Bars & Body Butters
  • November 9: Strengths Spotting
  • November 13: I’ve Run Out of Sheep and I Still Can’t Sleep!
  • November 16: Soap Making
  • December 2: Make Your Own Aromatherapy Jewelry
  • December 5: Done with Dieting
  • December 9: DIY Windowsill Herb Gardens
  • December 11: Herbal Treats & Sweets

For more classes, details and to register, please visit www.sweetwillownaturals.com/category_11/classes.htm, call 920-530-1188 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Slow down and stay a while…

“Our location features a tea bar where you can come and grab a delightful cup of tea and a yummy, healthy snack! We encourage you to sit down for a spell, sip your tea and chat with us!”


Sweet Willow Naturals

1541 Bellevue Street, Suite 3

Green Bay

920-530-1188

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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