Christmas. Sorted. A (last minute) independent gift guide 2016

I’m going to cut right to it this year  – Christmas on a Sunday is incredibly deceptive. I keep telling people – “oh but Christmas is on the weekend, you’ve got heaps of time”. Until you realise this means until Christmas. So in true Small Talk tradition, I scoured our interview archives and found ventures new and old brimming with last minute gift ideas. Last dash generic gift cards be-gone! There is a goldmine of awesome independant makers,  sellers and workshop hosts who are much more prepared for Christmas than I, with discounts, express post and gift wrapping offers flying left right and centre. Let’s walk…

A pad subscription for your lady-friends Tsuno – Ros

Ok, so maybe pads arent the first thing you think to gift to a lady friend, but Tsuno lady friends are extra special cos they get pads – and – give pads to ladies in need. Tsuno also runs a subscription service for the gift that keeps on giving.


A delightful spot dish for boxing day sushi feasts Three Lives – Eloise

Eloise Rapp is one classy lady-entrepreneur, extending her own textiles label RAPP to launch Three Lives in 2015. Born from a love of global bathing culture, the Three Lives ethos celebrates global connectivity, low-impact living and an affinity with the elements. The Hagiyaki spot dish is a delightful way to say you care.


A blingin’ purse Mumma Goose – Caitlyn & Jenni

A Gippsland favourite, Mumma Goose has you covered this Christmas – try this blingin’ purse from Make Me Iconic


A cute indoor plant Nature Boy Nrth – Ruth

How about this sweet ceramic planter and indoor plant set from Melbourne’s own Nature Boy Nrth?

A stunning pendant for your home WOWOWA – Monique & Scott

Ok, ok so maybe you a beautiful new home or renovation is a bit extravangant a gift just for Christmas, but you can snap up one (or two, or a whole flock) of WOWOWA’s stunning Rosella pendants from Rakumba


A ballsy pendant for your neck NannaB.x – Barbara

These stunning gold peppery speckles match your champagne darllllling. A must have piece of festive season cheer


A pair of rad foot tubes that express who you really are Unempire – Zoe

From Zoe: “WHAT’S THIS THEN? LOOKS LIKE A HEAPS GOOD GIFT TO US. PEEPS LIKE GETTING GIFTS. WHY NOT GIVE A COOL PERSON YOU LIKE THIS ONE.” Unempire are also express post and giftwrapping, meaning you really only have to lift one finger, and thats the one that hits the ‘add to cart’ button.

A calligraphy workshop Floralovely – Louise

Louise is a frequent flyer - hosting calligraphy workshops in Brisbane, Sydney, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Melbourne & Adelaide. Click through to find out what's coming next.

Louise is a frequent flyer – hosting calligraphy workshops in Brisbane, Sydney, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Melbourne & Adelaide. Click through to find out what’s coming next.


A foraging adventure with Autumn Harvest – Christopher

Share in Chris' enthusiasm for mushrooms with a foraging tour. Tours depart Melbourne area March-June so book in early and you might have even recovered from that Christmas food coma by the time it comes around

Share in Chris’ enthusiasm for mushrooms with a foraging tour. Tours depart Melbourne area March-June so book in early and you might have even recovered from that Christmas food coma by the time it comes around

Amy O’Brien is a Doctor of Chinese Medicine

Amy, looking rather coy, but as always on message – that message? “Life is just too short to feel anything less than fabulous.”


Amy O’Brien is a doctor of Chinese Medicine and self described fabulous health guru. Amy hails from Melbourne, where she studied and practiced before taking two courageous life ‘leaps’ at once; moving to across the country to Perth, and establishing her own private practice. When Bhalo first referred Amy to me, it’s was the courage behind these two decisions that drew to find out more about  Fabulous Health, and the lovely lady behind it. In the process of compiling this interview over the last few months I have enjoyed very much ‘getting to know’ Amy across various social medias, with her enthusiasm for her practice positively beaming out at me from across the country. Amy has a genuine love for solving your health conundrums and exudes joy across the inter-webs with her thoughtful and honest advice. Read on to find out more about Amy’s experiences – how she got started in Chinese Medicine, her lifelong dedication to learning, and her number one guilty pleasure (hint:  it’s still pretty good for you in the scheme of things).

 **a quick reminder to please fill out ST&Co.’s first annual reader survey (it’s super short, easy, and there’s prizes!)

Owner: Amy O’Brien

Business: Fabulous Health

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Samara Greenwood is an Architect

Samara Greenwood and Anna Castles outside SGArch’s studio/pavilion.


Samara Greenwood Architecture is a young, boutique architectural practice focused on creating homes with heart. Under Samara’s direction, the team have an approach to design that is without pretense and is firmly focused on people – their hopes, dreams and everyday way of life. Samara has created a practice of ‘design philosophy’ that places you at it’s centre. It’s not often you meet an architect, or indeed any professional who makes it their first priority to listen to what you have to say, but Samara has made it her business to practice in this way.  ‘Listen’ and ‘Heart’ are two words I have never before come across in an architectural mission statement, but ones which I think we should be hearing more of. Read on to find out what Samara had to share about going out on your own, practicing business with heart, and the increasingly popular Dream Home Workshops.

I was privileged to interview Samara as a guest contributor over at Creative Women’s Circle. Samara has been gracious enough to answer a few extra questions for Small Talk readers! Check out my other posts for CWC here.

