Tag Archives: markets

Christmas and how you spend your dollars

Christmas, not only is it coming faster and faster each year, the retail push to spend, spend spend is increasing.

But before you pop down to your local big name retailer this Christmas have a look at the alternatives. Namely people like yourselves who are trying to get their small businesses started.

A solid Christmas sale can mean so much to an independent label. Not only is it valuable money the morale and confidence boost it can offer is far greater.

So take a look at


local markets (the Sydney Morning Herald has a quick round up across all states here)

and your local independent stores. You will find individual gifts that can be so much more exciting than the bland big corporate offerings.

So take a look around and see if you can make this Christmas a handmade Christmas.

image via etsy


Hong Kong Fabric markets – Sham Shui Po

Hong Kong fabric and trims markets is choc o block filled to the rafters with fabrics, zips, buttons, trims and just absolutely everything you think you might need to get garments made.

It also has it’s own wikipedia page see here and a cute write up with fabulous photos was recently posted on the Polkaros blog. Photos from Polkaros

Oxford st and the Paddington markets

On Saturday we took a walk up Oxford St to the Paddington markets. These are my closest markets yet I rarely get a chance to go as I am so often working on a Saturday.

However it was a warm sunny winter day and we thought it would be a nice morning out.

On the way up it was disappointing to see empty shops, shops closing down and even those who were having half yearly sales looked like they were doing the very bare minimum when it came to window display and instore presence.

There were even shop assistants standing in the doorways smoking and making it so you would have had to ask them to move put of the way for you to get into the store.

All in all it was really depressing and certainly not encouraging anyone to go in and spend money.

The most saddening part was that the markets were even worse!

Lots of empty spaces, less than a handful of stalls to get food ( what happened to the great vegetarian pastry place???) many stalls which are exactly the same as they have been for the last 15 years.

It was dull, the stock was set out in the most uninspiring ways and clothing wise you choose from childrenswear, designs that look like they were imported cheap from China or middle aged womenswear.

The entire street and the markets all  seem to be scraping by on the glory they used to have. It was not the vibrant happening fashion centre it used to be.

How did this happen?

– Bondi Junction was redeveloped with a Westfield
– the city was redeveloped with a Westfield
– some of the designer stores moved out, some replaced with bargain basement fashion or even worse seconds stores
– rents staid high
– the markets are content with their regulars and not taking on enough new designers

But it is also more than outside factors it’s also

– the shops aren’t trying. I mean designer stores whose mid year sales are advertised with signs it looks like you created in word and printed on your home printer?
– complete lack of exciting design of windows or instore display
– staff who don’t care. When you do walk in they don’t talk to you and that’s when you can get past them smoking at the front door
– not enough food places that are interesting enough to get people to come for breakfast/brunch/lunch and then go shopping

I’d really love Sydney to have a more vital retail scene that can sustain emerging and existing designers that is exciting to go to and makes you want to spend money. Apart from twice yearly markets like the Finders Keepers we don’t have that at the moment.
Let’s hope councils, store owners and designers cam get together and come up with more ways to make this happen or the homogeneity of fashion will continue as everyone just shops from the very basic big name chain stores as they don’t know where else to go?

holidays and 5 things Friday

Recently a few of my scheduled posts didn’t go up as planned while I’ve been away on holidays, apologies for the gaps but never fear the posts have been moved so you’ll get all the information soon.

Am back from holidays and in that weird head space where you are torn between wanting to stay on holidays and wanting to get back into all my work at a million miles an hour as the holiday was so inspiring.

Will share more about my holidays and inspiration soon but till then here’s 5 things that caught my eye this week

1. How to Screenprint poster found via CMYBacon and available here

2. Photojojo shows you how you only need 5 things to make your own photo studio at home.

3. Pandagram found via Swiss Miss allows you to view instagram photos  on your ipad. Too cute for words!

4. Quiltish share tips on how to get a better display at your next markets or fair.

5. Local label Bento who have a very brave and honest blog, show full transparency in the pricing structure of their t-shirts. We wish them well with their label and approach to the industry.

The Finders Keepers markets this weekend

If a blog could set homework then I’d be setting the attendance of Finders Keepers markets as a Fail or Pass grade. Get along and have a look at some of the most talented designers, artists and crafters Australia has.

Direct from their website

The next Sydney markets will be Autumn/Winter 2011 held on the evening of Friday 20th and all day Saturday 21st May 2011. The markets will be held at Sydney’s best contemporary art centre CarriageWorks in Sydney’s Inner West.

The Finders Keepers Markets are a bi-annual FREE event that showcases the work of over 60 emerging designers and artists from both local designers to areas all around Australia. In addition to design & art we also showcase some local musicians at our Finders Keepers stage.

The next markets are:
Friday 20th May from 6pm – 10pm
Saturday 21st May from 10am – 5pm

More details and a map can be found on their website.

Why sales are bad for your brand.

Last Wednesday I talked about how sales can be a great way to encourage some brand loyalty and increase sales and awareness of your brand.

Today is all about how sales can be bad for your brand, or to be more specific how too many sales can be bad for your brand.

Everyone loves a bargain and that’s fine but if every time a customer comes to your site/store/market stall you are having a sale then you will teach them to never pay full price for a product. Big chain stores fall into this trap all the time. If you are in a big brand store and think “oh that’s really cute, ouch it’s a bit more than I can afford…oh no matter it’ll be on sale next week this store always has sales” then that store is teaching you to never pay full price for it’s products.

Which is fine if you are a big brand and can survive on the sheer volume of products that you well. But if you are a small boutique business then you cannot afford to fall into the never ending sale trap.

How to avoid the trap

  • clearly define periods in the year when you will have sales
  • market these in the lead up time to the actual sale
  • make your sales worthwhile. Not all products have to be discounted by the same margin but those that you are discounting by the highest margin make them stand out and highlight them in the sale marketing
  • just because your products are going on sale don’t replace them with junk product. This sometimes happens and it is a bad idea. A sale is coming up and in order to make a quick buck people produce product purely for the sale that is not to their usual standard. Don’t do it. If a loyal customer buys and gets junk they will be disappointed and not so loyal next time. If a new customer buys it and gets junk they won’t ever buy again.

Some sales are good, too many sales cheapen your brand, walk the fine line between and you will have happy supportive customers who are loyal to your brand.

Hong Kong Fabric markets

If anyone has been to one my classes to learn how to start your own label you might’ve heard me talk about the Hong Kong fabric markets. These markets are open to the public so anyone can go and they are huge. Streets and streets of tiny places crammed with fabrics.

Recently I came across a blog which has some great write up and photos of these amazing fabric markets

For more photos and information head across to A Pair and a SpareRummaging at the Sham Shui Po Fabric Market or Sham Shui Po DIY heaven.

Don’t forget to check with customs before you head off and buy up big to ensure you won’t be getting hit with too many taxes on the way back in or even worse not be allowed to bring some of your goods in.