Applying Ourselves


It’s taken us a few weeks, but we now have our list of designers that will be joining us for the December market. But have you ever wondered how we find our designers? Well, we can tell you that as Handmade has grown in reputation and quality, so have the number and quality of applications from potential stallholders, which, while it’s a nice problem to have, means that we have to select our 250 stallholders from a list of over 800 amazing applications!

At Handmade, one of our mantras is “know your customer.” We actually have two sets of customers – the visitors and shoppers at the market and the stallholders themselves, so it’s very important for us to consider both and we understand that it’s not just a question of taking the first 250 designers who ask. Instead, we have to match the designers to the shoppers, ensuring there’s always something new and interesting to look at and a curated range of product types. This curation is what makes us stand out, but it’s also one of the most difficult parts of our job. We have to make sure the products are seasonal, that in-demand favourites are present to avoid disappointment and that the brands on display fit in with our ethos of friendliness, high quality and variety – it wouldn’t be a very interesting market if we had 250 candle makers for example.

So what do you need to do as a designer to make the cut? Well of course, your product has to be handmade here in Australia and it has to be beautiful. When looking at our applications, the first area we go to is the set of photographs that the designers provide us with. We ask the businesses to pretend that no one has ever seen their products before and to collect together images that sum up their offering, so that we (and the customers) know what the business is all about. If these are beautiful, professional and show off the range of products, these designers automatically hit the “maybe” pile. Then we look at the written description of what they do. Does it sum them up and portray the feeling of the brand? If so, the designer is still on the right track to get a stall. We also look at their social media and online presence. If they haven’t been active for a long time, have no web presence or following, it tells us that they’re not talking to their customers, and all of you reading this will know that Handmade is a fairly social entity so we like those who chat!

Once we’ve narrowed it down, the curation really starts, so we know we can give visitors to the market a breadth of product types and a good proportion of new designers. An average of 30-40 new designers attend each market. We make our final list, offering places to those we feel can best represent all of our values and quality of product and service. We also offer potential places to those that we put on the waitlist – whose products are beautiful, but who we just don’t have the space to accommodate. Many designers come off the waitlist and into the market over the run-up to the event as a result of designers having to drop out, so the waitlist is a positive place to be. In fact, it’s often the catalyst for a great working relationship as we are always happy to offer feedback to designers on the waitlist, resulting in innovations that see designers attending Handmade longterm. We understand that sometimes the Handmade Market is an integral part of a small business’ income, but like us, all small businesses need to grow and change their offering to succeed. The ones whose products evolve over time and who are unfailingly upbeat and committed are the ones you’ll see at the market time after time.

So now you know what’s involved. We know that we can’t please all of the people all of the time, but we hope to provide visitors to the market with a happy, friendly, varied and beautiful Christmas shopping experience. We also want Australia’s amazing stable of designers and producers to keep applying, keeping Handmade’s standard one of the highest in the business. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be chatting to some of the designers here on the blog, revealing their secrets and showing off some of their new products so you can start that shopping list.

As ever, thanks for shopping Handmade.




Ticket Giveaway

THE CONFIRMATION stars Clive Owen as a divorced dad whose rare weekend with his son turns into a unique bonding adventure as they encounter a series of odd characters and even odder circumstances. This wry and witty father/son story had been called, “a smart, effective coming of age tale.”

You can watch the trailer here.


To celebrate the release of The Confirmation, Handmade Canberra has two double passes to give away. Head over to Handmade’s Facebook Page and tag the person you’d like to share your pass with. The winner will be drawn on Monday 19th September. Good luck!

Tips for your Market Visit

Only one more sleep to go! Tomorrow and Sunday, we’re expecting crowds of around 20,000 to descend on the Exhibition Park in Canberra to view, try and buy the wares of Australia’s independent designers and producers.

In two halls, The Budawang and Coorong Pavilions at EPIC, there will be 220 stalls of the finest homewares, fashion, accessories, gifts, toiletries, produce and street food. Come along and support the design community, enjoy a great meal and soak up the unique atmosphere that is Handmade.


Here are our tips for a stress-free experience:

There will be plenty of it… 3,000 or so spots and all free throughout the Exhibition Park site, and across Flemington Road. If you’d rather catch a bus, there are two bus stops adjacent to EPIC; one on the Federal Highway, one on Flemington Road.

Many of our designers have eftpos facilities to take payment, but there are smaller emerging designers that may not, so we recommend you bring along some cash. There are three ATMs in the two halls, so you won’t be caught short.

Get in early at 10am or have a lie-in and arrive for the afternoon. Either way, there are locations in both halls for snacks and relaxation, so you you can come for an hour or come for the day! The market closes at 4pm both days.

