YOU ARE BRAVE Hand Printed Textiles & Handmade Home Decor Made In Australia By Textile Designer Michelle Kistima-Menser

Hand Printed Textiles & Handmade Home Decor - Inspire A Relationship With Nature

Why We Love A Market

Michelle Kistima-MenserComment

What is it about browsing a market or bazaar that's so appealing? The concept has been around for centuries yet they seem to be more attractive than ever.

I never thought I'd be a stallholder at a market. It just didn't seem like me. I'm not much of a "sales person". Nor am I into standing around just waiting for someone to stop by for a chat. But needs must and so off I took my wares to The Grounds Of Alexandria on the advice of a friend.

This is where I realised that the markets are much more than a place to buy & sell stuff. I realised that I was part of a community of makers and artisans who were also passionate and energised like me. We all are on different stages in our businesses. We all have suffered the pitfalls and lows that self employment brings but once a month (or more) we come together. We catch up and share our experiences like old friends do. We get to meet wonderfully interesting patrons who love the market vibe and love chatting or simply sharing a smile. And let's not forget the lovely array of goodies on offer!

The market has always been a place for people to connect, buy and sell, exchange and experience different sights, sounds, products and meet new people. We learn and grow through these experiences. And that's the thrill for stallholders and patrons alike.

So next time you're at your local market spare a moments thought to the community of real people gathered there and celebrate the ongoing exchange of humanity that is a market.

Now then, let me introduce to you some of the wonderful work and personalities I've been fortunate enough to meet at the markets .... Catherine (The Mister Brand), Brea (Rawmix), Neylan (Efil Efil Turkish Cotton) and first up .... Georgie (Littlecrow Design).


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1. Describe your business, your products & as much / little about yourself as you would like.

My business is littlecrow design, and I make cushions. I make cushions because I love fabric, I love colour, I love pattern, I love texture, and a cushion is like a picture in a frame where all these elements come together. It’s not unusual for me to use five different fabrics in the one design, but I like to think the result is still harmonious and full of interest.
I also love my home. It’s my favourite place to be. So for someone to choose a littlecrow cushion for their home because they think it’s beautiful and different is really special.The next frontier is print my own designs to incorporate into my existing work. This will be a dream come true! Watch this space.

2. Why do you think the work of artisans & handmade products are important these days?

This question could become a thesis! I don’t know how to answer this briefly but I’ll try. I believe to be human is to be creative - all children express themselves through creative means (music, colour, paint, craft, building, acting) - because it’s there already. I don’t mean everyone is ‘artistic’, but everyone is born to create, so it is vital that communities keep this creativity alive and in our midst. It brings life and joy and hope and meaning.

Think I need to do a TED talk on it hah!!

3. Why do you choose to sell at the markets? What do you love about markets?

Markets are the easiest way to get your product out there for people to see! It’s relatively affordable for a young start-up business, the overall structure is organised for you, and people visit markets to find unique creations that aren’t in mainstream retailers - so you’re more likely to meet ‘your’ customers.

I love seeing people’s reactions to my work and listening to their comments on what interests them, what they need etc. It helps me understand how others see colour and design, and to appreciate their different approaches. When I started doing markets, I quickly realised how important it was to think of others when I’m designing. There is a happy balance to be found between being creatively free and making things others can connect with.

I love meeting other stall-holders! To my delight I’ve made some gorgeous friends through our shared market experience each month. I’ve found them to be such a friendly, generous, funny and spirited lot - they make me feel better about the world, and we all encourage each other to carry on with our crazy dreams!

4. What’s the hardest thing about being a market stall seller?

An early bird I am not! I really should find some night markets to do, because on a cold winter’s morning (actually, even on a fine spring morning) I hate getting up early! Let’s just say I’m never the first person to set up hah!

More personally, it’s still challenging to lay my creations before the world for it’s verdict! Market sales are completely uncertain - there are so many factors I’m not in control of, and it is hard sometimes to keep my spirits up after a quiet day. But I always come back for more!

5. Do you have a favourite market? Why is it your favourite?

My favourite market is the one where the sun is shining, the crowd is bustling and people are friendly and jolly (oh, and where I can get a good coffee… move that to criteria #1 actually!) Then I don’t mind where I am.

Little Crow Design Cushions

You can find littlecrow design at The Grounds of Alexandria in Sydney, Australia on Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th November. littlecrow design is also on Etsy www.etsy.com/shop/littlecrowdesign


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1. Describe your business, your products & as much / little about yourself as you would like.

efil efil - Turkish Cotton - (means “breezy” in Turkish) Our aim is to reach the best quality in our hand-woven 100% cotton Turkish Towels, Robes, Beach Kaftans, Throws and Blankets besides weaving them in authentic and organic methods. All products are from my hometown Denizli/Turkey.

