FARM Soap Co
Shaftesbury Store 1A Bell Street, Shaftesbury, SP7 8AR, UK
- Small batch handmade soaps.
- Vintage textiles and baskets.
- A selection of books & gifts.
1A Bell Street
What we love
A small thatched cottage is home to charming seaside shop, Farm. The shop showcases locally-made Farm Soap Co handmade soaps and botanical skincare goods, alongside a beautiful selection of vintage textiles, baskets, and practical, crafted goods and gifts.
ABOUT THE SHOP
What makes FARM so unique?
FARM is a seaside shop in the ancient village of Abbotsbury, on the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage site which is protected by UNESCO. I wanted to create an interesting store in what is predominantly a seaside tourist village which is busy with visitors during the summer, high days and holidays.
FARM is quite unique because of the amount of care and thought that has gone into creating a shop in a small, thatched cottage, and filling it with beautiful, practical, crafted goods and finds, both old and new.
"The pandemic made everyone, especially those in isolated rural or coastal communities, realise how important small, independent shops are – for food, drink, necessities and chatter. They are the lifeblood of neighbourhood creation – without them villages and towns become soulless, empty and dark."
Is there a story behind the shop name?
I manufacture botanical skincare products, soaps and toiletries under the brand name of Farm Soap Co. and FARM is an extension of that. It’s all about products that have artisan manufacture behind them, grown, made, preserved and born from the human imagination and hand.
What are your best-selling or “must-have” products?
Well, online, which has now been going for two years, the two bestsellers are the seaweed soaps and the sea salt soaps. Being so close to such wonderful beaches (Chesil Beach, Cogden Beach, Ringstead Bay, Lulworth Cove, Osmington Beach, Portland Beach etc) it’s no wonder really.
About the shopkeeper
Veteran retail maestro, skincare product maker and author of Natural Skincare For All Seasons (Pavilion Books) Silvana de Soissons.
Why did you open FARM?
Abbotsbury is a small, sleepy village which is visited by thousands of visitors who, every year, come to see the sub-tropical gardens, the swannery, ancient chapel, monastic ruins and the church, as well as the beach. It attracts thousands of ramblers and walkers that walk the South West Coastal Path.
I wanted to create the sort of shop that I like to visit when I am on holiday – filled with local and regional and handmade products as well as the botanical skincare and toiletry products we make at Farm Soap Co .
When you are on holiday it’s so nice to buy something different and special, either for yourself or as a gift – beautiful handmade cards or prints, embroidered textile products, special herbal teas, hand poured scented candles or single variety preserves make really covetable treats for that time of the year which is all about wellbeing and relaxation.
I am so inspired by holidays in my homeland, Italy, where seaside villages and towns on the Riviera always have lovely local shops, as well as destination restaurants and cafes. The Italians really know how to celebrate and make the most of seaside tourism fun and magic.
What inspires you?
The great shops, the great retailers, the great merchandisers and visual displayers. The old school really – Santa Maria Novella, Ortigia, Porto, A Vida Portuguesa , Merci , 10 Corso Como, Conran, Floris, Berry Brothers & Rudd.
My biggest inspiration is plants – everything about sowing, growing, harvesting them and using them really.
What did you do before having your own shop?
I worked in shops! I had a shop in Bath and then I was the Retail Manager at The Newt in Somerset, creating their Farm Shop and House and Garden Shop.
What are your favorite local independent businesses?
I love the shops in Bridport, Dorset – Malabar Trading , Yellow Gorse , the Bridport Market , Soulshine Café and Bakery, all the second hand book stores and new bookstores too. Groves of Bridport is an excellent plant nursery. In nearby Lyme Regis everyone loves Molesworth & Bird , Ryder and Hope , the Monmouth Pantry and Ginger Beer. In Beaminster there’s Brassica Mercantile Shop, Little Toller bookstore and Rambling Rose Florist. In Poundbury there is Cherryade , a wonderful lifestyle store, and an excellent farm shop called Brace of Butchers .
To let our shop visitors know the best places to visit in Dorset I have printed out a list so that we can drive footfall to lots of small, independent businesses.
What are your favorite shops or markets?
So many….. Bon , Veritecoeur, Cabbages & Roses, Margaret Howell, Toast, Egg , Daylesford Farm, Bamford, Couverture, Labour And Wait , La Fromagerie, Roullier White, Baileys Home , LON The Store, Aran Bakery, A G Hendy & Co , Catherine’s Hill and the independent market in Frome, Spitalfields in London, Sant Ambrogio market in Florence and Rialto market in Venice. Lordship Lane in East Dulwich London is fantastic – a rare example of a London village filled with excellent little shops – from cheesemonger Mons to plant shop Pearspring and Franklin’s Farm Shop for groceries.
Which are your favorite Instagram Accounts? @thehambledon and @objectsofuse and @gonzalezygonzalezstore and @march.sf and @levestiairedejeanne and @rennes._ and @bontucson and @ cinq.kyoko and @cloveandcreek and @avidaportuguesa and @veritecoeur_shop and @veritecoeur_atelier and @plaingoodsshop and @tiinathestore and @tulsishop and @eggtrading and @homesong _ market I could go on and on!
ON THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
"The retail sector is facing a great deal of strain at the moment – Brexit, Covid, the war in Ukraine, a cost of living crisis…Unfortunately the blows keep coming.
Retail will always be there in a blended mix of online, bricks and mortar shops, pop up shops, markets and destination events. We have seen the hospitality sector and retail converge – cafes and restaurants now have areas where they sell merchandise, and lots of shops have café areas inside or outside. Human beings love to socialize, go shopping, experience beautiful shops and come away with something useful or beautiful or both. Retail will continue – but the key is to keep products relevant, new, different and interesting. Keeping it special, unique, personal will require constant change, development and ingenuity."