IT is brave to open a new business in the middle of the pandemic – but Carlee Wakefield hopes that it is the right time for her new Warminster town centre shop, Iris and Olive – the first Deepest Wiltshire stockist in the west Wiltshire town.
She is focusing on products that are sustainable, many by makers and artisans from the south and west, plus selected books, many sourced through Bookspeed, a family-owned wholesaler which specialises in independent books and publishers, and is run on inclusive and sustainable lines.
The attractive little shop, in former Specsavers premises, is near the town’s Athenaeum Centre and popular Cafe Journal.
Carlee, who was in the army for some years, plans to offer a range of workshops and classes upstairs, and to serve coffee and tea, when the Covid-19 crisis is over, and social distancing rules are relaxed.
The range of goods includes handmade chocolate, baby and children’s clothes designed to be handed down not discarded after one child, hand-made soaps, and specially selected teas and hand-prepared drinking chocolate. She describes her ethos as “thoughtful gifting and community. We stock brands that are either made in the UK, are handmade, directly benefit the people who make the products or are purchased from responsible suppliers.”
Looking ahead to a time after lockdown, Carlee is hoping to run events in the shop, including talks by local writers. Planned workshops include beeswax wrap making, flower arrangements, screen printing, calligraphy workshops, etc.
Carlee, who comes originally from Australia, was in the Adjutants General Corps and finished her time attached to 5 Rifles. After an injury, she left the army, but continues to work as a civil servant, at the Warminster Garrison. Her partner Matt is in the same Corps, currently serving at Colerne where he is regimental administration officer. Her mother, who lives in Brisbane, is helping with the shop – she is making silk scrunchies, a useful accessory in lockdown when nobody can get their hair cut!