Echidna

Where: Shop 1a/ 7 Gilbert Street Torquay

When: Wednesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm
Sunday 10am to 3pm

Web: www.echidnahandmade.com

Nat and I spent the day exploring Torquay. The first of our finds we wish to share with you is Echidna. Tucked away in an arcade in Gilbert Street, Echidna is bursting with colour, texture and an eclectic mix of things you just won’t find anywhere else.

Echidna Torquay

The force behind Echidna is Sue Ingpen. Inspired by natural fibres, traditional handwork and contemporary trends Sue designs all of the Echidna products, from hand knitted rugs and crochet cushions to beautiful screen printed papers to hand bound journals.

Echidna started from the concept of getting original designed product made well and made ethically. Just because something is ethical it does not mean that it lacks impact. Every Echidna product is intrinsically unique, handmade by artisans, sourced locally or made by a women’s fair trade co-operative group in Nepal.  Sue heads over to work with the group twice a year to create her Spring Summer and Autumn Winter collections.

Echidna stocks beautiful ceramics, clothing, knitwear, home wears and a great selection of unique gifts, vintage items and children’s toys. Echidna also sells hand dyed yarns, books and materials for the designer/maker. Our favourites are the knee length stripe socks and patterned scarves. Not to mention the amazing throw rugs!

Don’t despair, if you are not local you can visit Echidna’s new store in Kyneton that is opening on the 7th of September at Shop 56 Piper Street, Kyneton, open Wednesday to Saturday 10-4pm  and Sunday 11-4pm.

We will be bringing you more of our Torquay finds soon. Stay tuned.

Quirk Collective

Where: Shop 85 Pakington Street, Geelong West

When: Wed – Fri 10 to 5, Sat 9 to 5 & Sun 11 to 2

Web: www.quirkcollective.net

Ph: 5229 9930

One of Oh! Hello Geelong’s biggest loves is going adventuring (of the shopping kind of course), especially when it’s to unchartered waters that we’ve never explored before! So as you can imagine we were a little excited when we received a special invitation to visit Geelongs newest design shoppe (complete with gallery space and it’s very own photography whiz) that goes by the sweet moniker Quirk Collective! Okay, so you’re probably thinking retail space, on trend designer pieces and fashion, gallery, art, photography…all under one roof? Impossible! Well not when you have Kate McLaren and Róża Marciniak, two incredibly intelligent, driven and über talented women in the driver’s seat! Together these two amazing ladies have created a unique experience and a space that G-towners will soon be calling one of their favourites!

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A melting pot…

Quirk Collective is perfectly located in Geelong West in what was once a chiropractor’s practice; not that you would ever guess given the open plan interiors and beautiful displays! The space itself was born out of Kate and Róża’s desire to take their passion for art and design to a new level; Kate is the creator of beautiful handbags and accessories under the name iz & lotte, while Róża has completed training in photography and fine art printing. The result of this collaboration is a beautiful store that supports independent makers, handmade products and items with a conscience; an intimate gallery space that will host a broad range of art and design exhibitions and a new avenue for locals to develop their photography skills and produce beautiful photographic pieces.

A splash of shopping…

The shopping side of Quirk Collective is certainly a treat for those who love unique pieces and cute and innovate design. Some of Kate’s current favourites include Monolog clothing (they have recently collaborated with polymer clay queen Emily Green, we got to see a few pieces straight from the box!), brikch’s linen range, jewellery from local brand Ernest and Joe and the range of pieces from Rachel Hine and A Piece of Cloth. Oh! Hello Geelong’s favourites include; All About Heidi shoes for tiny tots, the range of fun ottomans by Mookah (who include some Ink and Spindle fabrics – divine), Iz + Lotte range – especially the felted bead necklaces, LOVE the range of wood pieces from Snug Studio, Jessalin Screen printed Tee’s, Status Anxiety wallets, Brun Mugs and plates, Edison Light Bulb vases and the Me + Frankie wooden racks and tree houses. We also love the cute vintage tables created by Round Room Interiors, and the funny selection of cards and tea towels by Anrol Designs. Pretty much everything, really…

A dollop of art and design…

And what about this gallery we mentioned? Once you have walked through and drooled over all the lovely items in the store, take a few more steps and you will find yourself in a gorgeous gallery space with lots of wall and floor space that will be filled throughout the year with a range of exhibitions from local and visiting artists and designers! During Oh! Hello Geelong’s visit Róża’s own exhibition titled “Land of Thunder Dragon: Bhutan and Beyul” was showing, which highlighted the true “art” involved in capturing and producing beautiful photographs.

