Sunday, 27 July 2008

sinking sorrows in sunday spending

One of my closest friends has really pissed me off in the last couple of weeks and the result today was a bit of (can't afford) retail splurging. Luckily most of the splurge is going towards making new stuff to sell but I also came home with the little roofed display cupboard pictured above. I haven't decided whether it's going to stay upstairs or go on the wall in the shop. The shop option appears fraught with problems at the moment..... people keep wanting to buy the props and the display cases. It's actually annoying  me a bit, I want to yell at people that they should go and find their own stuff instead of letting someone else do their hunting for them. 
So what else did I buy today?
A pile of (op)pressed glass plates, those plates with the pattern created on the reverse side with little pimples of glass. I fell in love with some new ones a while a go and then realised they were cheap as chips in all the op-shops. Why buy one new one when you can get a dozen for the same price? I had originally intended getting the new ones to sell in the shop but I don't know whether I like that idea now. Hunting is so much more fun. 

The naughty rabbit, above, who appears to have taken residence in the new cabinet, is a fabulous Jenny Bartholomew piece from her exhibition at Craft Vic last year. She's made from an old work glove. I'll photograph her properly one day. She's a hoot.

And this piece of stunning fabric broke the bank. 50s bark cloth, an Italianate garden, gorgeous. Bound for cushions and bags I think.

I've been in a quandary for sometime trying to design and decide about Xmas stock. Should I buy stock in, do the gift fairs, go commercial? I just can't go down that path. I just can't stock stuff that everyone else has, it goes against what I want to do with the shop. I've also had people suggesting I send designs out to be done in places like Bali and I find myself getting really upset when I think about that. I have to remind myself how pleased everyone who comes into the shop is when they find out that everything is made here in Melbourne. There are a couple of things I do want to stock in the shop that are handmade by people overseas but I comfort myself with the knowledge that no-one here is doing this type of product and that makes me feel better. Oh, the joys of retail.


  1. Love the house-shaped cabinet, good find! And good on you for keeping the work in Melbourne... it's in the name after all.

  2. Bali, indeed.


    What's wrong with people?

    I get twaddle like that all the time. The other one is 'you really should sell these at markets', which never fails to invoke the temptation to do violence.

    You need to collect like-minded people whose work you respect and who make their own, and put their stuff in your shop.

    I have plans to offer you some bears.

    Just a thought.

  3. annie stick to your guns, you're doing grrreat.
    maybe you could train up a young star to assist you..?
    here's a store in the uk that's well respected - all handmade in uk
    but I think you're doing your own special thing and there wouldn't be many people whose work would compliment yours well enough, without you eventually looking like every other 'boutique' on the high street. perhaps hand pick just one or two... or train up someone who gets your thing and can work to help you...? xxx e

  4. ps; would like to see more of the rude rabbit

  5. Keep the faith miss penpen!
    you are a treasure, a one off original, just like all the work in your shop, and we're all the better for having you be just that. Feel completely free to tell people who advise the path most travelled to bugger right off, frequently!!!

  6. I really want to leave an eloquent comment on this post, but I have written and re-written and everything I write is sounding very politically incorrect. So here goes (again). I feel there is something very advantageous about those who use overseas labour to produce "their" handmade goods. I struggle with the idea that a woman in less than ideal economic circumstances is being paid a pittance so as someone else can make a huge mark-up on this womans skills. Granted, it is probably an income which these people gratefully accept, but it just doesn't sit well with me. Perhaps because I make everything I sell? I have to come clean on that one. And because of the prices that I then compete against with goods made overseas. Nine times out of ten they are always cheaper, even though I think my prices are more than reasonable. Perhaps because I like to know that when I purchase something that is handmade that often there is a face and a soul behind it.
    So please, keep selling the real hand made stuff!

  7. ........and on that note, I think it is about time (very soon) that I tell you the story of the newspaper bags we use in the shop.........


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