2. Why do you think the work of artisans & handmade products are important these days?

Because they are unique and too much special work & talent required. If I give you an example, weaving a hand-woven Turkish towel takes about half day and the craftsmen never speak during the process as they count every single thread. They are the last generation of hand-woven method.

 3. Why do you choose to sell at the markets? What do you love about markets?

It was only temporary at the beginning but it’s been 2 years and I love markets. Meeting new people/stallholders is the best part.

4. What’s the hardest thing about being a market stall seller?

Weather forecast for sure!!! Because most of the markets are open-air and we have no clue what’s going to happen. We don’t like rain and we don’t like hot! J

5. Do you have a favourite market? Why is it your favourite?

I try to attend to the different markets and suburbs every weekend. Their atmosphere and people are all different but I enjoy and love them all..

You can find Efil Efil Turkish Cotton online at www.efilefil.com.au or find them at The Grounds Of Alexandria in Sydney on 7th-8th November.


Brea from Raw Mix photo by YOU ARE BRAVE

1. Describe your business, your products & as much / little about yourself as you would like.

In a nutshell, Rawmix is a “make-at-home” mix but unlike the packets that line supermarket shelves, our product is completely free of processed sugars and unpronounceable ingredients. Each flavour is 100% natural; full of heart-healthy, protein-packed, nuts, seeds & dates (among other yummies); and free from added nasties. The mixes are hand layered by us and hand shaped by you in just four simple steps: Pour, Blend, Shape, Set.

2. Why do you think the work of artisans & handmade products are important these days?

Handmade products are sold, bought and received differently to mass produced products. When someone buys Rawmix online, they receive a hand wrapped gift pack with a personalised note delivered by me, the founder! You don’t get that kind of service when buying off the supermarket shelf!

3. Why do you choose to sell at the markets? What do you love about markets?

I value the immediate feedback and face time with my customers. It’s a terrific way to market research and get to know my audience – I take all comments, good and bad, on board and create new products with them in mind. It’s also wonderful meeting fellow small business owners, and hearing their tales of tears and triumph as they grow their businesses.

 4. What’s the hardest thing about being a market stall seller?

 The inconsistency. Markets are so weather dependent, so it can be hit and miss!

5. Do you have a favourite market? Why is it your favourite?

I love the Grounds of Alexandria! There are so many drawcards – great coffee, patisseries, homemade lemonade, farm animals, food carts - there is guaranteed foot traffic every time a market is on. People travel long distances to get there, so there is always an upbeat vibe amongst the shoppers!

You can find Rawmix at the next Grounds Of Alexandria fair weekend on this weekend in Sydney 7-8 November 2015, 8am - 3pm.

Rawmix is also available online at www.rawmix.com.au


1. Describe your business, your products & as much / little about yourself as you would like.

The Mister Brand is a bespoke business specialising in natural men’s grooming products. We create quality, handcrafted, vintage style products that are gentle on the skin and easy on the earth. We source top quality ingredients with numerous benefits and amalgamate them into a cocktail of amazing. At The Mister Brand we believe that we are taking a forward step, back in time, to where craftsmanship and quality were highly valued, brewed together with skill, passion and care above machinery and quantity. Our objective at The Mister Brand is to deliver a product and experience to our customer’s that is about celebrating people being in charge of their face, be it bearded or shaven.

2. Why do you think the work of artisans & handmade products are important these days?

To put it very simply, I believe with the amount of mass produced products, the amount of mall’s, people are being staved of unique, of bespoke, of quality, opting for cheaper, bland, uniformity. This is why I think that it is more important than ever to keep being creative, to give people the opportunity to have a unique piece of handmade.

3.   Why do you choose to sell at the markets? / What do you love about markets?

I love the atmosphere of markets, fellow stall holders, the customers, most importantly the immediate contact/feedback that you gain is invaluable to the further development of The Mister Brand.

4. What’s the hardest thing about being a market stall seller?

As much as I enjoy markets, it is draining both mentally and physically. From packing the car the night before to the early setup, lugging heavy boxes of products, tables, props, gazebo to talking to the many people of all walks of life. Some days after answering the many questions that although are good, leave me not wanting to say another word for at least 24hours after a market.

5. Do you have a favourite market? Why is it your favourite?

I don’t think that I have a favourite market, I enjoy all of them as they provide a different atmosphere and demographic from the next, this suits me as I like to mix things up…literally.

You can find The Mister Brand online at www.themisterbrand.com or at stockists in NSW & VIC, Australia. Check their website for the next markets.

Thank you to these lovely, inspired women for the time they devoted to being interviewed. See you bright & early at the markets!

All photos are supplied by the interviewees except for * which were taken by YOU ARE BRAVE.