Where do we start? Coffee, cold drinks, snacks, meals and sweet treats are all available in our gourmet food hall in the Coorong Building, with an area for refreshments also in the Budawang Building. Finding the right food for you will not be a problem. Tearing yourself away from the delicious displays might be!

If you have come to visit particular designers, or maybe you are on a strict time limit, there is a list/map of stalls between the halls. Or seek out our friendly Handmade staff at the reception desk. For a full directory listing, have a look at our online magazine, or check out the directory on the website.

We don’t charge you to enter the market, so please enjoy with our compliments. We’d appreciate it if you could take the time on your way in to the Handmade Market to say “hello” to the lovely volunteers from Dragons Abreast. Donations supporting this important and wonderful organisation would be most appreciated!

We hope you have a wonderful visit to Handmade and thank you for supporting Australian designers.

See you tomorrow!

Why We Love Canberra


Have you heard? Canberra is the place that everyone wants to visit these days. Combine your trip to the Handmade Market with other attractions around this beautiful city. Try the coffee or go on a drive to the wineries of the region. Share a plate of innovative food and then walk it off at the lake or the Arboretum, capturing the views of Canberra. And then rest your head at one of the nation’s capital’s great hotels.


The list of eateries in Canberra is growing every week, with new gorgeous cafés and restaurants popping up all over our fair city. The main eating areas are Braddon, Kingston, Manuka, Barton and New Acton, but if you venture further afield, there are superb eateries nestled in suburban centres. Pulp Kitchen in Ainslie, Two Before Ten in Aranda, Little Oink in Cook and Young & Frisky in Gungahlin are worth a trip, but do some research and the hidden gems will reveal themselves.


Canberra’s cool climate is the talk of wine experts, with top class wines now coming from the Canberra region. There are over 130 vineyards in the area, many of which have cellar doors that offer good food, great views and of course, something nice to drink! Again, there are too many to mention, but check out Eden Road and Four Winds in Murrumbateman, Lerida Estate by Lake George or Surveyors Hill in Hall. And three wonderful wineries will be present at the Handmade Market this weekend – Quarry Hill, Twisted River and Long Rail Gully will be sharing their blends and knowledge at EPIC on Saturday and Sunday.



From family rooms (Abode Hotels) to top class boutiques (Hotel Hotel, Burbury) and places in between (Aria, QT, Mantra), there is a wealth of accommodation here in Canberra, much of it within a stone’s throw of EPIC, for easy access to the Handmade Market.


Spring is springing at the moment, and the blossom is coming out in force. With perfect temperatures of around 16 degrees forecast for this weekend, head down to Lake Burley Griffin and walk the 5km bridge to bridge circuit, taking in all of Canberra’s beautiful architecture in one walk. Or head to the Arboretum for truly spectacular views.



For the kids, there’s no beating Questacon for its interactive displays and amazing learning experiences. Floriade is fast approaching if you want to stick around for a few days (opens 17th September), but if you’re only here for the weekend of the market, what about the Canberra Moon Festival in Yarralumla?

And I hear a rumour that there’s an excellent market happening this weekend! 10am until 4pm on Saturday and Sunday at EPIC. 220 stalls, including a gourmet food hall, great atmosphere and all your Handmade shopping needs met under one roof…

To plan your trip, visit one of these websites for details of Canberra’s accommodation, dining and attractions:

Visit Canberra
In The City
Out in Canberra

At the Market: Part II

Handmade’s gourmet food hall will be showcasing the best Australian produce and street food this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, 10am until 4pm, we’ll be in the queue for snacks, treats and larder staples.


To guide you through the offering for September, we have a beautiful online magazine with a full directory of everyone who is attending, and introductions to some of our newcomers. You can also look at images of all our stalls in the directory on the Handmade website. However, to give you a bit of extra help, here is a guide to some of the foodies you will find at Handmade to give you a great flavour of what you will find this weekend.

Three wineries  will be on hand to pour you a glass to sample and savour. Quarry Hill and  Twisted River will be joined by new locals
from Murrumbateman. Long Rail Gully, are making the most of the cool climate, producing classic Riesling and Shiraz, vibrant Pinot Gris, earthy Cabernet Sauvignons, lush Pinot Noirs and succulent Merlots.

Sauces, chutneys, relishes and jams will be in abundance from the likes of Black Horse Fine Foods, Elfreds of the Peninsula, Honey & Glow, Salted Caramel Sauce and Saori Premiun Japanese Sauce, not to mention Sticky Balsamic, Thirst, The Original Smoke and Spice Co. and The World’s Best Nuts.


