We had the good fortune to visit Flourish Handmade Market in New Town last weekend. The plan was to take photos and make a slideshow for the website to showcase the designers and makers. Learning a little more about the world of Tassie markets was also on the agenda. As it turns out, we had such a fantastic time meeting everyone and discovering their talents, the organisers had to show us the door at closing time!

Flourish Handmade - Market, New Town
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Think Tasmania enjoyed their experience at Flourish Handmade Market so much,
the organisers had to chase us from the scout hall in New Town at closing time!

Flourish Handmade Market: Attention Seeking

We can say, we do have a much greater understanding of the genuine community spirit at Flourish Handmade Market now. That same camaraderie probably extends across all towns and regions of Tasmania too. All the micro-business owners were quick to praise the collective creativity in the room, and could be seen buzzing between stalls with purchases in hand.


 

One could easily lose track of the who, what and when of markets in Tasmania; a brigade of motivated people clearly dabble in the organisation at various locations! But we did meet the managers of Flourish Handmade Market in person. Ruth Slade of R.E.S Designs was kind enough to play chaperone, guiding us behind-the-scenes, introducing all the stall-holders individually. Her colleague Cathy Heaven of CarrieBags Tasmania was also on hand, to hold the fort and tempt us to visit Snug, another marketplace she manages.

Flourish Handmade - Market Coordinators
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Flourish Handmade Market Coordinators in New Town on Sunday
Ruth Slade of R.E.S Designs (left) and Cathy Heaven of CarrieBags Tasmania

The People Behind The Products

The stall-holders were generally reluctant to be photographed themselves. That was until we met Dr Spork! He’s not only very handsome, he’s also quite the character. Besides attending various local markets, Dr Spork sells his work at Vines and Designs (at the Copping Museum), and Peppercorn Gallery in Richmond. Love the business name, and the recycled jewellery items, and we hope to bump into Dr Spork again someday soon.

Flourish Handmade - Dr Spork
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This handsome Tasmanian devil is the charismatic Dr Spork, with his recycled jewellery

Despite being camera-shy, the stall-holders were happy to see their work in a slideshow for Think Tasmania. And we were happy to finally meet the face behind some familiar names. When Brooke Archer from Bee’s Tees needed a tag line  for her business, she asked her Facebook fans for ideas. I love word games, so I contributed quite enthusiastically to the conversation! Brooke chose “bee a little unique” from the suggestions she received, and it portrays her unique children’s clothing line perfectly.

Flourish Handmade - Bee's Tees & Seaside Expressions Jewellery
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Left: Bee’s Tees by Brooke Archer… bee a little unique!
Right: Seaside Expressions Jewellery made by Donna Griggs

Familiar Faces in Many Places

We also had a lovely chat with Donna from Seaside Expressions Jewellery. If you follow Think Tasmania at all, you’d know Gavin (our IT guru) is about to launch a new section on the website with a commision-free online shop. Donna’s jewellery will be available to the world there soon. One of the website giveaways we’re running right now features a beautiful bird necklace from the Seaside Expressions Jewellery range.

For more information about selling your Tasmanian products online
contact Gavin at Think Tasmania. To participate in a website giveaway
promotion or request any further details, please contact Tania.

We met so many wonderful people… too many to mention everyone here. The article would just be a long, boring list. We’d rather reveal the unique personalities and behind-the-scenes story of a product, destined to evolve from hobby to business. As always with Think Tasmania, one story leads to another, and another… there’s plans to write feature articles about individuals we met on the day for the website.

Flourish Handmade - Manx Maid Soap
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Soap made with goats milk by Collinsvale business Manx Maid
Think Tasmania has a date to visit the owners and learn more

Think Tasmania Market Promotion

There was also extra information supplied about several other stall-holders in the first promotional article we published for Flourish Handmade Market. And while we’re on that subject, we’ve had one reader express their disappointment that we aren’t doing enough to advertise markets before they happen…

“Another great thing I missed because it was kept secret.
It’s about time Think Tasmania started advertising all
these events about a month or so before they happen,
rather than just great coverage after the event.”

We do appreciate feedback because it inspires us to improve our service and delivery. We thought we did promote the market quite extensively via social media, as did all the stall-holders and organisers of Flourish Handmade Market. Our newsletter (which is distributed to about 2,000 email subscribers) contained information about the market. In addition to all that, the first promotional article was shared 165+ times by readers, straight from the website. That’s a good start, but clearly we need to do more! Caitlin from Luscious Lil’ Cupcakes told us access to market information was also in short supply for stall-holders, and not just customers.

Flourish Handmade - Cupcakes
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True to name, Luscious Lil’ Cupcakes from Flourish Handmade Market

Therefore, we now have a brand new item on our ever-expanding “must-do” list. We already have an engaged audience, looking for all things Tasmanian, so whatever direction we take must benefit our readers. And we are running a business ourselves; you would be sorely mistaken if you think any level of government channels money our way. We earn our own keep, just like everyone else.

But the market scene does fit neatly within our established niche, and we’re very determined in this situation. Are we crazy to lay our cards on the table before we have the plan completely stitched up? Maybe. As several Flourish Handmade stall-holders revealed to us, there’s always a copy-cat lurking around the corner. One stall-holder, besides being dynamite in the creative department, also happened to be a lawyer, qualified and experienced with copyright issues. That’s handy!


 

What’s that banal saying about imitation and flattery? Ideas may look and sound easy enough, but anyone who’s built a business from scratch would appreciate the hard work, long hours and substantial skills required during the establishment phase.

Look at Think Tasmania, for instance. It has taken several years, but we’ve now generated stellar website traffic stats and have a lovely, dedicated network following us via social media. We’ll just dedicate some of our spare time, energy and knowledge, as well as a few additional financial resources to this market-promotion mission. Then we’ll establish a fair and reasonable way to cover all the costs, and we’ll be good to go. This advertising campaign won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

Now there’s a catchy tag line… why didn’t I think of that one?

Flourish Handmade - Smith's Gemcraft
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Michael, Christine and Olive from Smith’s Gemcraft in Margate
have promised to reveal the secrets of lapidary to Think Tasmania

After all that, we should get back to the original promise: our slideshow for Flourish Handmade Market. It’s almost done; the product photos look terrific and the sweet music of Terese Millhouse sets it all off beautifully. So, dare I say it? Yes! Stay tuned, so you don’t miss anything.

To see the entire range of stalls visit Flourish Handmade Market on Facebook.
Additional Sunday markets are scheduled for 1 September and 1 December,
so add the dates to your diary now. If you’d like to have your own stall,
the organisers of Flourish Handmade Market would love to hear from you.

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Map: Flourish Handmade Market, New Town…