 

And a pinch of photography…

Speaking of photography, Quirk Collective has invested in a state of the art digital printer for fine art printing, which is very very exciting for local (and non-local) photographers. Róża is available by appointment to collaborate with both amateur and professionals photographers to produce the finest quality prints.

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There are hundreds of reasons to visit Quirk Collective but for Oh! Hello Geelong the best reason to visit is to experience a new way of enjoying art and design. Thanks Kate and Róża for giving us a tour of your wonderful world and sharing a little philosophy along the way!

PS: if you are like most people and have a digital camera that you want to get the most out of, make sure to get in touch with the girls at Quirk Collective, who will be running introductory camera courses in March/April 2013! They will also be running advanced courses and Photoshop classes too!

PPS: If you are an artist or designer and you are looking for a space to exhibit your work, give Róża a call, she’s happy to help!

 

Love Penny + Laura

Q&A with Zoe Le Page of Rockrose Handmade

What – Local Online Store ‘Rockrose Handmade’ – Curated, Beautiful, Ethical

Where – www.rockrosehandmade.com

 

When Christmas comes around each year our lives seem to get a little crazier than usual and our normal day-to-day routine is replaced by a busy and never-ending to-do list. So it’s quite natural that most of us let our hectic schedules get in the way of thoughtful and meaningful spending on both ourselves and others. Oh! Hello Geelong may have found a way to make life a little easier (especially when looking for the perfect gift) and a lot more meaningful! Rockrose Handmade is a sweet online store that is not only bursting with adorable products for everyone but is kind to your wallet and the planet. And just when you thought there couldn’t be any better reason to visit this store, its owner Zoe Le Page is a pretty fab local lady who is giving something back to the community everyday. Thanks Zoe for taking a moment during the busiest time of the year to answer a few quick questions!

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Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and what led you to creating this online shopping destination.

Well firstly, hi everyone! My name is Zoe and I’m a wife (of Luke) and mother (of my babies Pepper and Beau), aspiring novel writer and advocate of the handmade movement.

I am deeply interested in living an eco-friendly life-style and I’m passionate about helping to create a more mindful and fair world, which is what led me to create Rockrose Handmade, an online boutique, selling handmade eco-friendly and ethical Indie goodies. Rockrose Handmade is my vessel for helping to create positive change. My business gives back to communities and the environment; every new customer has an Australian native tree or shrub planted for them to replace habitat and lock in carbon; I sponsor a little boy living in Kenya through Plan International; I donate to the ICDI to help communities in Africa build wells and create farms and I donate to various social and philanthropic projects through the crowd funding platform INDIGOGO.

What is the vision and inspiration behind rockrose handmade?

I was inspired to create Rockrose Handmade by the idea that we have the power to create positive change in the world, simply by choosing mindfully where and when we spend our dollar. Each of us can contribute to a fairer and healthier world simply by choosing to buy well-made, handmade, sweat-shop free products as well as products that have been made with organic, sustainable, fair-trade, vintage or up-cycled materials.

I am aware that often ethical and environmentally sound choices are expensive and hard to find so my intention was to provide people with comparable choices to mass-produced products. I have gathered together 40 + (and growing) small, ethical Indie labels, with goodies in every style and at every price point.

What is the story behind the name?

Rockroses are beautiful and hardy flowers that bloom every year, even against the worst sorts of adversity. The world can be tough and the Rockrose is a symbol of hope for me.

What can people expect to find when perusing your lovely online store?

