What seems a lifetime ago now, back in 2008, Julie Nichols launched the very first Handmade Market. Canberra had some great markets, but none that really catered just to handmade designers. Having very little money but a great business plan and vision, Julie launched the first market with a focus on local designers and just 35 stalls. Thousands of shoppers came, making the Handmade Market an instant hit.
The market outgrew Albert Hall, The Yarralumla Woolshed and the Kamberra Wine Company, before finding a home at the National Convention Centre, where crowds regularly numbered 15,000. For a while, the Handmade Shop in Canberra’s CBD provided Handmade with a permanent shopfront, but it closed with the regeneration of the area, and Julie’s focus has returned to the markets, whose home is now Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC).
Handmade Canberra celebrated it’s 10th birthday in 2018 and continues to grow and flourish, and now offers 290 stalls in two halls at the Exhibition Park In Canberra EPIC, along with the central conference centre. Stalls offer Australian Made homewares, gifts, fashion, accessories and food, with a gourmet food hall full of street food vans, creating a feast for the senses and an unbeatable atmosphere of creativity and excitement.
The market regularly attracts over 20,000 visitors from Canberra and further afield and has an extensive and growing following on social media.
With a passion for supporting Australian Hand Made independent, small and creative businesses and connecting them to their target customers, the market has a nurturing relationship with its designers and producers who bring a high standard in quality, workmanship and sensational customer service, and an interactive relationship with its customers. Handmade Canberra is known nationally as a well-organised, supportive and friendly event, representing the best in Australian handmade design and produce.
The Handmade team is a dynamic mix with expertise in sales, marketing, design, administration, technology, social media and event management – a fantastic combination!
Julie Nichols is the founder, owner and creative director of Handmade. With a background in the RAAF and in hospitality, Julie ran a small millinery business before seeing a gap in Canberra markets for well-run, high quality, Australian made markets. Julie’s innate understanding of how to curate product types to create a buzzing event and how to send the right message on social media, are combined with her irreverent sense of humour and telling it like it is. Something both designers and customers find refreshing and positive.
Rosalind Grace is an event manager with a background in customer service and floristry. She looks after our events and installations, along with administration, marketing, strategic planning and business development. Having been a stallholder with Handmade Canberra, she understands the business from both perspectives and has a huge love of all things Handmade.
Ella Nichols is our social media moderator and market day all rounder. With a degree in Events and tourism, market organising is surely in her future, some might say it’s in her blood. Ella currently works in social media creation.
Ros Clark is an experienced executive assistant and joins the team to handle the day to day customer and stall holder administration.
Michelle Boehm is a current stallholder with Handmade selling jewellery under the brand Bok Bok B’Gerk. With a degree in Computing, her pre-stallholder life included roles as a Business Analyst and Project Manager and her specialty is re-engineering business processes. Michelle currently works in the area of Stallholder engagement, and streamlining our team processes.
Justine Barsley is an experienced business and event manager having run her own market business for over 13 years. Justine holds a degree in Business and has a passion for helping creative small businesses. She has a long list of skills and experience to draw upon and is currently working on strategy, SEO, website functionality, digital marketing and streamlining processes to name a few.
Australian Made Campaign Retail Supporter
We have joined the Australian Made Campaign (AMC) as a Retail Supporter, forming a partnership to support and promote handcrafted Australian-made products. We are certified on the basis that our market continues selling all Australian made goods and have one of the largest Australian Made Product Lists in the country through our Directory.
We are thrilled to be in partnership with a well trusted and widely recognised brand such as Australian Made. We support authentic Australian makers on a national level and being an Australian-made market is what sets us apart from other events.
Australian Made aligns perfectly with Handmade Canberra’s business ethos. We couldn’t be happier to become a Retail Supporter and communicate our Australian-made credentials to our customers. The Australian Made logo is Australia’s most trusted, recognised and widely used country of origin symbol, and is underpinned by a third-party accreditation system which ensures products that carry the logo are certified as ‘Authentically Australian’.
Executive with Cause
In this episode of Executive with a Cause, host Tammy Ven Dange chats with Julie Nichols, Founder of Handmade Canberra.
Behind the bio with Julie Nichols: Managing director, Handmade Canberra
Ashley Feraude in conversation with Julie Nichols who is the Founder of Handmade Australia. Julie is passionate about connecting Australian designers & producers with their customers and community in a way that celebrates the art of ‘handmade’.
Handmade Canberra’s Awards
Handmade Canberra is a small business with big ideas and a great philosophy: know your target audience, support local designers and producers by bringing crowds of enthusiastic shoppers and provide amazing customer service. As a result, we have won several awards over the last few years.
Winner of the Canberra Region Tourism’s Resilience and Innovation award. Read more on our blog.
Named one of the top 50 Small Business Leaders for 2020 by Inside Small Business
ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards – Handmade was recognised by the ACT chief minister’s export awards as an export facilitator for the creative sector.
Canberra Business Point – Creative Design – Finalist Telstra ACT Micro Business Award – Finalist
Canberra Business Point – Creative Design – Winner
Tourism – Specialised Retail – Commendation
Telstra ACT Start Up Award – Winner
Telstra STATE Start up Award – Finalist
Canberra Business Point – High Growth – Winner
Tourism – Specialised Retail – Commendation
Telstra ACT Start up Award – Finalist