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 there.are.no.more.weekends 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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Monique & Scott Woodward are architects – WOWOWA

Monique & Scott Woodward - WOWOWA architect

It’s not often on just hearing a name that you get such a strong sense of the dynamism behind a creative duo, but this is just the case with WOWOWA (implied!) whose co-founders Monique and Scott Woodward forge a next-generation approach to architectural practice with a kind of positive charge often missing in professional creative circles.

In WOWOWA Architecture & Interiors, the pair have created the kind of practice they always wanted to work in, one that prioritises artistic expression, teaching and advocacy as essential to ongoing creativity. Alongside partner Scott, Monique is a vocal advocate for improved living standards and accessibility of quality design as a tenet of modern Australian culture.

From their glittering Tin & Ed business cards to the bold glazed red brick façade of the Finn House, WOWOWA is unafraid of a playful nod to the kitch, and their declaration of a radical postmodernist style is one beautifully tailored to bring a fresh optimism to the architecture of the everyday – the humble family home. We spoke to Monique at WOWOWA’s shopfront studio in Melbourne’s leafy Carlton North about her passion for celebrating Australian culture and why more creatives should embrace the power of marketing.

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

 

 

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Christopher Kowalski | Autumn Harvest

Chris' sense of humour and love of his work is evident in this image from his Twitter stream - entitled 'Wonderbra'. Image via AutumnHarvestAU on twitter

Chris’ sense of humour and love of his work is evident in this image from his Twitter stream – entitled ‘Wonderbra’. Image via AutumnHarvestAU on twitter

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Foraging. Image via Autumn Harvest.com

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The Harvest – Saffron Milk Cap Mushrooms. Image via Autumn Harvest.com

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The Harvest – Slippery Jack. Image via Autumn Harvest.com

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At work in the forest. Image via Autumn Harvest.com

Business: Autumn Harvest

Owner: Christopher Kowalski

Location: Forgaging across Victoria and supplying to restaurants, retailers and markets around Australia.

 

Christopher Kowalski is a forager.

To be specific, Chris forages for wild mushrooms. For a living. I’m sure I’m not the only aspiring-entrepreneur who is inspired that a job this specifically niche exists. Now the largest supplier of wild mushrooms in Victoria, Autumn Harvest prides itself on a commitment to offering only the best of what nature provides, whilst maintaining strong relationships with restaurateurs and key clients across the state.

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Eloise Rapp | Three Lives / Rapp

Eloise Rapp. Image via Georgia Blackie

 

Stunning scarves and artwork in Rapp’s Spring Summer 2014 lookbook. Lookbook designed by Eloise, images via Rachel Dray

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‘Regeneration’ scarf. Rapp’s Spring Summer 2014 lookbook. Lookbook design by Eloise, images via Rachel Dray

 

Eloise Rapp is a multidisciplinary designer currently working in textile and surface design, illustration and product development.

 
Small Talk & Co. is delighted to bring you Eloise’s interview, as the decided Japanophile opens up about patience, knowing when to let go, and the transitory career patterns of the mammalia class. Any designer who can confidently  describe themselves with direct reference to the Pantone colour pallet has my immediate attention (its 16-1359 TCX by the way).
 
Eloise balances two businesses (!), the self-named Rapp, alongside new venture Three Lives, whilst also working part time part-time as a creative coordinator and designer for Australian art legend Ken Done. Rapp’s stunning silk scarves are designed by Eloise and printed on 100% silk Crepe de Chine, each a mini artwork  in itself. 
 
Eloise has very kindly shared with Small Talk the difficulties in creating art on such small canvases, with the Rapp brand currently in transition from designer/retailer to a more broadly capable creative studio.
In the meantime, Eloise’s travels have inspired the launch of another creative enterprise, Three Lives, proving that creative lightning can indeed strike twice! Three Lives is a curated collection of artisanal bathing goods, bringing the beauty and intimacy of handmade back into the bathroom. 

Business: Three Lives (launching soon) and Rapp

Owner: Eloise Rapp

Location: Sydney, Australia, and online

 

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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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A Murder of Ravens

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Rodney and Banjo the donkeys

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Quinton the mouse

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Albert the donkey

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Chester the cheeky llama

Meet English-expat-cum-Melbournite Katie Wakefield and her friend Chester, the cheeky llama .
Chester likes eating socks and collecting watches, Katie likes collage, textile design and taxidermy.

What bought these two buddies together?  A Murder of Ravens – Katie’s new homewares and design label.

Katie studied fashion and textile design, spending two years travelling the world before she fell in love with Melbourne and decided to stay awhile. She soon found herself in country Victoria, living her dream of learning taxidermy with from Gippsland local David Luxford.

Katie’s whimsical and intensely detailed cushions, tea towels and illustrations are surely the prettiest incarnation of taxidermy I’ve ever seen. Each animal character featured has a unique story,  set amongst a world of colour, sparkles and quirkiness. All creations are hand stitched, illustrated, embellished and embroided by Katie.

Katie has just launched her online emporium and Etsy store, with more local markets on the calendar soon.

August is Victorian Small Business Month ~ there are a bunch of free workshops (in Melbourne, regional centres and online) and events. Find out more here
 
If you like what you see, keep in touch with Small Talk & Co. updates by liking us on facebook here
Machine and hand stitched details

Machine and hand stitched details

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Meet the flock

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Tea towel

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The Raven

NEUE | Pollen and Patina Bigcartel

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Pollen and Patina, now on BigCartel

Friends of ST & Co, Pollen and Patina now have a stunning online shop.

The store is filled with the kind of homewares and other miscellaneous goods your inner interior stylist dreams of.

My pick? The polka dot wall decals ($29.95), because there’s not nearly enough Yayoi Kusama in Australian living spaces.

Check out Katie’s Pollen and Patina facebook page for a celebratory 20% discount code!

 

August is Victorian Small Business Month ~ there are a bunch of free workshops (in Melbourne, regional centres and online) and events. Find out more here
 
If you like what you see, keep in touch with Small Talk & Co. updates by liking us on facebook here

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Celebrating 10 Interviews!

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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