A host of gorgeous, handmade Indie delights for women, children, men and the home. I have collected together labels that are tricky to find, unique and beautiful.

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What are some of the products / brands rockrose handmade sells?

Ethically made leather and vintage fabrics bags and purses by Empire of Bees (sooo lovely!!); recycled sterling silver and recycled Bronze Polly’s House charms by HMF Jewellery; sustainably grown Oregon bangles by Melbourne boy Joe from TreeHorn design; incredibly soft fair-trade and hand-block printed cotton Jaipur quilts; up-cycled Sari Scarves by Tocamade; wooden Pixie cameras with real moving parts for the junior photographer; Herbert & Friends Critters; Rockrose Ragdolls for the little lady in your life; organic cotton and hemp aprons and tea towels by Sarah Lee Parker; vintage fabric bow-brooches by Greylace; and incredibly lovely wooden lamps and Petite Jeune from by Sage Design! Plus lots more!

What are your favourite products?

I have too many; it’s like Christmas every time the postie comes to the door! My favourite products at the moment are the Pixie cameras by Twig Creative. In our digital world it is nice to give children a wooden toy that harkens back to the good old days of analogue.

Will there ever be a physical retail rock rose handmade shop?

I’m intrigued by the idea of a Pop-Up Shop for the summer months, but with two little ones under 3, this is a “next-year” plan, rather than a “now plan”. I was at the Three Little Birds Market earlier this month and will be at the Mathilda’s Market in Geelong in March next year—so people will be able to come and see and touch Rockrose’s lovely handmade goodies!

What does the future hold for rockrose handmade?

My sister lives in London and we’d love to open a London-based Rockrose Handmade together in the future; perhaps a local Pop-Up shop next summer? I am gathering more and more eco-friendly and ethical makers from across the globe; finding more charities and causes to support; and, I hope, planting a whole forest of trees!

In general, what are your biggest inspirations? Favourite artists, people, music, books?

My biggest inspiration is an idea; the idea that each of us is an integral part of a much larger body and that we each have our part to play, whatever this may be, in creating the future. This idea makes me think deeply about the part I play and inspires me to live mindfully. I am also inspired by my children, who both frustrate me and make me laugh and teach me more about myself (and being a human being) every day.

How long have you lived in the Geelong region?

We’ve been living in the Geelong region since late 2005. We moved to Ocean Grove after a stint in the UK and then bought our first home in Birregurra, had two babies and a renovation, sold our first home and moved down to Torquay! It’s been a busy few years!

Geelong regions best kept secret?

Birregurra and Inverleigh! These two little towns have so much art, culture and delicious food. The Red Door in Inverleigh is amazing for a coffee & slice of delicious homemade cake. Joe at the Birregurra General Store makes a mean Lebanese Pizza and Annie & Miles at Farm Foods Provedore in Birregurra are just lovely and cook a beautiful lunch in their café (The Meating Place)!

SPECIAL OFFER FOR OH! HELLO GEELONG READERS

The very generous Zoe is giving Oh! Hello Geelong readers 10% off with their first order at the Rockrose Handmade store. Important – The Coupon Code is OHHELLO

Popsicle Shop LOVE

Where – 327 Shannon Avenue, Newtown 3220

When – Monday to Saturday 9-5pm

Dates – Friday 16th November until Christmas Eve 2012

Web – facebook

We love it when something fresh and new pops into our inbox. The moment we laid our eyes on the neon pink branding of Popsicle Shop we  were hooked. The bright and colourful aesthetic of this super fun, super happy and super bright pop up shop  is just what the doctor ordered. Popsicle Shop opens to the public on Friday 16th November and it is sure to be a summer time hit, filled with gorgeous home wares, accessories, ladies and baby clothing and party ware , this store is a colourful party for your eyes! The creators of this gem are local screen printer / fashion designer Lucy Young and her Melbournian friend Bec Bennett. These ladies come with a wealth of creative talent and experience in the design, fashion, product development & marketing industries and we think they have created something really special here with their newest project Popsicle Shop.

