Independent organic health food store Wild Honey has added to its portfolio with a third branch positioned on one of ‘Oxford’s loveliest streets’.
With existing locations in Summertown and East Oxford, co-founders Matt Sage and Jessica Howie always wanted a branch in Little Clarendon Street but were waiting for the right time and premises. “As great believers in seven-year cycles, we opened the new store seven years to the week since opening our first,” explains Sage.
The street connects the neighbourhood of Jericho with the centre of Oxford and is a lively area within the heart of the University. “With term time being so short, we felt opening our shop here might be something of a risk, but also trusted that the local community would take us to their hearts,” says Sage. And so far, he says, this is proving to be the case: “Of the three shops, this one has by far the most footfall. It is also the smallest of our stores but – like the others – has a really lovely feel. We love to beautify all of the shops with pretty and unusual things we pick up on our travels.”
people are finally starting to turn away from mass-market, chain stores and looking for more human-scale connection
The store has similar stock mix to the other branches, with locally-made products, organic food, wine, fresh produce and ethically-sourced vitamins and supplements, as well as a wide range of ‘lovely and bespoke things you won’t find anywhere else’. In addition, it is the exclusive stockists in Oxford for Organic Pharmacy and Evolve Organic Beauty skincare products.
“There is definitely a familiar feel to all of our shops: beautiful, wholesome and welcoming, but each one also has its own individual character and style to reflect the area in which it is situated,” comments Sage. “We are authentic in our desire to be an integral part of the communities we serve, and service is very much our primary aim.
“During the past two years, it seems to me that people are finally starting to turn away from mass-market, chain stores and looking for more human-scale connection and interaction. A soulful experience is something we see as being as vital as the things that people are buying from us, and it is this that we also seek to provide.
“In line with this, as a small, independent business, we are extremely responsive to customer requests and needs. People will often ask us to stock something, and the next week they will find it on the shelves! Although we very much see ourselves as curators – and our customers have come to trust in our brand and our choices – we are also led by them and their tastes. It is very much a two-way flow. We are small enough to be able to be highly adaptive in this way, and it serves both us and our customers very well.”