Best Aussie StallholdersHalo Soy Candles.
Halo Soy Candles use soy wax, which is a product of soya beans, as it has a better scent throw than traditional wax-- this means the wax holds the essential oil throughout the candle media and releases scent in a measured, sustained manner. Also, soy wax burns at a lower temperature than other waxes, so it is safer, and you can actually touch the melted wax without being burned. So you might see masseuses using soy wax in massage to impart aromatherapy scents.
Two of the most popular scented candles are the essential sleep blend, which was originally created for an aunt, and once presented to the market has taken off as a viable selling proposition. Another handmade scent is simply called love-- and has a distinct therapeutic value as engaging and relaxing.
Using aromatherapy blends has proven especially successful, as buyers like to see a clear benefit for themselves away from the generic features of the soy wax itself. Findhandmade.com. au likes how highlighting the benefits for your customers works out as a sales tool-- and Halo Candles have clear descriptions which aromatherapy blend works for particular states.
Floral and Spot.
Raylee has just moved into bricks and mortar retail industry-- opening an outlet as part of a handmade collective in a building once occupied by that bastion of bourgeois David Jones. And belonging of a pop-up shop scene alongside other handmade artisans selling jewellery and handmade soap is a great way to establish a more permanent brand presence. Its as though handmade is entwined with the renaissance of main street retail and is an organic fit for projects like Renew Australia re-activating empty spaces in town.
Raylee has established for herself a workspace where she can actually do work on the production of her designs in the quiet moments in between selling retail-- and it makes for great shop-theatre to see the dressmaker/designer hunched over her fabric, holding pins in her mouth. There's something reassuringly old-fashioned about watching an artisan at work and seeing pieces of fabric come to life as fashion.
Most weekends Raylee is selling dresses-- but she also has a brisk trade selling online-- with a facebook page busy with updates. In fact, Raylee uploads each item she creates to facebook so customers are able to flicker through her catalogue and make a buying decision on the go. With most of her orders though word of mouth, Floral and Spot simply sells itself with new customers asking "what are you wearing and where did you get it?".
The Charlie Middleton line is simple, minus the bling decorations of chasing temporary trends, but instead just presenting well fashioned handmade leather goods. Ben says that using reliable materials and approaches is what people are choosing. As for getting meaningful feedback and having the ability to test new models-- it is as much a challenge to know who to pay attention to-- as it is to prevail when you are on an advantage.
Ben functions from his Bondi office weekdays and is out and about at markets most weekends-- and his workload just keeps growing. Designing handmade items like purses and tote bags takes time, and Ben's production schedule is a challenge-- some days he will sell multiple products in different colors-- then not sell the same product line for a week or so. The uncertain nature of developing handmade products on an artisan scope to meet the desires of retail sales is almost impossible to think about.
The Little Red
As Kristy has hung around at markets her merchandise offering has changed to meet what individuals are requesting. In the eight months she has worked The Little Red, Kristy began marketing cloth and fabric earrings, using brightly colored examples of fabric sourced from all over the place to make striking earrings. But as any market-goer will advise you, the jewellery industry is well and truly drenched with competitiveness and it was a side project of timber products that have sparked a lot of interest.
"Lots of other stallholders have access to these great fabrics so there was that challenge-- but also the wood items were selling well and we were getting so much encouragement from customers that it sort of naturally pulled us that way.".
The Little Red timber is sourced by Dan and together they find the patterns and shapes from all over the internet-- this is a nonstop search to find the new patterns and styles as the existing patterns become aged and customers are always wanting "new" and "different" designs. Experiments with different stains and colors and effects also add other elements and variety to the merchandises.
Art of Happiness.
"If you are in it, you are in it, no matter how much you try, or cover up or pretend it just won't work." There is a real "of course" moment immediately, as though genuine authenticity and passionate originality can not be learned, or copied or faked. You are either in or you are not. It is quite intimidating to apply this to my current project, or my own life. Very confronting and almost begs self-contemplation and that cruel reflection "do I really belong here?" And I quietly sit back as Sofan continues, sharing her observations and revealing that she is in the final stages of having the book she is writing finished and expecting publication later in 2014.
I look around and see the busy venture of stallholders and shoppers walking past with bags hanging from their arms, full of handmade products. Yes, I think I belong here. I do belong here. Sofan continues to explain her philosophy on why markets and stallholders are in revival. People are tired of the disconnect between overseas production of goods and the shopping center model of meaningless consumption once it gets here.
The move to handmade appreciation is built upon the idea "if you are a genuine creative producer it shines through, and it will be valued for a long time" instead of consume-throw-away-repeat. By producing your own product people appreciate and value it more than just another piece of plastic and this is what people at the markets are seeking-- a connection to permanence and lasting value instead of cheap disposable nothingness.
Wild Things Clay.
Being honest with your personal style does not mean being set with your actual products-- Susan moved from jewellery to homewares to meet her evolving customer profile as she moved away from online towards one-on-one at the markets.
After cutting her teeth making small jewellery pieces with a view to online selling and the realities of affordable shipping firmly in mind-- Susan found she was drifting away from what she really liked to create, as well as entering a saturated market (jewellery) filled with highly competitive, established products.
So she reset her goals and instead of making small easy to ship items, Susan moved more in to homewares and cups, plates and bowls. Selling less items but at higher prices means Susan is making the most of increased turnover, and also actually making more money for the amount of time spent working. A definite win both ways.