Don’t let the name deceive you – The Village Markets on the Gold Coast are so much more than ‘just’ a market event.
The Village Markets is a creative community that has seen the beginning of some great businesses. Peony Swimwear, Kivari, Bones Society and Children of The Tribe have all started out selling their wares here on Sunday mornings. But it’s not all about business. The markets have also played a big part in the culture shift that has thrust the Gold Coast into the international spotlight, showcasing a curated lineup of fashion, vintage, art, and lifestyle products alongside heaps of street food and live music.
Designed by Gold Coast-based mother-daughter duo Tracey and Pia Twoford, this women’s clothing brand uses quality, natural plant-based linen fabrics that portray their love of simplicity, comfort and timeless elegance. “I lived in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi for fourteen years and home schooled Pia and her siblings,” Tracey says. “I was forced to be resourceful and creative, and the clothes I made with my sewing machine lasted and were handed down. That idea of creating lasting designs using beautiful natural fabrics that get better with age is the backbone of Akazi’s philosophy.” Despite only launching in December 2016, the duo is growing quite the worldly following – even sending clothes to Mozambique. “We were particularly excited about that, since I had gazed across Lake Malawi to Mozambique and wondered what the country, so idealized in Dylan’s lovely song, was really like.” Pia and Tracey’s shared appreciation of beauty and mother-daughter intuition make them perfect partners. “We laugh together when after wandering around the Village Market separately, we come back to our stall and rave about the very same item,” Tracey says.
Wild Heart Jewellery
Wild Heart Jewellery is the brainchild of mother daughter team Julie and Samara Baunach. The pair started their Bohemian jewellery brand as a hobby and launched at The Village Markets back in 2012. Five years later they’ve scored local, national and international stockists, and the girls haven’t looked back. The handcrafted pieces are inspired by a fusion of edgy rockers and ethical bohemia, drawing spiritual energy from natural stones and crystals and rich cultural influences. The sustainable business allows the mother-daughter duo to support themselves while also expressing their creative passions and connect with people from all over the world. “We’ve made so many connections from the creative network at the Village Markets,” they say. “We are continually growing and reaching areas of the globe we didn’t think were possible.”
She’s always had a love for fashion, so creating Love St. seemed like a natural evolution for Tara Fletcher. “I used to design all my dancing and skating costumes as a kid,” she says, “then later on I just started upcycling clothes and making one off pieces in vintage fabrics for myself.” Tara decided to set up a stall at The Village Markets with nothing but an umbrella and a rack of her creations – a decision which, years later, has definitely paid off. She’s now made a career out of it and has a growing local following, with regular pop ups at The Village Markets, an online store, a showroom at Miami Marketta and even stock in boutiques on the coastlines of Australia, Hawaii and California. “I love being able to build the business all by myself and watching it grow,” she says. “I’ve formed friendships with so many like-minded creatives through The Village Markets, and it has been and continues to be a great platform to showcase Love St.”
Sweet Child of Mine
Kendra Miller Sherley originally created her kids clothing business, Sweet Child of Mine, as a way to work while spending more time with her kids. But now, with international clients and suppliers, she has found that with your own business, time is never really your own. “I started at The Village Markets at a rack stall with friends after a wardrobe clearout,” Kendra says. “I knew instantly it would be the right demographic to launch my little venture, and I was right.” Building her business has been slow and strategic, but she now sells her brand to stockists in Australia and the US, as well as online. Her proudest achievement? “Walking down the street in random places and seeing kids in my product is always huge,” Kendra says. “We have outfitted some celeb kids, including the Jolie-Pitt clan who reportedly loved it all.” But even with all the international success, Sweet Child of Mine still proudly hold a stall at The Village Markets. “Being face to face and getting direct feedback is just so important and the customers TVM attracts are savvy, fashion conscious and in general just cool!” Kendra says. “It really is such a community, and we totally feel the love.”
Brave and Fearless
Brave and Fearless is the realisation of Rach Harvey’s high school dream to start a boys clothing line, driven by her desire for her little man to look stylish. “I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I created it myself,” she says. As a fan of The Village Markets, Rach finally worked up the courage to sell her stock there – and scored a great response, both in person and on social media. Now, she has over 60 stockists in five countries… and counting. “I could never have imagined seeing babes in places like Hawaii, Japan, Singapore, South Africa and Ireland wearing my label.” Rach says her biggest business achievement so far is winning silver at the 2016 St George banking Group Ausmumprenuer Awards for Emerging Entrepreneur of the year. “Being recognised for all the hard work as a mama and creative really made all the late nights and endless work worth it!” she says.
Kylie Gunn and Renae Harris are the pet-loving geniuses behind Bones Society, the designer dog range specifically designed for your ‘BFF’. “Our world revolves around our pets and we believe every dog is equal,” the pair say, “and that’s why we give back 10% of every online purchase to Animal Welfare League QLD”. Renae & Kylie are both designers by day, so branching out into designing and creating products for their furry friends Rocky and Zoey was naturally the next step. Their advice for those who are just starting out in a new business venture, or keen to give it a go, is to work out what you love to do. “You’ll be working on this day in and day out, so it needs to be something you are obsessed with, passionate about & believe in!” they say. “If you don’t believe in what you are doing, how is anyone else going to? Things can get cray, but there is always time to have a laugh and enjoy the journey along the way.”