Shop Local: Seeing businesses grow and improve is ‘only something you can witness when you support small’, say Handmade in Harpenden

Henry and Farhana explained that Christmas for them, like with many other businesses, could be make or break. Picture...

Henry and Farhana explained that Christmas for them, like with many other businesses, could be make or break. Picture: Handmade in Harpenden - Credit: Archant

The wider effects of our district’s shops having to shut their doors are being felt not only by the businesses themselves, but their equally local and independent suppliers.

Henry and Farhana established Handmade in Harpenden in 2017. Picture: Handmade in Harpenden

Henry and Farhana established Handmade in Harpenden in 2017. Picture: Handmade in Harpenden - Credit: Archant

Fragrance-focused Handmade in Harpenden was founded by Henry Draine and Farhana Haque in 2017, and is distributed in shops across Hertfordshire, including Threads in Harpenden and St Albans-based Raindrops on Roses, Carpenters Farm Shop and Smallford Farm Shop.

“At this time of year, our calendar is normally packed with Christmas markets and events,” said Henry. “As most of our business comes from events, our biggest challenge right now is pivoting from face-to-face to online sales.

“At this time of year, our calendar is normally packed with Christmas markets and events." Picture: Handmade in Harpenden

“At this time of year, our calendar is normally packed with Christmas markets and events." Picture: Handmade in Harpenden - Credit: Archant

“Sadly, we don’t have a shop where customers can come and smell our whole range of scented products, so we rely on events to allow people to get some ‘nose-time’.”

Farhana added: “Our whole year relies on the Christmas season as our type of products are incredibly seasonal. With most to all events cancelled since March, we really are hoping our pivot to online works out and gets us, hopefully, back to normal next year.”

Dedicated to living a clean, sustainable way of life, the duo created Handmade in Harpenden to share their custom blended...

Dedicated to living a clean, sustainable way of life, the duo created Handmade in Harpenden to share their custom blended fragrances and plant-based creations with the world, while pledging to only source materials from the UK. Picture: Handmade in Harpenden - Credit: Archant


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Explaining that Christmas is make or break for them as with many other businesses, Henry and Farhana worry that independents that have a gift focus like Handmade in Harpenden won’t experience the busy end of year trade before a generally quieter new year.

“Large well funded online marketplaces such as Amazon and ASOS will all make it through as they have huge profit lines,” Farhana continued. “Small businesses don’t have that, so supporting small and independent businesses helps local individuals as opposed to international shareholders.”

“Sadly, we don’t have a shop where customers can come and smell our whole range of scented products, so we rely on events...

“Sadly, we don’t have a shop where customers can come and smell our whole range of scented products, so we rely on events to allow people to get some ‘nose-time’." Picture: Handmade in Harpenden - Credit: Archant

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The duo added: “Supporting an independent business helps your local economy and community. You not only benefit from their products but you get to see the direct impact to your support as they grow and improve their business.

“For many of us that is hugely satisfying and only something you can witness when you support small.”

Handmade in Harpenden only use UK based manufacturers for glassware and other materials to support other British industries.

Handmade in Harpenden only use UK based manufacturers for glassware and other materials to support other British industries. Picture: Handmade in Harpenden - Credit: Archant

As well as the satisfaction of supporting a local independent business, all of Handmade in Harpenden’s products are GMO-free and completely vegan-friendly. They also completely avoid soy wax, as soy crops are one of the largest contributors to deforestation globally.

Henry said: “We only use UK-based manufacturers for our glassware and other materials, which really does help to support British industry at an important time.

The team work hard to also offer a subscription and refill scheme, which enables you to reuse your jars to help waste less.

To order directly from Handmade in Harpenden, visit handmadeinharpenden.com

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