Heathy snacks from Barbell Biltong and Stockman Sticks will keep you going, but all that shopping is likely to make you thirsty, so make sure you stop in for a lemonade from Krave, ginger beer from Grumpy’s or coffee from Art of Espresso and My Sweet Alice. With locations in both of the halls, you won’t have to walk those weary feet too far to find your caffeine fix.


If it’s a sweet treat you want to take away, try Veganarchy, Baked by Mum, Rosebery St Bakehouse, Bake Away Catering, Everything Mason and Babic Biscuiteers. There will be three chocolate stalls at your disposal as well – Jasper & Myrtle, Enigma and Pana Chocolate.

Loose Gourmet Churros, C3 Waffle and Le Petit Breton are also on hand to satisfy your cravings with sweet treat street food.


And of course, lunch. Mr Papa will be providing his signature Peruvian fayre, East Street will bring a taste of the Orient and Kurbside kitchen will be bringing you their wonderful “spiral spud”.

Form an orderly queue for Berlin Bangers’ distinctive bratwursts, and make sure you indulge in Burra Berkshires delectable free range pork. Tikka Stand will be serving Indian delights, while Kusina have a taste of the Philippines and you won’t want to miss the Greek yumminess at Yiannos Catering.

We’ll see you in food heaven!


At the Market: Part I

It’s this weekend! The September Market is almost ready to open its doors and we cordially invite you to to browse, try and buy the best that Australia has to offer in handmade design.

From 10am until 4pm this Saturday and Sunday (10 & 11 September) two halls of EPIC will be packed with stalls. From homewares to children’s items, pressies for your pets to skincare and from high fashion to gorgeous jewellery, you will be spoiled for choice.

Wander the halls and chat to our amazing designers about their inspiration and process. Load up your bags with beautiful things and take them away, knowing not only that you have supported Australian business, but that you have a unique item with its own story.

To guide you through the offering for September, we have a beautiful online magazine with a full directory of everyone who is attending, and introductions to some of our newcomers. You can also look at images of all our designers in the directory on the Handmade website. However, to give you a bit of extra help, here is a step by step guide to some of the designers you will find at Handmade. This isn’t an exhaustive list (we have 220 stalls, all of them wonderful!) but will give you a great flavour of what you will find this weekend.


Starting with your garden, you could pick up a fountain from Annie Storey, garden sculptures from Paddock Pieces, furniture from Naturally Ingrained or boyandgirlco and garden art from Cut to Pieces. We have several indoor plant people, including Tiny Paradise, Living Glass Terrariums and Dinoplanters to name a few.

Textiles designers are abundant, from cushions to tea towels, so have a browse through Publisher, Femke, Ariella, Ink & Weave or Laughing Bird and stop for a chat with Bob Window, Tango & James or 1 Abbey Lane.

Several of our designers specialise in repurposed homewares, including Clockeyed, Industriana and Kingfish & Co.

Ceramics and wooden pieces are numerous – try Wood & Wax Studios, Hayden Youlley, Louise M Studio, Bopdotz or From Me to You Ceramics for starters, and if you’re after something a little different, Needs & Wishes Art, Pili Pala Pieces or Milk Thieves can accommodate you.



Anchor & Bliss and The Mister Brand will be catering for the gentleman and Byanne and Delicious Skin will be among those representing the ladies. Candles by Little Flame, Lumi and Honey & Glow will be bringing some of the many flickering delights on offer.



It’s Spring now, and time to look at that wardrobe. If there are any gaps, come along this weekend to fill them with beautiful and individual designs. Harriet Jane and Zilpah Tart will be displaying clothing made from their own fabrics, and if you want a pop of colour, try Spunky Bruiser/Soto Smith, or Orbit Clothing. More neutral items can be found at Eva Cassis and Nixx Apparel, or for something truly unique, head to Rockstars and Royalty.



New designers Animalyser will be bringing children’s clothes, or have a look at toys from my menagerie, Miss Ruby-May and Helen’s Handpuppets. Costumes from Mud and Sugar, teepees from Jilly Junior or trinkets from Lillibean Designs will also fill up your shopping bag!


It will be hard not to spend money on gifts for those you love, or to treat yourself. Jewellery from Marit Hamer, Insync Designs and Time Flies Designs showcase what’s new at the market, complementing the classic offerings from Appleye Jewellery, A Silver Circle and Jane Brown Pearls, amongst others.

Bags from Kaija, Travelling Alice or Kimono Yamamoto will go beautifully with your new outfits, or finish with unusual accessories from Tread and Pedals, Frank Ideas, Milk Thieves or Rancho.



