How we started - why a creative village? Because we needed it.

How we started - why a creative village? Because we needed it.

When I first came up with the idea of starting Creative Village Newcastle, it was more of a dream to see shops in major shopping centres that actually stocked Australian made, or even better locally made.  Dreaming out loud to centre management at Westfield Kotara while organising another creative activation, the idea was set in motion.  That little seed of an idea, grew rapidly and In two short weeks Creative Village Newcastle was born.  

I love handmade, and I love that connection to the person that formed an idea and made it happen.  Having been an artist, creative worker, and starting a micro business meant I knew a lot of people just like me.  

In that two weeks, I brought together 17 makers, sourced point-of-sale info, wrote procedure documents, and voila the first shop.  It was a steep learning curve and I quickly learned I needed a robust accounting system - hello Booksmart bookkeepers, and hello all the behind-the-scenes paperwork and legal agreements.  

Group photo of Artisans from Creative Village Newcastle
Then of course there is becoming an expert in social media and creating content.  ugh. Having grown up in a family business I had a fair bit of insight as to what it takes to keep a small business going.  But housing lots of micro businesses under the umbrella of a small business isn't the easiest thing in the world to do and I learnt along the way - with a lot of understanding artists and makers.  We were very grateful for that break at Westfield Kotara and having the support of a major retail group was just what we needed to get started.

Why the name Creative Village Newcastle?  At UNSW while studying Fine Art I took a subject called creative village where architects, landscape architects and fine art students came together to work on real projects.  The idea is to bring creative people together to work in an urban environment for creative solutions to difficult sites.  The concept stayed with me as did the name, so when it came to starting a shop of artisans and makers, it just seemed like the right name.
Now five and a half years later, boy have we learnt a lot, moved a lot and changed a lot.  Keeping an eye on retail trends, what happens around the world and standing alongside the big guns of retail with all the expertise they have at the tip of their fingers is daunting.  There seems to be a subtle shift though, and our method of being seems to be occurring everywhere now and shopping centres are even looking for more shops like ours as they realised sticking with the same retailers in every centre is boring and uninspiring.  Which is wonderfully serendipitous because we need more slow fashion, more handmade and more connection to each other through creativity.
If I had my way I would have a Creative Village Shop in every shopping centre across Australia.
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