Owner: Samara Greenwood

Business: Samara Greenwood Architecture

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Fox Woods is a UX Designer

Fox Woods is a UX Designer

Fox Woods is a freelance user experience designer (see Fox’s response at Q3 if that terminology goes right over your head like it did mine the first time I heard it), founder of the Milkshake Collective, co-founder of GirlsClub, dog owner, self confessed child of hippies, and as of very (very) recently, mother. I caught up with Fox back in October to chat about work, life, opportunities, and what it means to find ‘flow’ in what you do for a living. I have to admit to having held a pretty significant girl crush on Fox since I first met her through GirlsClub earlier this year, so excuse the gushing that follows…

‘UX Designer’ can only begin to describe the depth of Fox’s work experience in web tech over the past decade, working across a variety of roles in the field of ‘making the internet happen’. There came a point however, where Fox found herself again looking for more challenging and rewarding work, but also hoping interviewers wouldn’t call her back. This realisation, and the subsequent acceptance of this new need for freedom of work/life lead Fox to ‘take the leap’, to quit her job and find the space to understand what it was she wanted to do next. What happened after that? Well, you’ll just have to keep reading…

Owner: Fox Woods

Business: The Milkshake Collective

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Megan Davis | Spendlove and Lamb

Megan hard at work – Image credit Noel Smyth


Megan's part time homebase, Nest Coworking, Thornbury

Megan’s part time homebase, Nest Coworking, Thornbury. Nest was founded by Jay Chubb, a Melbourne entrepreneur with a background in critical theory, community development, political advocacy, social change, and scuba diving. Nest is a product of Jay’s passion for good people, great ideas, and a better future. via Nest Coworking. Image credit Noel Smyth

If I seem scarily enthusiastic during today’s interview it’s not just because Megan is awesome (because she is) and has worked with some of my favorite social enterprises (because she has), but for the familiar way in which her story and experiences are shared by a lot of young creatives like myself. People who are always asking more of themselves and their work, looking to navigate the path of defining who they are and what they can do with the power of that knowledge. To say that Megan has successfully done so would be an understatement, and meeting her gave me great optimism in the intuitive ‘do it your own’ way approach to finding work you love.

Describing herself as the ‘lead storyteller’ of Spendlove and Lamb, Megan’s natural communications and networking skills lead her from a career in graphic design to find a niche in a new wave of social media communication, working with businesses to build strategy and harness the right tools for authentic social media relationships.  Offering consulting, site training and digital strategy development, Spendlove and Lamb has recently launched Twitterversity, a Twitter specific workshop series that aims to teach business owners how to break down the barriers to audience engagement.

Prior to starting her own business, Megan quit her graphic design job and spent six months couch surfing relatives and friends in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia, documenting her period of homelessness by photographing her bed each night and sharing it via The Bed Blog.

Acknowledging that you never really know someone until you’ve lived with them, Megan credits is this period of ‘trying on other peoples lives’ for the insights she gained that were ultimately part of the learning process of who she was and where she wanted to go next.

About halfway through her period of homelessness Megan became aware of the power of this process of elimination in defining her self, that by living with and experiencing other people’s lives she was able to define her own path. Like many, Megan had expected the external experience of travel to broaden her horizons, but found that it was this internal process, an experiment living in other people’s shoes that taught the most valuable lessons.

With new focus, Megan returned to Australia to find more about where these new experiences and interests would lead her. Advocating an intuitive discovery process, Spendlove and Lamb now offers a training and personal coaching service to help others along this path to self-discovery.

One of Spendlove and Lamb’s first success stories was working with the School of Life pop up in Melbourne, managing their communications and taking their Instagram following from 1 to 1000 during the short pop up period(!). Other former clients include Veronica Grow’s Old School New School for Typography and Design, Pop Union and the Projection Room. All are examples of Spendlove and Lamb’s ideal clients, working to make the world a little bit better everyday.

I visited Megan at her part time homebase, Nest Coworking space in Thornbury, a cosy cross disciplinary space that lives up it its name, offering independent workers shared resources, space and community support.

Business: Spendlove and Lamb

Owner: Megan Davis

Location: Melbourne, and online


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Kate McMahon | Gidget Media

Kate’s workspace, note the full inbox ~ Image via Gidget Media

Kate McMahon is a freelance Copywriter and Marketing Consultant specialising in the arts, education and not-for-profit sectors. Kate describes her ideal clients as ‘businesses with heart’, and it’s hard not too see where that has rubbed off in the way Gidget Media embraces it’s client briefs. Kate’s blog on Gidget Media is an impressive feat, breaking down the big ideas around online marketing into bite sized morsels for  those of us with more training in ‘heart’ than business. Kate’s interview is a must read for any small business entrepreneur.

Business: Gidget Media

Owner: Kate McMahon

Location: Melbourne, and online

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Sherise Fleming is a photographer

Self portrait


Sherise Fleming is in love with photography, and this passion is evident in her stunning images – capturing the love between family, friends, partners and pets. But loving your subject is nothing without a love for the process of what you do – Sherise is in love with the no-day-is-ever-the-same reality of being your own boss, and the ultimate challenge of being creative for a living. This very humble and talented entrepreneur divides her time between Gippsland and Melbourne, photographing all the best bits of lives well lived.


Fast facts

Business:  Sherise Fleming | Photographer

Location: Gippsland and Melbourne, Victoria


What you do?

I am a photographer. I started my photography career working in the commercial sector , but now focus my creative energy on capturing beautiful families and documenting weddings. I am based in Melbourne but travel all over for work, and especially love getting back to my home town in Gippsland, so I market myself in this area too. 

In love – an engagement shoot in Melbourne CBD

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