If you encounter any bare walls on your Spring Cleaning rounds, you could do worse than Handmade to fill the space. Stephanie Elizabeth Artwork and Surfing Sloth focus on animals, while more traditional media comes from Sue Dyde, Kylie van Tol or Yvette Fitzpatrick. Vintage art from Twice Designs and Photographic art from Jackie Cooper are also beautiful. Have your portrait done by Welly’s Wonders, and for something local, Trevor Dickinson will bring the best of Canberra to Handmade in the form of his unique illustrations.


Don’t forget your beloved pet! Head to Maison Dog for beds, Dharf for accessories and Choppa Chops for food.

Have you made your list yet? Come back tomorrow for our rundown on the gourmet food hall, including our produce stalls and take away offerings.

Time Flies

Time Flies

Time Flies Designs will be at the Handmade Market this weekend for the first time. Owned by Juan and Olivia Serre, Time Flies is all about upcycling old objects and turning them into beautiful and very unusual jewellery. We asked them our three questions:

  1. What is your business all about?
    Time Flies Designs is a Sydney based company that upcycles old objects and embraces the fusion of semi-precious stones as wearable jewellery. Specialised in unique jewellery and bespoke lights/sculptures, each product is one of a kind. We have a burning desire to show people the value in forgotten objects. By combining our skills, we have created a new era of technical jewellery and 3D designs.
  2. What made you apply to Handmade?
    We have chosen Handmade in Canberra because it showcased Australian design that is very unique. It is a well known market. It is a good opportunity to showcase our products in Canberra.
  3. Sum up your business in THREE words
    Fusion – Story – Timeless


Spiral Snacks


Kurbside Kitchen is a Canberra-based street food stall serving up its trademark Spiral Spuds. Available for the first time at Handmade this weekend, we’re looking forward to tasting them! We asked Marita from Kerbside Kitchen our three questions:

  1. What is your business all about?
    Kurbside Kitchen is about providing a fun, tasty treat for all to enjoy on a special day out. Spiral Spuds are a whole, locally grown potato twisted around a long skewer then lightly fried and served freshly made to order with various salts and sauces. A truly great treat food for the whole family to enjoy. You won’t be able to stop at just one Spiral Spud. Seriously moreish!
  2. What made you apply to Handmade?
    We applied to Handmade because being part of such a successful and innovative local community event was truly a great opportunity for us. Spiral Spuds are thoroughly enjoyed by people of all ages, not only to eat, but to see the fascinating process of how it is prepared on site by hand from beginning to end. To be able to showcase our fabulous and fun product to the wider Canberra community will mean greater exposure for our business Kurbside Kitchen. We feel very proud and privileged to be a part of such an iconic market and believe that we can only add to its already stylish reputation.
  3. Sum up your business in THREE words
    Tasty, Twisted, Tempters



Surfing Sloth

Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 11.37.33 AM

Surfing Sloth is a little brand by Lithuanian illustrator Luka Va. Based in Melbourne, her illustrations are original, quirky and naive, turned into greetings cards, prints and accessories. As it’s Luka’s first time at Handmade next week – 10 & 11 September (10am-4pm), we asked her our three questions:

1. What is your business all about?
I just like drawing animals! I think it is about doing what I like most, creating things I like and sharing it with other people. I hope my customers and follower enjoy my works as much as I like drawing them.
2. What made you apply to Handmade?
Once a friend from Canberra mentioned the market, I did a little research and thought – it looks very nice, why not?
3. Sum up your business in THREE words.
I can’t decide!
Not too serious.
Cats and sloths.
Colourful funky cats.
Thanks so much for your time Luka – see you at the market!

Handmade Giving

Dragons and logo

The Handmade Market is free. Parking is free and entry is free. But we’d love you to give a little to our door charity. Tireless volunteers will be standing at the entrances to EPIC all day on Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 September (10am – 4pm) to collect your donations. On September 10 & 11, our door charity is Dragons Abreast.

Dragons Abreast Australia supports breast cancer survivors across the country make a transition back to active lives through dragon boating. Dragons Abreast Canberra was founded on the principles of awareness, participation and inclusiveness in 1999 by the late Anna Wellings Booth OAM, and is one of 35 Dragons Abreast Australia groups around the country.

They welcome new members, so if you want to get fit, make new friends and have fun, then dragon boating just might be the sport for you.

Once breast surgery is over and treatment has finished, breast cancer survivors are often left on their own, facing the sometimes daunting task of rebuilding their health, their fitness and their lives. This is where Dragons Abreast comes in, enabling members to paddle and socialise in the company of others who have travelled the same path, helping restore confidence, spark and the sense of adventure needed for a full and active life after breast cancer.

Thank you for your support.