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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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

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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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

Ruth Gregson | The Botanical Institute

Inside the shop, at the charming end of Nicholson Street, Carlton North

 

Ruth Gregson is a retailer. The Botanical Institute is an outlet for Ruth’s passion for quality Australian design, with her store filled to the brim with all the best local and interstate gifts and homewares. Read on to find out more about Ruth’s inspirations, being your own boss, and where Frank Sinatra fits in it all…

Business:  The Botanical Institute

Owner: Ruth Gregson

Location: 789 Nicholson St, Carlton North, Victoria

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Jenny Kulas is a leathersmith

 

Jenny setting up Klaus Goods at Menske, Collingwood. Image credit – Katie Goodwin

Klaus Goods is a Melbourne made handcrafted leather and canvas goods company. Jenny’s products stand out in the crowded accessories market by doing what is often the most difficult for any designer – stripping the product back to its most utilitarian state. Luckily for us, Jenny’s trained eye for aesthetic reduction compliment the timeless qualities of leather to create beautiful, highly functional objects of desire. This dynamo designer sure knows the way to an architect’s heart, as our recent catch up revealed influences of the Bauhaus, film and travel on the production of Klaus Goods.

Business:  Klaus Goods

Owner: Jenny Kulas

Location: Melbourne, Victoria and online 

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Zoë Lea is a sock designer

 

Werken hard

Werken’ hard (image via Unempire Instagram)

 

Zoe Lea has a passion for high quality, stunning design that goes well beyond those small tube shaped things you put on your feet – this lady has big plans and a great creative ethos!  Unempire has a stand out online presence, and Small Talk & Co was super keen to meet Zoe in person to find out what drives this creative mind – community, fast fashion, and RiRi.  N: slight language warning

 

Business:  Unempire

Owner: Zoë Lea

Location: Melbourne, Victoria shipping to the world!

 

What you do?

I make socks through a teeny little business called Unempire. I’m hoping to branch out into other things in the near future, but baby steps right now. Before I did Unempire, I studied fashion design at TAFE and I worked for a bunch of other companies for nearly a decade, doing accessories design, accessories buying, and a bit of clothing and graphic design.

TAFE was great for technical skills in the fashion industry. In my first job, I was immediately useful; it was the same skills, the same programs. I learnt so much working for other people, because essentially you come out of study and you know so much, but you’ve got no idea what to do with it. My experience in accessories meant I knew my own business could be a success, so when I eventually became disillusioned with the bigger companies profit, profit, profit objective, I was confident in creating my own space to balance that out with a focus on design, quality and style.

 

Unempire merges all that experience with my total love/hate relationship with ‘fashion’, I hate trends and cookie cutter imitations, and I feel there’s just toooo much STUFF in the world. Unempire is about merging good design with quality apparel that lasts – I don’t think that you have to sacrifice one for the other.

 

Apparel can be reasonably priced, functional and unique. Essentially that’s the ethos behind the Unempire brand. It’s about bridging a gap in the current marketplace, which is dominated by three equally weak types; functional, but really boring, cheap and mediocre, or really cool looking but ultimately disposable.

 

Mmm croissants! Morning Tea Unempire style

 

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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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Hanako Kajiya is lucky

Hanako at work!

Hanako at work in her studio

In her own words, Hanako K puts her successes down to luck. But Hanako.K is more than just lucky. Because luck implies her successes are devoid of effort or responsibility. Hanako.K is a hard worker, a self-made (wo)man, who has an almost unbelievable string of work and life experiences have lead her current mix of occupations; founder of her own accessories label, shop girl extraordinaire, small business enthusiast, community radio stalwart and all-round style icon. And you know the best bit? In Hanako’s own words, ‘I sleep in most days’.

Small Talk & Co. sat down with Hanako recently to chat craft, community and what it means to be a ‘designer’. This post runs a little longer than Small Talk & Co.’s usual, but believe me it’s worth it!

 

Fast facts 

Business:  Hanako.K
| Location:  Etsy.com and Lady Petrova , Melbourne, Victoria

 

What do you do/how did you get there?

I started crafting when I was 14, really young – from memory my grandma’s were really crafty, so that influenced me and I started knitting, sewing and learning from them what was possible. I taught myself how to crochet in primary school, I think I was just bored!

I was born in Japan and came here to Melbourne when I was about nine, so language was an obvious barrier at first –  I didn’t get out too much, stayed home and kept myself busy with craft projects. That’s how I taught myself how to crochet, I started doing Nuigurumi, the Japanese soft toys, which was really good practice and actually ended up being my label’s first product.

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