As millennials mature, their peculiar consumer habits have taken established companies and small businesses by surprise. As a result, there's been a lot of head scratching in the retail world about why this cohort isn't replicating the buying patterns of previous generations. While many commentators have argued that the reason for this change is simple that young people are tending to delay the trappings of adulthood, I think a more compelling perspective has now emerged identifying a comprehensive "ownership shift".
As a visual style employed by creative marketers, Minimalism has reached full blown trend status. It sells us on the promise of a uncluttered life free from overwhelm - an antidote to the frenetic, complex reality we inhabit. When it comes to brand messaging there's great power in communicating simplicity, ease, and calm. But can those of us involved in the production or sale of things ever credibly subscribe to a minimalist ethos or promote a minimalist style?
I read this article in the Virgin Australia flight magazine back in November 2015 and was blown away by the vision of the future it laid out. Two years later, as the trajectory of the world seems more confusing and dispiriting than ever, I've found myself thinking back to it. It's hopeful, creative, and describes a world - not without its challenges - but that I would be excited to live in. Of course it's a fantasy piece. But daring to imagine wildly, to boldly re-think our relationship to technology, community, and the natural world seems like a productive antidote to what so many of us recognise as regressive politics.
As designers, makers, creators, how do we explain cost to our customers?
We're lucky to be living in a moment when people have started becoming more interested, once again, in the provenance of consumer goods. In a fast-fashion, snack food, flat-pack world, many people have come around to an aesthetic and personal philosophy that privileges living with fewer, better things. And as those of us who embrace such an ethos know, when an item has been carefully and beautifully crafted it feels different than flimsy, factory made things.
A few snaps taken by my team in store at Showroom this month to inspire your own social media compositions.
The Spring Blog is a platform (albeit a closely curated one) where I've shared an honest account of my experience as a newcomer to Australia and charted the story of my entrepreneurial path. So it only seems right that I let you know what's been going on behind the scenes of some pretty big, and very sudden life changes.
In partnership with Apple's global 'Start Something New' campaign, Claire and I will be speaking at Brisbane's downtown Apple Store this Thursday all about turning creativity into a career. If you’ve decided to turn your craft into paid work but you need help getting started, we hope you'll come by and listen to us talk about how we both faced this same challenge.
Although I'm on holiday with my family and spending most of my time away from my laptop, I couldn't resist dropping in to share a few snaps from walks around the neighbourhoods uptown in my hometown, Toronto. The sun hasn't shown itself since I landed here on boxing day, but we did have the first snowfall of the season. We're deep in the bleak midwinter, and I've never loved it more.
This week Showroom is making some room for new cool kids on the block Pampa. The Argentinian Australian photographer duo run the homegrown business from the rolling hills of the Byron Bay hinterland (Bangalow). Together they trace a map between Australia and Argentina, covering the miles and bridging the distance between two countries that are more alike than different. On their travels they seek-out the finest rugs and cushions that have been handwoven using traditional materials, designs and techniques by some of Argentina’s most talented artisans, bringing them back across the world from their homes to yours.
Pampa believes in a world of ethically made and fairly traded products, which is why they deal directly with the artisans. Paying a fair price for their rugs helps guarantee that their weavers receive the working wages they deserve. The profits they earn from every rug are used by the artisans and their families to cover day-to-day living costs such as buying food and clothing, paying school expenses, accessing medical care, and sourcing new tools and materials for weaving.
By respecting each individual artisan’s creativity and technique, Pampa helps to give these communities a stronger sense of cultural independence and pride. Showing the artisans the real value of their work demonstrates to the younger generations that weaving is an honourable and profitable vocation, helping to preserve this traditional form of art for years to come.
It's beginning to look a lot like Austral Christmas around The Spring Cottage thanks to the practicing I've been doing for a new Showroom workshop - Festive Eucalyptus Garland Making.
If you're in Brisbane you can join us for the session on Saturday December 19th 2pm - 4pm at 104 Edward St in the CBD. Tickets include all materials plus afternoon tea, and you can reserve your spot here.
If you're not, here's the process laid out down below.
-cord or twine
–fine gauge floral wire
1. Start by cutting up the gum branches into individual sprigs by trimming away any wayward bits.
2. Attach each sprig to the twine by wrapping wire along the main bit of the stem.
3. Continue along the length of the twine with all the branches slightly overlapping so the garland looks like one continuous branch.
4. Hang up your garland or lay it along a table as a festive centrepiece.