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Local Business Spotlight - Branche d’Olive - Gifts & Life Style Accessories

on Sat, 01/12/2012 - 3:11pm

Recently, I posted about the broad range of local businesses that are based in Sparsholt & Westcot (see the post <here>); this month Jane Comyn and Ruth Watson tell us about their business, Branche d'Olive, which specialises in gifts and life style accessories.

If you know of a local business or if you run/work at a local business that you would like to tell the community about (or if you think it's a bad idea and you have a better one), please let me know: get in touch by clicking <contact>.


Local Business - Branche d'Olive

Locals, Jane Comyn and Ruth Watson, started their business by importing Marseilles soap from Provence, which they then hand-wrapped at their kitchen tables.

Jane recalls: “at our first trade fair, we had a tiny stand with just two sizes of soap in twelve fragrances and… 1000 order forms… which we confidently expected to use. We offered the soaps wrapped or unwrapped, individually or in pairs, stack packed, a large plus a small etc. We returned, three days later, with 988 unused order forms!"

Now, some nine years later, that original product base has developed into a broad range of gifts and life style accessories including:  pomanders, room diffusers, candles, bath products, wardrobe fragrances, draining soap dishes and hand towels.

Having outgrown their kitchen tables, Jane and Ruth now operate the business from premises in Wantage with full time staff fulfilling orders for 350 stockists nationwide; these include Liberty, Fortnum & Mason, Blenheim Palace and Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. Future developments include exhibiting in the British Pavilion at New York’s International Gift Fair in January 2013.

Branche d’Olive also has a retail arm.  Ruth explains: “originally we expected only to supply the trade, hotels and visitor attractions, but because of demand, we have a retail web site: and a retail space at our Elms Farm warehouse (address and hours of opening below) which displays our full product range, along with special offers, end of lines and some seconds”. 

Christmas favourites include room diffusers in twelve different fragrances (Branche d’Olive were amongst the first to bring this product to Britain, some eight years ago), the beautifully boxed Silver heart pomander and, new this year, a charming ceramic Putti medallion; made of pumice stone and available in two fragrances, which can be hung in a wardrobe or bathroom, car or even Christmas tree.

Twice a year, Charity Weeks are held at Elms Farm.  This year’s Christmas Charity Week is 3rd-7th December with 10% of all sales going to Multiple Sclerosis Research. 

  • Unit 2a, Elms Farm, Grove Road, Wantage OX12 7LP,
    Open 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday
  • Telephone sales and trade enquiries: 01235 771254