Former teacher opens new shop on Debenham High Street

Mel Barker-Reid has recently opened a new shop on Debenham High Street

Former Teacher Mel Barker-Reid has recently opened a new shop on Debenham High Street - Credit: Mel Barker-Reid

A former teacher has opened a new shop on Debenham High Street and says it "feels fantastic to be here".

Mel Barker-Reid, who has been running Armadillo Holistic Therapies for the past two years, opened her doors to the town yesterday.

She said: "It has been a bit of an evolution to get here. I was at Stonham Barns for a bit, and then I got a room upstairs in Meraki Hair for therapies. 

"Then the opportunity came up to share some space in a shop on the high street, and I decided to take it. 

"We have three women's businesses all sharing the space: The florist Robbin's Flowers, a vintage and new clothing shop, and I'm running the Armadillo shop.

"We stock gorgeous jumbo bath bombs, homemade soap from Savon de Marseille and Green Man Soaps, bamboo travel coffee mugs, Himalayan bath salts and a wide range of essential oils. 

"All of it is fair trade."

Mel has jumbo bath bombs for sale 

Among the products are these jumbo bath bombs - Credit: Armadillo Holistic Therapies

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She continued: "I'm very excited about the space.

"Yesterday, on the first day I opened it was 18C. It felt like being abroad, in a French market. People were coming in smiling, saying they loved the smell. 

"It feels fantastic to be here — I live in Debenham and my children go to school here. For me, being at the heart of my community is so much nicer."

Also on the shelves are a wide variety of essential oils 

Also on the shelves are a wide variety of essential oils - Credit: Armadillo Holistic Therapies

Speaking about how she got into the industry, Ms Barker-Reid revealed: "I was a teacher for 20 years, so I'm quite new to it all.

"I've wanted to do holistic therapy since I was 17, but I did well in my A-levels so went off to uni instead.

"I worked in retail as a student and I really like this kind of product, and believe in a holistic approach to health."

The shop also sells various crystal products

The shop also sells various crystal products - Credit: Armadillo Holistic Therapies

"It is not instead of conventional medicine, it is on top of it" she added, saying "when I lived in Istanbul, I loved all the handmade soap and Turkish bath stuff, which also inspired me."

 "I only started the business in the last two years as I wanted and needed to spend more time with my children.  

"I felt like I wanted to be part of a solution that makes people feel better. People really need that at the moment."