A businesswoman has launched a new retail venture bringing together artists and makers.

Ali Aldis opened Artisans Hub this spring, with the help of a Covid recovery grant from Braintree Council.

She has been welcoming a steady stream of customers ever since.

The hard-working mum was struck down with Covid in March 2020 and was left with breathing problems following her struggles.

However, it was through her trouble the Artisans Hub was born.

Ali said: "Until then I had been working with my husband in his gardening business. Then I was ill for eight months with long Covid.

“I couldn’t go back to work so in May I started making candles, then I set up a website and that went well.”

Last Autumn, she discovered Blake House in Blake End, Rayne, which is home to a range of small businesses including a yarn shop, café, dolls house shop, bike repairs, dancewear, and antiques.

Struggling to fill her shop with just her own candles, Ali decided to open it up to others, hence the name Artisans Hub.

She said: “I thought it would be nice to share the shop with other local makers and artists. We have one artist who teaches print making in Cambridge – she is my sister-in-law.

“Another woman from Dunmow does stadium prints, and she is my top seller.”

Ali also stocks eco jewellery, cushions made by herself, wax melts and burner, and cards.  

Braintree Council economic growth boss Tom Cunningham said: “We are working to support new and existing businesses in Braintree district to help them thrive in the post-Covid times with a range of packages to suit their individual needs.”