You better get in quick though because Popsicle shop is only open until Christmas eve, that’s only 6 weeks of this shopping goodness!  We were lucky enough to get a sneak peek into the shop before the launch party! And some of Oh! Hello Geelong’s  favourite products in store were all of the beautiful Louli Screen printed goods (pillow cases, t-shirts, tote bags, baby clothing), the amazing basket pendant lights made by Lucy and her husband, Bec’s seriously cool Sticks Sunglasses range the super cute party ware bits and pieces.

Thanks to Lucy for letting us steal a little of her time to find out some more about this gem of a pop up shop! We hope you all enjoy this shop as much as we did!

Can you tell us a bit about your backgrounds (what you studied, what you both do for a living) and what led you to creating ‘Popsicle Shop’ ?

It all began with a clever Mum, who was always sewing and creating, and very inspiring to me, then i found a passion for screen printing, which began at school, then studying at RMIT after that. This then led me to begin my own label Louli, which started out as hand printed Tees and grew into all kinds of women’s clothes, mainly dresses and easy beachy things like I like to wear myself! I also print bed linen for a beautiful shop in South Melbourne called Nest. and other than that, just preparing for the arrival of our new and first bub at the start of next year… most likely the biggest challenge yet, but one I am very much looking forward to!
Bec has Marketing and design background,  specialising in eyewear design & development. She spent 5 years as Category Manager at Oakley South Pacific when based at Torquay and Geelong. Went on to establish Eyetribe  in 2007 and launched aquatic eyewear and fashion sunglasses for kids.  Eyetribe has recently entered the adult’s eyewear market with a range of handmade bamboo and acetate frames for eco conscious females.  These are showcased at Popsicle shop!

What is the vision / concept and inspiration behind Popsicle Shop?

We both had a passion to try our hands in retail and all the stars seem to align and the time was right and we decided to just jump in and do it. It has been a great experience that we have loved doing together, and knowing we were only opening for a short period made it seem possible and not overwhelming! We also wanted to celebrate summer and add some colour and sparkle to Newtown this Xmas.
We are inspired by simple design and things that make us smile!

Can you tell us what visitors to Popsicle Shop should expect to find.

Things they haven’t seen before hopefully, lots of colour, a heathy dose of neon pink! A real mix of clothing and home wares, accessories, hand printed babies clothing, sunglasses, bags, baskets (so many baskets!) and beautiful pressed tin christmas decorations. Lots of treasures for the home and everyone inside it !

What are some of the products / brands Popsicle Shop sells?

We are bringing something a bit different to what is available here, there and everywhere. Bits and pieces sourced from Bali, mixed in with things we love from Australia, and also some of each of our own brands, Louli and Eyetribe kids sunnies and Bec’s amazing new Sticks sunglasses for the ladies, soon to be on every females christmas wish list!

What are your favourite product/s at Popsicle Shop?

Plenty of fun and new party accessories which make me want a host a gorgeous & colourful picnic over the summer break.

Will Popsicles pop up somewhere else soon? What does the future hold for Popsicles?

Oooh who knows what the future holds for Popsicle Shop! I am getting my dream in of running a shop before I have my first baby in a couple of months, and then hopefully once I have mastered that new challenge (could be a while!) we will be back and ready to pop up somewhere else. With a coffee machine in tow…

In general, what are your biggest inspirations? 

We both have similar taste and love anything by the super talented Melbourne artist Miranda Skoczek. Anything Japanese, love their kitch quirky-ness, and the way they put things together. Loving Pinterest for inspiration these days too.

How long have you both lived in Geelong?

I am a Geelong girl for life, apart from a few years renting in melbourne, common story! Bec is a Melbourne girl who I convinced to try her luck down here with me in a pop up adventure. Secretly, like all good friends I’d like to recruit her and the family down to our town… she is a beach girl after all!

Geelong’s best kept secret?

Probably the Mill Markets, but it’s not such a secret any more… that and the chicken baguette at the French bakery in Pakington St!

 

Thanks to Lucy and Bec for the awesome sneak peak into you fabulous new shop!
Love Laura + Penny