By Beth Doherty
Twitter:@bethdmedia / @new_valleynews
Instagram: @bethdohertymedia / @newvalleynews

The pandemic hasn’t stopped local artisans from creating. Wiltshire Makers, a new online shop, showcases small businesses working from their homes, kitchens, and studios to create gift boxes packed with locally made treats.

Launched in November 2020, the website currently displays seven artisans: The Magnificent Seed, Wessex Spirits, Ta Mako Espresso, Utta Nutta, Alexander Chocolate, Wilding’s Snacks and Sincerest, and hopes to showcase up to 150 Wiltshire makers during the year.

New Valley News spoke to director Claire Burden about their plans for the future.

Before the pandemic, local artisans were showcased at 36, a shop on Salisbury High Street for independent businesses.

“If the pandemic had not happened, that shop would probably still be open,” said Claire.

With many non-essential shops closed, she decided to take the concept online.

“We have some exciting plans to create a variety of online gift boxes. Our gift tags are sustainable – once you are finished with them you can plant them in the garden and wildflowers will grow!”

For Valentine’s Day, Wiltshire Makers will have handmade chocolate boxes, and are currently sourcing local products for Easter and Mother’s Day.

“We have a strong support mechanism behind us, so if you are a struggling artisan, get in touch and we can help with pop-up shop advice, or how to get your business up and running,” Claire promised.

With national chains leaving high streets, Claire thinks it will be up to the artisans to fill the gaps.

“We aspire to return to the high street as pop up shops are the future for Wiltshire Makers. Bigger brands are leaving empty shops in many cities, and I believe it will be down to local artisans to fill those.”