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

Ryan Murtagh makes the invisible visible (and so can you!)  

This post is brought to you by Telstra

As regular readers of Small Talk & Co. would know, I cannot curb my enthusiasm for the stories of inspiring entrepreneurs from across Australia (and apologies for any past abuses of hyperbole!). However there are some great local businesses I support avidly, but cannot profile on Small Talk. I call you my invisibles – they who cannot be named – who boast brilliant founder stories, and bright and innovative products and services – but whose businesses have no online presence or sales platform. I have to thank Telstra Business for this opportunity to add-on to the usual ST&Co. interview format and weave a little visibility magic in the lead up to this Christmas period.

Ryan Murtagh is an entrepreneur – Image courtesy of Neto

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Louise Mulhall is a Calligrapher

Louise Mulhall_1


Louise Mulhall is a Brisbane based Calligrapher and holder of possibly the most delightful business name I’ve yet encountered – Floralovely. With a background in floristry, it’s not surprising the find that Louise’s whimsical and fresh designs have attracted a strong Instagram and Facebook following, with demand growing for her pointed pen style.

Returning to an art practice that you had once been disappointed by is a courageous move – especially with a young family in tow. But Louise’s late night explorations in modern calligraphy have paid off handsomely, as her delightful creations are in demand for weddings, events and corporate clients. Louise also runs workshops across the east coast, to share her skills and passion with aspiring calligraphers.


Owner: Louise Mulhall

Business: Floralovely


I was privileged to interview Louise as a guest contributor over at Creative Women’s Circle. Check out my other posts for CWC here.

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Simon and Tom // Envelope


Envelope was founded by Simon Baldwin and Tom Holt long-time friends and fellow innovation nerds in the design, tech, and social space. Simon Chamberlain, an experienced entrepreneur and investor, provided the initial seed capital to launch the business.


Envelope was born of necessity, a very modern (and good looking) solution to an old problem; wedding gift registries. In less than twelve months, these long time friends have bootstrapped an idea created for Simon’s own wedding, learnt importance of customer communication in real time at one of Melbourne’s biggest wedding fairs, and launched Envelope, answering the cries of many to-be-weds  for a well designed and easy to use platform that bridges that awkward conversation with your family and friends – asking for money.

From Simon: Like so many couples these days, a traditional store-based or retail registry didn’t really suit our needs. We wanted flexibility and a way to include both objects, as well as experiences on our registry. While there are a few online registries like this out there, we just didn’t like the way they worked. We’d spent so much time getting the wedding to look and feel a certain way, we wanted our registry to be just as personal. Just as beautiful and just as thoughtful.

 So I asked Tom, one of my groomsmen (and now co-founder), to help build us a site we could use to ask for contributions towards our honeymoon in Europe.

 After the wedding, five or six of our guests asked if they could use the platform for their own weddings. At that moment, myself and Tom thought we were onto something and Envelope was born.


Owner: Simon Baldwin and Tom Holt


To celebrate their launch, Envelope are going to match one lucky couple’s registry value dollar for dollar. Just create a registry and you’re in the running!

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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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Celebrating 10 Interviews!

Event | CraftCubed Festival August 2014

What do you know when you see three rhinos wearing matching tshirts? They are all on the same team!

What do you know when you see three rhinos wearing matching tshirts?
They are all on the same team! *Boom* | Rhino friend courtesy of Craft Victoria, own adaptation for use.

Got a passion for your craft? Or a great idea lurking in the back of your mind, just waiting to burst out into the light of day?

As a highly qualified doctor-type *cough* I think a good dose of CraftCubed is just what you need.

Craft Cubed is Craft Victoria’s annual festival of experimental, skilled and ideas-based craft and design. Featuring exhibitions, installations, open studios, workshops and events, Craft Cubed is a unique umbrella for practitioners and the public to engage with contemporary craft and design. Encompassing a Victoria-wide program throughout August, this year Craft Cubed will orbit around core happenings at Fed Square.

 Craft Cubed 2014

The Art of Handmade
1 to 31 August 2014
Fed Square as well as venues big and small across Melbourne & regional Victoria

My pick of the festival calendar?

Aug 3 New Craft Market  at QVM

Aug 7 Craft and Design as a Career? Definitely aquestion for alot of Small Talk interviewee’s and readers

Weekends Aug 1-31 Open Studios

There are also some great online events if you cant make it in person (and some great interviews with crafty peeps)


See you there!

Image via Airbnb

Image via Airbnb

Introducing Wanderlust, a new regular post to Small Talk & Co., one that I hope will ease the transition into the new week, and most importantly, inspire you to a little escapism! Whether you run your own business or work for someone else’s, we all need a little time out occasionally to catchup on the latter parts of the work/rest/play triangle. And research shows (research I might have made up) that 83% of travel planning occurs on Monday mornings. So take some time out to lust for Daylesford, a stunning getaway destination catering for all tastes and budgets.  *Though I wish someone would pay me to travel, this is not a sponsored post, just some places I’ve loved to visit.* Continue reading

Excitement | Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship Program

Rockford Etsy Team Captain Kari McDonald, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson, Mayor Larry Morrissey, and Rockford Housing Authority CEO Ron Clewer join forces.

Rockford Etsy Team Captain Kari McDonald, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson, Mayor Larry Morrissey, and Rockford Housing Authority CEO Ron Clewer join forces – image via

Bill, 66, has been a woodworker in Rockford for most of his life - image via

Bill, 66, has been a woodworker in Rockford for most of his life. Click through to check out Bill’s creations. – image via

I’m super excited to share the news that Etsy’s Craft Entrepreneurship program has now gone global! Turning the tables to a focus on innovation through diversification, enabling new communities to unlock the potential of their craft and artisan manufacturing skills in a supportive environment.

I’ve long been a big fan of Etsy’s pioneering spirit in creating a marketplace for independent artists and designers to test the marketability of creative ideas. Unfortunately the flip side is that like many other creative industries, this consumer driven model creates a mass of swirling creativity, whereby the majority clusters in the centre, following a certain ‘fashion’ or trend, whilst the outliers spark brave new ideas on the edges of what is considered marketable or tasteful. In an effort to counteract this the Etsy blog has long taken a heartwarming, ‘behind the scenes’ approach to uncovering the processes of entrepreneurial minds, by asking each featured seller to write their own interviews. By the nature of a consumer market, those featured tend to be creatives whose brilliant idea often sets these trends for the time to come. This ‘chicken and egg’ cycle of trend maker / trend driver can lead to stagnation, if not for the odd outlier whose idea smashes through collective consciousness to reinvent the future of craft entrepreneurship.

The program is taught in six modules, by an experienced local Etsy seller over the course of two to six weeks, ensuring ensures information shared is both locally and globally relevant. Perhaps the program’s most brilliant aspect is the way the local and global elements work together to create a supportive environment for to break down of barriers to online success, such as hands on practice at running a .com shop and strategies for sucess over multiple platforms. As well as a local ‘teacher’/leader, each program is linked in with a local Etsy team, immediately creating a supportive network of familiar faces for feedback and advice after the program itself ends.

The Craft Entrepreneurship program is now running pilot programs in six cities in the US and UK, with inquiries open for educational programming and entrepreneurship training providers worldwide to join in the fun (get behind it Australia!).

The good news for all of us is that Etsy is staying true to it’s open source foundations, with all curriculum content and learnings from the pilot programs to be shared online with the world!

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