Handmade for Business
Warburton Valley Handmade has celebrated its first year of operation and more than $30,000 in sales. Located in the Waterwheel complex, Handmade is one of several unique sustainable businesses that seeks to support local artists, craft makers and the local economy. A joint initiative with the Community Bank, the Waterwheel precinct is a central point of connection between members of the community and the tourists who visit.
Kirsty Chalmers, Handmade organiser, is proud of how the Handmade model is supporting the development of craft industries in town with more than 50 makers (from postcode 3799, 3797, 3139) selling their wares. The shop, which is open seven days, provides an opportunity for main street sales and has encouraged people to explore their talents,’ she says. For a minimal outlay – rent starts at $5 per week – makers self-manage their own ‘space within the space’ and receive 100% of the proceeds from every sale that is made. Staffing for the centre is generously provided by a wonderful group of volunteers so overheads are minimal.
‘The range of products is as diverse as our community and the shop has become a first point of call for anyone locally who is looking for a uniquely charming or special gift,’ says Kirsty, herself an artist with products on display. ‘And keeping our spending local means we are supporting the local economy in sustainable ways, while also enjoying the delights of our neighbours and friends.’
Beyond beautiful things to buy, Handmade is also providing local makers with the opportunity to grow their business by promoting extended services, encouraging online and custom orders or simply by having a public place to showcase their wares. And there is more to come with a website in development and an open invitation for new makers to join.